Before I make food for my puppy or breakfast for myself, I move my body and center my mind. For me, it is essential to stick to this routine. I crawl onto my yoga mat and take myself through whatever breath-led movement comes to me. It may be seriously slow, or on some days rather dance-like in nature. If I can find flow within myself first thing in the morning, it is much easier for me to do so with others throughout the day.
The movement practice wakes me up and starts to stir the pot of my emotional and spiritual self. Thoughts and feelings often come up during this time - visions or tokens of truth from dreams I just had, even worries or unknowns that make me anxious. Through the years of doing this practice I have come to learn that this rising of emotion is good, and exactly what I need. As feelings rise to the surface, I am able to see them and focus my mantra work around them.
So much of my energy in the past has been wasted on running from these feelings. Until one day, I turned around and gave them a name. In doing so, I gave them a voice, and I listened. From then on, I realized there was great wisdom hidden within my worries, I just had to stop running away before they could give me their gift.
Mantra, for me, can mean many things. Often there is a set mantra that I learned from one of my teachers, or overheard in a yoga class, that is perfect for the feelings I’m having. Other times the mantra seems to be brand new and presents itself to me in the moment. Whatever sound, word, or phrase that comes to me, I simply repeat it over and over as a prayer. I keep this up for as long as needed. Observing my mind and body as the prayer goes on is the best way I’ve found to calm a busy mind and start rewiring it toward sweeter, more loving thoughts.
Once I complete my mantra work, I take a “good seat” - one that is comfortable enough so I can stay focused on stillness. For example: two pillows under my knees and a meditation cushion under my seat in crossed-leg position. I lay my hands palm up if I need to receive that morning or palms facing down if I’m looking to ground myself. I set a timer anywhere from 5-30 minutes and close my eyes. This seat is a great privilege to take and I treat it as such. This time in the morning, just for myself, to center and breathe is one I hold dear to my heart. Since I have already given myself time to reflect and listen to my worries, this time is usually pretty spacious and calm. Not always, of course, but that’s the idea. :) After my meditation I feel centered and ready to take on the best day of my life!