I thought some of you might be interested in the various practices I use on a daily basis.
I’m an early riser. I wake between 12:30 AM and five o’clock in the morning. Just after midnight is on the extremely early end and only happens when I’ve gone to bed before nine o’clock. Typically, I rise between 2:30 and 4:00 during a period of inspiration.
I start by drinking a glass of water I’ve set out beside my bed before going to sleep. While still in bed, I do Taoist eye exercises and massage my feet with a focus on the colon areas on both feet. I then make my way to the bathroom to say a set of affirmations while smiling into the mirror. While saying the affirmations out loud I do Touch for Health switching on exercises and a Time of Day Balance (also from Touch for Health). Most of the affirmations are ones that have come to me in those wee hours but I also use a few others such as the following one:
I am a messenger of Light. I am a pilgrim on the way of love.
I do not walk alone, but know myself as one with all great souls,
and one with them in service.
Their strength is mine. This strength I claim.
My strength is theirs and this I freely give.
A soul, I walk on earth. I represent the one.
from the work of Djwhal Khul and Alice Bailey
It’s now time for yoga asanas followed by relaxation and meditation. I always have a pen and paper beside me. During inspired periods I write by hand before getting out of bed or I jot down ideas that come up while doing affirmations or doing yoga. I’ve learned not to resist this inspiration. It comes at times of its own choosing. I simply need to be available as scribe for the ideas that arise. Just before the meditation I perform a short Triangle Meditation with two people I’ve never met in person – one lives in Michigan and the other in Qatar. For more on Triangles visit here.
Next I walk in nature or I go straight to the computer to begin writing and editing my earlier handwritten notes. This is still before anyone else in the house is awake. The best inspiration comes then. Depending on the season and the weather I will walk before or during sunrise. I often receive more inspiration then. I’ll be chanting mantras or singing songs that I’m working on while I walk. It’s amazing how many inspirational ideas (for writing, or a person I should call or an activity that needs to be completed) will come to the surface of my consciousness during these solitary, joyful walks in nature.
Many mornings, at some point during the walk, I will stop and do what I call Four Directions Eurythmy and/or certain breathing exercises designed to clean the lungs. I find it particularly beneficial to do breathing exercises on the beach or in the forest where the air is pristine and the prana highly charged.
During the day, if I’m doing a lot of work at the computer, I get up regularly from my chair, doing some jumping on a lymphasiser (mini-trampoline or rebounder) or wander out into the garden to do a little pruning, weeding, hand watering or harvesting.
Late in the afternoon, before the evening meal I do Six Healing Sounds and the Inner Smile. It’s a great way to release any tension or emotional dross accumulated during the day. I love this practice. Sometimes I do a little yoga before the Six Healing Sounds or in place of them. The asanas I choose would be dependent on how I’m feeling. It is likely I would include Cat/Cow, the Shoulder Stand or the Fish.
Before bed I offer a prayer, read a little and fall asleep, often midway through a sentence with the book open on my lap. Lucia often sorts me out or I wake later to turn the light out (not ideal but that’s me; I can fall asleep anywhere, which is a bit of an issue when I’m driving the car!
Please note I am intentionally not rigid about the above practices. I apply them consistently but I will miss some elements at times. I feel it is important to go with the flow. There’s no freedom in ‘have to’ or obligation. Do what feels good. On average I probably do yoga six days a week.
A practice is ever-evolving. Back in 2000 and 2001, after Power of Sound Teacher Training with Chris James in Australia, I used to retire in late afternoon to our little octagonal eco-lodge and spend about 45 minutes to an hour doing sound work. I had some real breakthroughs with my voice after I’d done those exercises daily for three months.
Success with your practice, folks! I’d love to hear your comments.
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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.