Sri Dharma Mittra says, “the yogi stands supreme in any condition”. I use this quote all the time and do my best to adhere to it … but sometimes that is really challenging. Life throws many curveballs our way. There are many times where I stand as strong as I can, just not quite ‘supremely’. The key is to learn from each moment where we may falter and prepare for the next opportunity to be resolute in the face of adversity.
I have come to appreciate the power of a deep and deliberate morning practice, or sadhana. A strong morning practice gives me a better chance of standing supreme despite what the day may bring. We all have things that create anxiety and pressure but we also have many things to be grateful for. I find it powerful to focus on the things that I appreciate when my conditions become intense. It is also helpful to sit with anxiety or grief in a way that recognizes and honours it.
People often ask me what my daily practice looks like. I try to start each day mindfully, while regularly adjusting my practice to keep things fresh and align with my current conditions. For example, I have modified my routine this month to emphasize gratitude even more directly as I work through some acute challenges. Retreating into gratitude helps honour things that are working well and will endure beyond my present suffering.
In my experience, a regular sadhana continues to be a true gamechanger. It helps you experience subtle daily differences in your mindset or physiology. It helps ground you before you head into your daily activity and to stand supreme in whatever conditions you encounter. What would enable you to try a daily sadhana for the next 30 days?
My 20 minute morning routine for the next 30 days:
- I like to start with some movement: 3 full rounds of Dharma Sun Salutations followed by headstand, shoulder stand, fish pose, a forward bend, a back bend and a spinal twist.
- Then I move to my meditation. I sit quietly and focus on the breath, maintaining balance in the inhales and exhales. I breathe slightly deeper than normal, comfortable and controlled. After a few minutes, I feel settled and at ease. I usually play a meditation mantra or piece of relaxing music.
- Once I find stillness, I begin my deep gratitude meditation. Using a mala, a string with 108 beads, I slowly pass the beads through my fingers one at a time. I bring awareness to something I am grateful for as each bead passes. This meditation helps me notice things to be grateful for during my day.
- If time permits, I expand my base 20 minute practice to include a yoga nidra deep relaxation. Yoga nidra is a 20-40 minute guided meditation while lying on your back in corpse pose. It is a profound practice and I highly recommend experiencing it.
- I then sit quietly, bringing awareness to the sense of gratitude for a few moments and bring the practice to a close.
(originally posted at ChiefYogaOfficer.com)