Some patterns we create are conscious and some unconscious. Recent studies are pointing more and more to the power of repetition in creating habits and in empowering healing. A ritual is an intentional structured rhythmic pattern, not too dissimilar from the pattern of daily morning coffee or a consistent Saturday morning jog.
Repetition creates a consistent rhythmic pattern in our lives and neurobiological pathways of conditioning in our body and brain. Often times these patterns or habits create a sense of safety and stability, especially during unknown or uncertain times.
Neuroscience has proven consistent repetition as one of the building blocks of learning and integration of information. Ancient wisdom, over many cultures and generations, has shared the power and potential of participating in rituals during seasonal celebrations and sacred cycles, as in following and honoring the moon phases. Which patterns and what rituals are you choosing to create in your body, cultivate in your mind and integrate into your life?
These repetitive patterns become superhighways of conditioning intimately connected to our overall wellbeing. Why not be discerning in the patterns we empower and power up our pathways with intention? The ancient practice of ritual invites in the opportunity to create intentional patterns in our lives reminding us of our true nature and our connection to something greater than ourselves. Recent studies have also pointed to rituals being a natural stress-buster and a powerful tool to manage anxiety. Through the repetitive and structured practice of ritual, we build pathways of intentional integration and explore sacred meanings in the mundane.
Enjoy this short and simple body-centered breathing template below cultivating an intentional and sacred relationship with your breath by beginning each morning with awareness, consciousness and intention.
Perhaps commit to this practice consistently and consciously for 11 consecutive mornings. Take note of how your body, brain and breath respond to cultivating a cohesive current of connection woven with your intention.
1) As you begin to awaken, before you open your eyes for the first time, begin your morning ritual by becoming aware of your breath. What’s it’s texture? Is the current of your breath slow, shallow, fast, smooth? Is your breath fluid, grounding, erratic, fiery? Notice the currents of sensation arising in your body and thoughts flowing through your brain as simple streams of consciousness rather than judging or resisting what is arising.
Take 30 seconds or more to allow for this experience to unfurl as you follow and attune to your breath. What do you notice as begin your day slowly awakening to these free flowing streams of conscious awareness flowing through you?
2) Begin to gently engage with your breath for 3-11 breath cycles creating slow, smooth currents rising and falling through your body. Become deeply aware of the sensations and emotions arising as you slowly come out of your dreamworld and engage with your breath. Do you notice an element or an elemental quality streaming through your awareness? Does this element have anything to share with you?
Exhaling through rounded lips, release your dreamworld as if blowing it our into your outer environment. Inhaling through your nose, receive the dawning of your new day. What information is streaming through your body current intelligence? To which frequency are you choosing to attune your body and brain to begin your day? How is your heart responding to this frequency?
3) Take several rhythmic breath cycles feeling this current of cohesive conscious connection flowing through every cell of your body and both hemispheres of your brain. Direct your balanced breath to any areas feeling constricted or tense.
4) Continue to release tension/constriction/contraction with each exhale. Expand your awareness with each inhale, feeling this current of connection grow as large as your room, as big as your house, your neighborhood, your state and expanding as large as the country you live in, the hemisphere and the planet we live on. Feel yourself expand out of the “me” to the “we” consciousness as you grow as large as the Milky Way and beyond to the expanded Universe. How does it feel to be this expansive? What do you notice when you expand into feeling all of the universe is inside of you?
Notice how the frequency in your body and the compass of your heart respond to this expanded awareness. How might you remember this feeling throughout your day?
5) Slowly bring yourself back to your physical body while continuing to feel the expansive awareness you created. Stretch and move your body organically as you slowly begin to get out of bed. Feel your feet on the floor and the rhythm of your breath, as you slowly unfurl your body, rooting into the earth as you rise to stand for the first time today.
6) Allow a deep sense of gratitude to ripple through this expansive field or current of awareness, as you notice the powerful relationship you have cultivated with your breath and the residue of transitioning from your sleep/dream world into your physical day with an embodied ritual of intention.
What are you choosing, in the here and now, as a seed of intention to plant into the first step of your day?
Imagine, feel, see or sense in some way, a stream of color(s) or perhaps a vibration aligned with your felt-sense of gratitude and your intention merging with and streaming through your brain and body on the current of your breath.
7) State your intention in simple and precise words, silently our out loud, seeing this intention coming to life, imagining it in your mind and feeling it reverberate in your body, as you step into your day. Perhaps find one adjective or a short phrase to capture this intention to repeat and remember throughout your day.
8) Over several consecutive days (perhaps beginning with 11) committing to this morning ritual, take note of how this pattern feels in your body and how your brain responds to beginning your day in this way.
What cues is your breath giving you as you build this intimate morning relationship? What is shifting in your awareness with each day, as you repeat this ritual and commit to this conscious pattern?
Enjoy and let me know how it goes! I would love to hear about your experience and how this practice resonates, or not, for you.
P.S. According to a recent article by Thrive Global,
“Rituals are a natural anxiety buster. Makes sense. We’ve long known about their powerful anxiolytic properties. It’s no coincidence, for instance, that most religious prayer-based behaviors are intensely ritualistic. In fact, early proto-rituals preceded all forms of religious belief. When I say they’re old, I mean they are seriously ancient. Now, you may be thinking that this is obvious. Of course rituals have help to relieve anxiety. And on the surface, it is indeed obvious. But if we go deeper, we begin to see why and how it is that rituals (religious or otherwise) help alleviate stress and anxiety. The new science of ritual is shedding light on these whys and hows.”, Nick Hobson, Behavioral scientist and expert on peak mental performance.
Shanti Medina, CYT CPT is the founder of Energize training systems and Body Current® templates of self-realization. She enjoys supporting elite athletes and everyday warriors to live a life of well-being, optimized performance and wild inspiration through simple practices of transformation and embodied direct revelation. Shanti teaches her Body Current® curriculum as a bridge between modern-day neuroscience and the ancient wisdom of yoga therapy and panic healing. She has enjoyed being part of a variety of 500HR Yoga Teacher Trainings and as part of the teaching faculty at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Sacred Arts Practitioner certification and the Neurosculpting Institute. She is passionate about empowering her clients and students to use their breath, brain and body to reveal, energize and experience their abiding true nature and innate healing wisdom.
You can find out more about Shanti, learn about upcoming retreats around the globe and schedule a private Body Current, yoga therapy, personal training or optimal wellness session in person or via Zoom at www.EnergizeShanti.com
I am here to stand by your side as your guide in releasing old conditioning, empowering your true potential and transforming your life by cultivating pathways of optimal wellness.
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