Little practises that go a long way…
Mornings I dread the most. Often I used to wake up in a flurry with heart pumping to the blaring alarm then jumping into the shower and hastily putting my zombie self through work. Even after quitting, I still had not harnessed a fruitful routine and practise to set the tone for the rest of the day. My mornings were still late and foggy and I waited for the evening to be less inert. While I was physically active with daily workouts and yoga, there was no depth & consistency in my spiritual practise. A proper practise builds up our energy field. It keeps us strong not in a way by Herculean measure but by being sharp and calm even under duress. There will be no brain fog, no bumping around carelessly, less reaction and more response.
Nowadays I take full advantage of my Theta brainwave state upon waking. This is also when I get full clarity of an idea or situation without having to overthink into a stressful knot. Undistracted from other chores, my ass is plonked in front of my altar to begin a series of exercises to ‘wake up’ the body. Learning and exploring many different styles helps me to choose a playlist of movements and meditations depending on my menstrual cycle. Women are cyclical and we benefit most from paying close attention to our cycles for it corresponds directly to our energy levels and mood.
Drain, Tap, Pump!
On regular days, I begin with active movements that stirs the body but in a gentle and focused manner. A light stretch for the sides, arms and hips then I am seated to begin my lymphatic drainage exercises. This involves a series of pumping and scraping movements on the collarbone, neck, jawline, ears and face. Sometimes before drainage I begin with EFT(Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping to release any fears or anxiety about a specific situation. I also stimulate specific acupressure points on the face to increase efficacy of drainage. On high energy days, I will also do a series of kriyas that takes no more than 15 minutes from root chakra to crown. I find it to be the best overall technique to jumpstart the body.
All the rapid tapping and pumping will now buzz the body up gently. From here, I will move on to focus on breathing techniques. Typically I start with normal inhale and exhale up to 6–8 counts then I will proceed to 4–7–8 relaxing breaths. Inhale, retain, exhale in that count sequence. Sometimes instead, I do a circuit breathing up and down the spine using Samavritti technique of equal breath. This is normally sits comfortably at 7 counts for me up the back of the spine and 7 again down the frontal line of the spine. My Pranayama ends with Anulom Vilom which is an alternate nostril breathing technique. This promotes a calm and relaxing state before I drift into the next state; meditation. When I had live Pranayama guidance, I used to do Kapalabathi which is a cleansing breathwork. However, I never fully mastered the technique due to my own insecurities and self doubt. I still do not practise it unguided as it is a very incendiary technique that can fry up the nadis/energetic circuits if there is no mastery and control.
Meditate and Mudra!
For extra heavy and shitty days, I will use a capricious drum beat track for active meditation. Just under 10 minutes of Kundalini shaking is very effective to jolt the body into a more receptive and lighter state. No thinking but continuous dance and release movements that shakes stuff off. Everything gets a good shake from my head, my hair, my arms, my glutes, my hips and my thighs. Dross is transmuted and then you can really sit down in a restful manner for the rest of the day.
Other times my meditation is simply the act of sitting down. The mind is calm and clear by now. Sometimes I hold a mudra for around 3–5 minutes (not more cos I am lazy & impatient, haha!). At the start of the practise my hand is in Gyan mudra facing down and towards the end it is facing up. Most of the times my other mudras are not planned but I do enjoy the Padma mudra to brings peace and calm to the heart and Shiva Linga mudra for days I need both feminine and masculine forces to be balanced. The body is quite intelligent, it can access your inner resource and guide you to the gestures you so rightfully need at that given time. The first step is to educate/acquaint yourself then all is left is for you to surrender to your higher self and wisdom.
Commune and Pray!
The last part of the practise is time taken to commune and pray. To seek guidance and blessings out a situation. To set the intention for the day. I call upon the specific angels to help me with tasks they are equipped to do. I ask my ancestors to look over me and guide me. I ask all my mother Goddesses to bless me and to keep me on the path so that my spiritual resolve never wavers come what may. I give my thanks, then bow down in gratitude and supplication. Now the next part of the day can begin.
I will journal any dreams I had the night before or just to empty out what I am thinking and feeling. To further gain clarity I might pull a Tarot card or two and interpret that as well. If I had not written in my gratitude journal for the events of the previous day, now is a time I make my entry too. In my moon journal I also keep track of my sleep pattern, how I feel upon waking, and if there is any discomfort in the body. Also, the position of the moon in the signs will tell me what I can do in order to take full advantage of the day. For example, Moon in water signs will encourage me to swim and to pay attention to womb work. Moon in earth signs reminds me to commune with my crystals and get in touch with the soil plus get my affairs in running order.
Just before social media.
I will check my emails and read all the informative and uplifting newsletters that further sets my day right. I tightly curate what I see and absorb. This means that I do not read the mainstream news and reply to casual texts at the start of the day. If I am taking a course, this is the time I will be reading and absorbing it in as the mind is still fresh and unencumbered. If it is an instructional video, now is the time I will watch it or even re-watch it for further absorption.
Ain’t nobody got time for that!!!
Well, we all got the same 24 hours. What can I say. My yoga teachers maintain an exemplary routine. For them this is part of their life; quite inseparable. They wake up and waste no time hitting the mat. Some are up at 4am just to get their practise in before the start of a busy day. Putting a timer is extremely helpful when we are just starting out and feeling extremely resistant. In my circles, I advise the busy and overwhelmed women to just do basic breathing. 4 count breaths in and 4 count breaths out for five minutes while seated upright and hands in gyan mudra. That is all it takes. Keep that up and slowly build in more and more.
Follow instructional videos for EFT, simple pranayama (without retention) at first until you are confident to be doing it in your own without looking at a screen. Use menstruation days to completely rest and to not stress up about not maintaining the routine. Take sick days to convalesce as well. To be physically ill is the body’s signal for us to take a break and really examine what is truly affecting our psyche, spirit and immune system.
I have seen people wake up and gobble up their phone immediately. Some are checking their social media stats, others are right into porn looking to masturbate so that they feel good prior to a stressful numbing day ahead. Others blindly reach for a cigarette and sit in a haze of circling thoughts. Before the body can wake up we are mindlessly plying it with caffeine, nicotine, and trash news. We are doing too much consuming without enough conscious release.
Every waking moment is a choice. Exercise that right! :)