The Magick of Rituals
Habits happen. They keep happening long after their origin stories or current helpfulness have moved on. They continue, round and round, on and on.
Rituals take place. They are brought into being with intention whispered in the mother tongue, like a mantra or spell. They are active co-creation. Rituals are thought through, and no matter how small an experience is, if we attach an intention to our actions, we create space for mindfulness and growth. Rituals can be the first step out of the circle, and onto the road forward.
Sometimes when we come to our mats, our experiences here can become formulaic. We arrive, rush into class, throw down a mat, grab a few blocks, sit down, and play on our phones until the start of class, maybe lay down and do a few twists or a child’s pose before the teacher comes in. We start class with something like intros, a few breaths, light stretching, challenge ourselves, savasana, maybe OM. And we drive home to the rest of our habits.
Sometimes when we arrive on our mats, our experiences are transformational. We feel oneness. We realize when we step into the studio, how hugely a sanctuary this is.
We walk to the props, and examine our body honestly for the day, gather the tools we need, and unroll a mat to take a few personal stretches before class. We introduce ourselves to our community, enjoy that there are so many types of people gathering for a similar cause. Practicing building our breath becomes worship. Our breath becomes the 1-1 symbol for all of life, and how we treat it. In yoga we have an intention to regulate, and calm this breath -- bringing to balance the inhales and the exhales, the rises and the falls. Our intent in our breath bleeds into our lives, reflecting in the ability to bring oneself to regulation, to equanimity, to balance.
We move through small postures, checking in with our body, being honest with our experiences within the self, and we see what needs to be worked on today. We lovingly give space to those places that need it, and we dive deeper into where we need growth. As we move into challenging postures, we realize our strength in our willingness to both find our outer edges, and our compassion for just doing our best. We realize again the importance of learning to self regulate, to find self-sustainable calm in these challenges by using the breath. We move to savasana, to rest, and we understand that this pose is to show us the necessity of restoring after work. Everything in moderation, everything in duality. We use savasana to understand what integration feels like. We reawaken and emerge from practice, feeling happy, and confident.
When we bring meaning to our mats, we have the opportunity to do so much more than stretch. Coming to your mat, and treating each step as a ritual with a reason will transform you.