My jar is full...full of rocks, full of gratitude, full of intentions, full of accomplishments and full of peace. I did it! And I feel fantastic!
21 days ago, in an attempt to practice what I preach and truly walk the walk, I embarked on my own 21-Day Meditation and Yoga Challenge. Meditation was already a part of my life to be sure, but I wasn't practicing consistently and I wanted to test out my product and my program and get a little exercise in at the same time!
I wrapped up 21 of my hand-painted rocks to track my progress and set 2 specific goals for myself: 1) practice yoga every morning for at least 15 minutes and 2) meditate for at least 5 minutes at the end of the yoga. I believe that being specific with the amount of time I was committing to doing meditation and yoga for and setting the time of day that I would do it each day was a huge part of my success with this challenge. When you set clear and concise goals for yourself it is easier to stick to them. And seeing them written down in your own handwriting can be powerful messaging for the mind as well.
So I set my alarm for 5 am and my morning followed a similar routine each day. I wish I could say I hopped out of bed, but that just ain't the truth. Recently, the actual act of making it to a seated position and getting out of bed has been less successful than the simple act of hitting snooze (a goal for my next challenge perhaps). I eventually give my poor husband a break from the bleating alarm and get out of bed at 5:20. And then, I'm good to go! I am a morning person through and through and I'm happy and eager to get things moving once I've made in out of that blissful cocoon of sheets and pillows! I always begin my day with gratitude. I usually sleep like a baby so this is always the first thing I give thanks for--I do not take this for granted, as I know many who struggle with sleep. I will also say something along the lines of, thank you for this day, for my health, for my family. It literally takes about 10 seconds and is a great way get your thoughts flowing in a positive direction.
Next I make my coffee, one of my favourite morning rituals. While it's sweet aroma fills the kitchen I make my son's lunch and check social media (I know, not a great morning habit...another thing to work on in the next challenge). I then take my coffee down to my little workshop and spend half an hour painting rocks. This quiet, reflective 30 minutes spent alone with my java has been so inspiring and I look forward to this time where my imagination is engaged and I hold space for my creative self.
You're probably wondering if I've forgotten all about my 21-Day Challenge! Fear not...by now it is around 6 o'clock and I head upstairs to begin my yoga and meditation. I have a yoga mat in the guest bedroom with my meditation rocks and an essential oil diffuser. I bring my phone or my laptop for music and my yoga app. I have really alternated between making up my own sequences, just being led by what I feel my body needs in the moment, and following a yoga video from Gaia, an incredible source for thousands of online guided yoga classes and meditations. Sometimes I change into yoga clothes and sometimes, as pictured here, I stretch it out in my jammies...a definite perk to having an at-home practice!
Regardless of what I'm wearing and whether I'm following a class or not, I always start my class with intentions. Always. I am such a huge believer in the power of positive intentions and affirmations. What you put out there, is what you are going to experience. Whether you believe it is due to the power of the mind and self-fulfilling prophecies or whether you believe in the law of attraction or whether you believe that the Universe hears your heart's desire and responds accordingly, I know, without question, that it WORKS. Setting intentions is quick and easy and if you are listening you will know exactly what your intention needs to be. Mine vary depending on what is going on in my life, but here are some of my re-occurring intentions that I set, standing at the top of my mat with my hands in prayer pose at my heart.
-Let this practice be everything my physical body needs; let energy flow throughout the practice, to align me with ultimate health, vitality and joy.
-I set my intention to be patient, present and understanding with my family and my students, being everything they need me to be today so that they feel heard, understood and loved.
-I am grateful for the peace in my mind, free from anxiety, worry and angst of any kind.
-Let this practice open me up to listen and hear guidance for my next step in SKP.
As you can see, my intentions/affirmations sound like a cross between a prayer and gratitude. I'm not really asking for anything, I'm opening myself up to be the best version of myself: to be in great physical health, with lots of energy, free from worry, to positively touch the people in my life and surrendering any expectations for my new business and just waiting to be led to take inspired action. Setting intentions can seem strange and difficult at first, but before long it becomes natural and easy. You can set intentions without the yoga too. You would simply begin with, my intention for this meditation is...
So then I do my 15 minutes of yoga and my 5 minutes of meditation and I'm done! Into the shower and the regular day begins. It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you are the only one up in the house. I know that many of you will claim that you are not a morning person and you couldn't bare the thought of getting up before you absolutely have to. I really urge you to give it a try, especially if you have children. There is something so refreshing and soul-filling about having these quiet moments before the needs of the family surround you.
Now that my 21-Day Meditation and Yoga Challenge is over, I can honestly report the following:
I feel so proud of myself for sticking to it. I have a very hard time sticking to diets and gym routines and have always thought of myself as someone with low willpower. It feels really great to have accomplished what I set out to do. I have great energy. I feel alive and awake all day, not feeling that mid-afternoon drag. I feel fit. Just that little bit of yoga has left me feeling stronger, leaner and more flexible. I feel happy, calm and centered and this is spilling into my relationships with my family, my friends and my students. And best of all, I'm going to continue. I can't think of a single reason not to start my day like this moving forward. For this I am so grateful. I definitely got the Spiritual Kick in the Pants I was looking for!
So what are you waiting for? Are you feeling inspired to start your own personal 21-Day Meditation Challenge? Do it! I'm here for you...I'll get you started and I can even keep you motivated and accountable throughout. Think of me as your personal mindfulness coach, helping you get your Spiritual Kick in the Pants! Comment or message me for more details!