Rhythm, Routine, and Ritual

It’s Monday morning, we’ve had a week of brilliant sunshine and today is the first cool day, which is inspiring me to get some work done inside. My thoughts today are on rhythm, routine, and ritual as we switch gears into fall, I love the back to school bhav of this time of year. As I mentioned in my last post one of my rituals for establishing a rhythm that is in synch with the changing season is to deep clean my house and get rid of clutter. Another is to sit down and revise my schedule. I do this at least twice a year (Spring & Fall) and it really helps me clarify what I want to put my energy into. I make a cup of tea; sit down with coloured pencils and my vision for the season to come, and I plan out my weekly routine. I schedule in the things that are a priority, and I let go of whatever is no longer working. For instance as of October 1st I will no longer teach on Monday nights, giving me two days a week where I don’t go to the studio. Because my son is at school and my husband at work on Mondays I can now make this a dedicated office day and get a whole lot done. I will be more productive and relaxed for the entire week simply by letting that one class go, and I will get another night at home with my family which is important to me.
I’m a big fan of creating a visual schedule as it makes my priorities real, I can see them on paper. Also as someone who is self employed it gives structure to my day so that I can manage my time effectively. When you break your day into blocks of time (I use 2 hour blocks) you will see that there is more time than you realize and that you can fit in what is important to you. Of course if you have a full time job and a family you may have to break your time into smaller blocks to ensure you fit everything in. And what do I mean by fitting everything in? I mean that you should absolutely schedule in all the daily/weekly practices that nourish you and support your growth. For instance my schedule starts at 6:30 am and goes to 9:30 pm. The first and last hours of my day are dedicated to pranayama, meditation, beach walking, food prep for the day, and abhyanga (oil massage). These daily rituals are key to me starting and closing my day with intention. I then schedule in all the time I need to be working at the studio. And then from there I schedule in my practice sessions to ensure I get on my mat. Even though I absolutely love to practice and I have the self discipline to do it I can easily get caught up in the demands of my day-family, dogs, business-and then find I have no time to practice. Scheduling my practice in the same way I schedule in my teaching is key to me getting the time I need. And as a yoga teacher this is so important! If you are teaching yoga regularly but you are not getting on your own mat your teaching will suffer, no exception.
The remaining blocks of time on my schedule go to office hours {keeping these clear makes me more productive}, dog walking, errands, and family time. By organizing my time well I can be fully present for my family when I am with them. I get up early so that I can get my work and practice done early in the day allowing me to shut my computer down by 4:30. This way I can greet my son and husband when they come in from their days with a smile. Those of you that are self employed or work from home know how easy it is to allow work to creep into every hour of your day which can cause alot of resentment from your family members as you are only half listening to them when they speak or are constantly checking your emails and doing just one more task.
I have had to learn this lesson over time but I have finally got it and so today the best and most useful advice I can give to those of you that feel there is not enough time for the things that matter most is to create a schedule that values them. Stop using busyness as an excuse for not spending time with the people you love, getting on your yoga mat, or establishing healthier routines. For years my mantra was “there’s not enough time in a day”- and it was not serving me at all. I have learned that there is enough time in the day, I just need to manage it well. It’s all about rhythm. You must establish a rhythm that supports you. It’s all about routine. You have to make a habit out of doing the things that allow you to thrive. And it’s all about ritual. You need to make space for the practices that anchor you into your highest vision.
So now I’m done my morning office work and I am going to hit my mat. If this post helped in any way let me know. Share your tips for scheduling and optimizing your time- I’d love to hear them. You can connect with me and others in our community through my facebook page. As well if you’d like to receive more inspiration on scheduling and how to establish a home yoga practice sign up for my Embodying the Teacher Workshop on September 24th. And if you really want to up your game and create powerful intentions for the year to come join me for my fourth annual Illumination Series. I am really excited about this year’s offering and have revised the content to make it even more potent, including home yoga practice routines, twice weekly meditation classes, and more. Email me if you want more info or just want to chat.
Have a wonderful week.