by Jenni Sells
"Discipline doesn't have to be a hard & strict thing. It can be soft & comforting & cozy. There doesn't have to be any stress behind it. You can just sit down & do it, knowing it is like a hug from your soul, & from the Creator. Something safe to rely on, something trustworthy to turn to, no matter how you are feeling." - Nirinjan Kaur
Some people find it easy to keep up with a 40 day practice. I'm not one of those people. (Any Gemini Rising's out there that can relate?) I grew up in a very disciplined house - so naturally I grew to rebel against anything I "had" to do. I wanted to find a freer, more natural way of being in the world. The quest for a balance between "freedom" and "discipline" continues to this day.
As fate would have it, I found myself as the curator of the 40 day Global Sadhanas during my time at Spirit Voyage. Of course, I always TRIED to do the meditations every day - but it would be difficult to describe the challenges I had surrounding that. I failed more often than I succeeded. But I did learn a few very important things in the process.
I wanted to first understand where and why the resistance was coming up. What was stopping me from just getting on my mat happily and doing the practice? For me, it came down to acknowledging a lifetime of low-grade anxiety that I didn't even realize I had. Being on the mat day after day made me feel really uncomfortable. It took me a while to settle in. Of course, it wasn't always bad, or I wouldn't keep trying to do it. I've had some beyond beautiful experiences during yoga and meditation. But I first had to face some of my personal demons.
The other thing that I realized about myself is throughout my life, I have suffered from shame, and from not feeling worthy. These feelings have held me back from so many things in my life - including the gift of having a daily practice. There was a core belief that I didn't deserve happiness, or didn't deserve to nurture myself or be nurtured. Ironically, the only thing that has helped me work through that IS having a regular practice. I say regular because now it's MOST days, but not every day.
It is my regular practice that saved me from self-destruction. Having just 15-30 minutes a day for myself in the morning, (or evening) to do whatever I want to do (meditate, stretch, journal, just sit, dance, jump around, take a savasana) allowed me to become my greatest teacher and healer.
My personal practice shows me where my emotional pain is. It gives me the opportunity to love myself through the pain. It helps me to recognize habitual thought patterns and loops I get into, and shows me where I can soften. It gives me a safe, cozy space where I can truly tap into my authenticity and heal long standing challenges at the root. Rather than creating a boundary of strict regulations, it creates a soft container in which I feel truly seen, held and loved by the Universe. But it's only when I give myself the freedom to do, be and feel whatever I want that having a regular practice truly works for me.
I still struggle with doing anything day after day, including the global sadhanas that I love so very much - but it does help me honor my commitments to myself and others. It shows me where discipline can be helpful in my life, and that I don't have to rebel against things that are good for me. It illuminates what IS good for me, and what is not. It encourages me to get on my mat, and do something beautiful for myself. It helps me feel a connection with my community, knowing that they are also practicing - that we are connected in our practice. It helps me to know that we are all in this together, creating something powerful in the world through our intentions and our efforts. It helps me go beyond myself. And that's what it is really all about, right? Empowering yourself first, and showing up in the world authentically, so that you can be the change, while helping create the change that is so needed right now.
If you are looking to start a new daily practice, we've got lots of options for you! You can practice previous global sadhanas - with instructions, a daily practice video & daily messages to help keep you motivated to stick with your practice! Check out some of our favorites here!