The Power of Ritual and Intention

The Power of Daily Ritual and Intention - Creating a Sacred Life. 


What are your rituals? How do you consistently invoke a feeling of sacredness and meaning into your life and yoga practice? How can you connect to your intentions and goals in a meaningfuland powerful way?

We have many rituals that we perform daily, from brushing our teeth to drinking our morning tea or coffee. Anything can become a sacred act, even washing the dishes. When we approach daily tasks without intention, reverence, or devotion, they become mundane. That even includes our yoga practice! If we can practice rituals at the same time in the same place and with reverence, we can begin to taste the sweetness of a sacred and intentional life. 

When we marry intention with ritual, it allows us time to pause, reflect, let go, and recreate our destiny.  Rituals are a way to continually propel us toward our highest purpose.  Otherwise, we may never take the opportunity to deeply reflect or set intentions until perhaps the end of the year. But by then, we have continually reinforced so many unhelpful patterns and thoughts that we are bound to stay in the same cycle for yet another year because we have nothing consistent to anchor us to a higher purpose. With intentional ritual, we offer ourselves an opportunity to renew our intentions daily andto connect with something greater than ourselves.

Have you noticed seeing more sacred rituals and ceremonies being shared on your Facebook and Instagram feeds? It seems that we are collectively reclaiming the practice of ritual. This newfound love for ritual has been taking many forms, from participating in traditional puja and Vedic fire ceremonies, to mandalas made of flowers, to altars created from a collective of items gathered from students at the beginning of a retreat. Why is it that now we are being called back to the power of ritual?

The answer is we have lost the connection to our ancestors, to their rituals and rites of passage.  We are no longer connected to the seasons, moon phases, and harvesting in meaningful ways.  We are severed from the rhythms of nature and from our own elemental nature. We have all but forgotten that the elements are alive within us and they need to be nurtured. Maybe we are being called to remember our divine nature by seeing it reflected and honored outside of us to helps us recognize that the earth and all living beings are a part of a beautiful web of resplendence and beauty. 

The sacred practice of ritual informed by intention adds richness to our practice and to our lives. It can lead us into the cave of our heart and connect us to the deepest and most ancient part of ourselves. A place where we can know steadiness and peace. It is a practice for uncertain times. 

Here are a few ideas on how to bring ritual and intention into your daily life:

 

6 Tips to Activate the Power of Ritual and Intention

1. Create an intention in the form of a prayer, something that leads you closer to fulfilling yourheart’s desire or purpose. Ask yourself to define the highest intention that you can set for yourself.  Remember you are not arriving at your ritual with expectations, but with humility and an open heart. Your prayer might be something like: “Please lead me closer to my heart’s desire.  May everything I do be in alignment for my thriving.”

2. Create an altar or sacred space.Tune into the elements and choose one item to represent each one of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and empty space.  On your altar, place framed pictures of your teachers, relatives, or other loved ones who inspire you and whom you would like to honor.  You may even choose to make physical offerings of fresh flowers, water, or incense each day.

Place your altar somewhere where you will see it daily and be inspired to spend time with it.  Make the space comfortable.  It should feel like you have created a welcoming seatthat feels like coming home. 

Make a commitment to visit this altar once a day, offering your love, prayers, gratitude, and blessings. Take this time to connect with your intention and ask for clarity on at least one thing that you can do that day to move you closer to your intention. Notice how you feel each time you sit at your altar. 

3. At least once a month, connect with nature: go outdoors for an extended period of time to renew your commitment to your intention.  Take time to journal about what you have learned in the last thirty days. Connecting with the Full or New Moon is a great time for this practice. Try a Full Moon hike, swimming in the ocean, or sleeping under the stars.

4. Ask others to join you in sharing a practice. Creating a space for ritual is already powerful; when you share this space with others who are likeminded it becomes even more potent. Invite others to share their traditions. Ask the elders in your family about traditions and rituals that might have been lost.  Consider finding a teacherwho is trained intraditional puja or fire ceremonies to lead your group. 

5. Commit to 40 consecutive days of meditation or mantra practice. The power of practice is cumulative. If you miss a day start again from day one. 

6.Listen to and then act on any inspirations you receive. The divine is constantly pointing the way towards a fulfilled life in the form of inspiration. Our job is to act upon it as soon as it is received. Always keep a journal nearby.

Tracee Stanley is the creatrix of the Empowered Life Self-Inquiry Oracle. She teaches yoga, meditation and yoga nidra. Her offerings are informed by the teachings of Yogarupa Rod Stryker and the tradition of the Himalayan Masters. Find her at www.traceeyoga.com

Resources In Los Angeles: 

Sivananda Yoga Center http://www.sivanandala.org/  seasonal events

Yogini Ashram   www.yoginiashram.com  online puja classes

Kali Mandir https://www.kalimandir.org  home puja course

Laura Amazonnehttps://www.lauraamazzone.com - online puja classes 

Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions by Catherine Bell

This article originally appeared in @layogamagazine 

 

 

How to Thrive

How to Thrive

If you feel like everyone around you is thriving or taking their life to the next level and that you are getting left behind take that as a signal from the universe for you to stop comparing and competing. Leave any jealously and envy behind and use that FIRE to get to work on YOU, your gifts and your passions. 

Here's how: 

1. Ask for Help

Most friends are happy to give you advice or a reference to that amazing assistant or web developer who helped them refine their business or life. Take your friend out for a meal in exchange for their time. 

2. Recognize Your Worth

Understand and honor what your unique gifts. What does the world look like through your lens? What do you see that other's don't? What tools have you used in your life that work? What is the most important thing for you to share with others before you leave this earth? 

3. Create a List of Goals

When you are busy comparing yourself to others your attention is not where it needs to be. Create your own blueprint of thriving. What does it look like to you? For some it might mean getting rid of all of the unnecessary items in life and becoming more minimalistic. For someone else it may be moving out of an apartment and into a home. It might be having the freedom and time to travel. Connect to your personal thrive. 

4. Imagine a Time When You Were Thriving.

Can you remember the last time you were thriving.. I mean really in flow? I remember the first time I did this contemplation with my teacher Yogarupa Rod Stryker in his Four Desires Workshop. I connected to a time in my life when I truly felt superhuman. Find your thrive moment- see what you were doing then, how you were feeling, even what you were eating back then. You still have that fire in you and the power to activate thriving. What did you learn from revisiting that thriving moment?

5. Find Inspiration. Go There Often. 

Write a list of all the people and places that inspire you. Make a point to visit them at least once a month. Not just when you are feeling uninspired but especially when you are feeling energized. You might just get that extra push towards a great idea. Be sure to visit places that are new to you. Get out of your normal routine, drive or hike an extra 30 minutes to a vista or sacred site. 

6. Practice Silence

We have so much energy that is constantly going out all day that we barely have a chance to be with ourselves. Practicing 30 minutes of silence before bed and 30 minutes upon waking is a wonderful way to balance and be with our thoughts and feelings in a way that feels spacious and peaceful. Inspiration often happens in the stillness of silence. 

7. Act On Your Inspiration

The best time to act on Inspiration is as soon as you hear it.  Not acting on your inspiration is a form of carelessness. You are basically ignoring whispers from the Divine. Whispers that are meant to propel you to your greatness. Who cares what anyone else thinks about it. The whisper was meant for you. Let your heart lead the way and allow magic to unfold. 

 

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