The Importance of Ritual
Sometimes life can feel hectic, scattered, and lacking in spirit. It is my belief that establishing rituals can provide calm and order amidst the chaos, while infusing daily living with a sense of connection. Rituals can be ornate or simple; it doesn’t matter.
I wake up every morning and immediately brush my teeth and splash cold water on my face. As trivial as this may seem, it’s important to me and sets the tone for my day. Think about it… Is there anything better than scrubbing the sweaters off your molars first thing? I don’t think so! This brief ritual of saucha (cleanliness) jump starts the limbs of yoga practice almost immediately after my head rises from the pillow. I like that!
Tea is another ritual of mine. I’ll be honest — I am a sleepy, cranky bitch first thing in the morning. Caffeine makes me a better human; my partner Matt will attest. I march my grouchy butt down the stairs, boil water, and make a cup of black Brahmin. It’s a lifesaver and provides my motivation for yoga practice. As Sharath says “No coffee, no prana.” I say “No tea and I just might bite your head off like a praying mantis.” Clearly we have similar view points.
Rituals can be bigger as well! Every year I build a gigantic pumpkin display at the restaurant that I used to work for. This past weekend I went to Burlington, Vermont for a few days for this exact purpose — it’s my favorite! The act of pumpkin picking, throwing around hay bales, and weaving Bittersweet vine into the final display is magical and makes me feel connected to the changing of seasons.
And then there’s the ritual of Ashtanga yoga. It always begins with Samathiti. It always ends with Savasana. Every day I take to the mat and practice. Every day I chant the opening and closing mantras. I stand. I sit. I do inversions. I lie down. This ritual I consider to be the most important, as it opens my mind and heart to the wonders of spirituality. It provides calm and order amidst chaos and infuses my daily living with a connection to the divine.
That said, I'm not sure I could practice yoga if I felt as though my teeth had socks on, so maybe teeth brushing comes first... Whatever. You get the point.
What are your rituals?