One thing I encourage, when working with clients, is dedicating to a daily practice. A daily practice is medicine for your soul. I discovered this over a decade ago when a daily practice was imposed on me during a yoga therapy training I was undertaking. My daily practice, more than any other action I have taken in my life, has accelerated my own spiritual evolution.
For many, the idea of creating a daily practice is daunting. And it is this very idea of what a daily practice is supposed to look like that often gets in the way. It can feel like an overwhelming commitment in the midst of what may already feel like an overloaded schedule. Feelings of not knowing what to do or where to start can be obstacles. Notice if the thought of another thing “to do” on your already crowded “to do” list sets off the panic button.
Take a breath. Slow down. Simplify. That feels better already. You don’t have to chant OM or twist your body into a pretzel to benefit from a daily practice. I hold the yogic path in highest regard, but if you are someone that believes a daily practice is only for serious yogis and gurus, think again.
In the ever-accelerating pace of our lives, time dedicated to slow down is essential for everyone. So much of your time and attention is spent each day on the necessary and mundane aspects of your life. You devote time to paying bills, buying groceries, tending to family, doing laundry, and never mind the endless demands of work and making a living. You lose sight of your soul, cannot hear your own heart, because there is no time devoted to listen.
Perhaps a wisp of contemplation has descended. Maybe you wonder where do you start? The simplest place to begin is with your body, the divine temple to your soul. Your body orients you to time and space. It lets you know where you are at any given moment. The more you embody your body, the more you become oriented to the present moment, that which is happening now. As you heighten your awareness to thoughts, feelings and sensations, you may begin to notice that much of your attention is scattered away in thought. In thought, your attention is pulled in to the future, or drawn into the past. At that moment, the awareness of your body is lost, preoccupied in the stories, dramas and chatter running through your mind.
This mind chatter is a very effective coping strategy. At some point in your life this was a brilliant choice to ensure survival. It allowed you to avoid being in your body. To be in your body means you must feel. To avoid feeling, the busyness of mind offers an immediate distraction.
There are many reasons to leave your body, including the pain of trauma, abuse, criticism and shame. In the shamanic tradition, this loss of vital energy is called soul loss. As a method to mange feelings that overwhelm or threaten your very existence, a part of yourself retreats into non-ordinary states of reality.
Devoting time each day to the awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations in your own body will heighten your connection to the present moment. The link below offers a guided meditation to support you in that process. The Body Scan can fortify your ability to hold sensation in your body that at one time may have felt too threatening. It increases your capacity to stay present to what you feel without relying on patterns of avoidance, distraction and numbing. Increasing the strength of your energy body creates the possibility to recover the vital energy of your soul once lost. For any relationship to thrive, attention is necessary. This includes the relationship with your own body and soul.
Take a moment to notice your reaction to the Body Scan. Was it difficult to slow down or stay present to the guided instructions? Did you find yourself easily distracted, wandering off in thought or plans for your day? Were you critical of the process, making mental comments about the guided instruction, music or voice? Were you anxious, impatient, bored? Did you wish you were somewhere else thinking there were better things you could do with your time? Were you able to complete the entire scan? Heightening your awareness to your reaction to the Body Scan will begin to heighten your awareness to habits, patterns and distractions you are using in other aspects of your life.
With time and attention, your daily practice offers a sanctuary to feed your sacred essence. The voice of your heart and soul are fortified. The wisdom that shines through your practice begins to touch all pars of your life. There is no distinction between your spiritual self and that which is not. You begin to bring the sacred to all aspects of your life, including time spent grocery shopping, paying bills and all that is mundane. Take a dose of medicine for body and soul today.
About the author
Karen Chrappa, a holistic physiotherapist in practice 25 years, has worked with thousands of people on a healing path. Her work weaves together an intuitive tapestry of medicine paths from a lifetime of dedicated studies in contemporary and indigenous ways. She is currently working with shamans in Peru to awaken the Sacred Feminine as part of the ayllu, a Bouquet of Light. Her forthcoming book, “A Structure for Spirit” will be available this summer. Visit and like on Facebook.
image courtesy of Loco Steve