Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good morning!

So many of my posts are about morning rituals or general daily practices, I've found.  Whether it's about getting back to the basics with a simple seated meditation following the breath, finding joy by singing in the morning, or a variety of physical but not-necessarily-yogic practices, I've been struggling for the past year and a half with consistency in my home practice.  In my last entry two weeks ago (I took a week off for anniversary fun in PA!) I wrote about how there are so many Internet/iPhone resources that I've found helpful in my own home yoga practice outside of a studio.

Two of these resources together in particular, YogaGlo and my Insight Timer app, have been instrumental in helping me find a morning ritual that I've been pretty consistent with the past two weeks.  With the exception of a few lazy, yoga-less mornings on my anniversary weekend, there is a ritual from the amazing yoga teacher Amy Ippoliti called, "Set a Positive Tone for Your Entire Day" available for YogaGlo users.

It requires pen and paper, or maybe a journal if you're the journaling type, and a place to sit.  I won't go through the entire video, as I know YogaGlo is sometimes a little intense with copyrighting, and this is Amy's practice.  But I can say I've modified it a little bit to suit my needs, and have used the Interval Bell setting on my Insight Timer app so that I can be self guided through this practice without having to rely on a teacher telling me when to shift my focus or write things down.

It's essentially a very mindful way of having a "gratitude" journal or a "success" journal.  You take a few moments to connect with your breath, to reflect on what you're thankful for, and briefly come out of meditation to write down your top 3 or 5.  Going back into meditation, you then start to reflect on what went will for you the day before, and then coming out of it to write those down.

From there, the possibilities are endless.  You can throw in some pranayama (breath work) of any kind - I prefer kapalabhati - or a visual meditation where you can visualize the breath coming in through the third eye, through the heart, or through the crown of the head.  Or if that's a little too hippie-dippy for you or hard to connect with, just follow the breath as it travels in and out of the nose.  Amy is a big fan of heart breathing which is lovely, but as someone who tends to hold a lot of tension in my chest, I prefer to direct my focus elsewhere.

You can also end by imaging the qualities you want to bring in to today.  Or if you're practicing this in the evening, the qualities you want to bring to your day tomorrow or the kind of rest you'd like to have if you tend to have trouble sleeping.  If you're practicing in the evening, ending in legs up the wall or a few moments in child's pose can be really lovely.

This is a great practice if you struggle with meditation because your to-do list or other thoughts keep cropping up and distracting you - there's a pen and paper right there for you to get the thoughts out of your head so you can bring your attention back to what you'd like to bring it to.  I highly recommend checking the video out - YogaGlo allows you to watch a preview of it if you are not a member.

Happy Thursday morning, everyone, and I hope it's a beautiful day for you!

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