Practice,  Yoga in the Everyday

My Favorite “Outside the Box” Mini-Practices

It’s not always possible for me to engage a long practice and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  But, I’m also sure that I’m not alone in the need to take care of myself, to listen and respond intelligently to my body, mind and spirit. Below are some of the mini-practices that punctuate my busy days.  While they may not bring me to the clarity or wholeness of a more in depth practice they help me to stay in my body, keep a toe in the pool of awareness and stop me from continuing the descent into my ego’s chatte.1.  The “Dear God don’t let it be morning already practice” – Anyone I’ve ever lived with could attest to the fact that I am not a morning person.  Most days I feel utterly assaulted by the world upon awakening – groggy, hungry and reluctant it takes a good half hour to “wake up”.  I notice when I first wake up that I start to tense my body immediately to brace for the “assault” – armour ready, fight or flight mode primed – I am a mighty warrior ready to face the onslaught!  Really?  Although my toddler and cat can be a formidable force this is not necessarily the most helpful way to initiate my day. So lately, even for a minute or two, I consciously relax all the muscles in my body just to show myself it can be done!
2.  The “I’ve got about ten minutes before Rowan wakes up from her nap practice”  –  If I’ve not been practicing yoga during her nap already, I’ve likely been stooped over at my laptop working on my MA, digging around in my garden or (shudder) doing housework.  Sometimes the scramble to complete tasks can leave me in a slightly frantic energy so a 10 minute legs up the wall pose and deep breath is just the way to balance this and prepare me for the next part of the day.
3.  The “Everyone around me is driving me nuts practice” – it’s bathroom break time.  There’s no excuse for this one, there are bathrooms everywhere!  I find a stall, relax my body, get a grip on all the whirring drama in my head and move the tense spots – a wiggle here or there just to shake up the “mode” I’m in.
4.  The “I know I’m in public but don’t give a damn practice” – Shameless.  We must be shameless!  Let’s face it, everyone knows what yoga is now, it’s on every sitcom and yoghurt commercial out there.  You’re probably not going to be labelled a voodoo child for shrugging your shoulders and loosening your jaw in a line up.   I do yoga in parks while Rowan plays, when I sit down at a restaurant, when I’m camping, at the beach – whatever!  If I know that a few movements will take my from Godzilla to Godly I’m in!
5.  The “I’m feeling ungrounded and self-conscious practice”  – Spikes through my heels.  Really, one day I spontaneously imagined big ol’ tent pegs extending from my heels through the earth when I felt self-conscious and scattered walking through a crowd.  Boom!  Into my legs, into the earth and out of my tormenting head.  Play with this, or other symbols for balancing your energy (if you feel heavy imagine the space between your cells; angry – put a little hoola skirt on your inner tazmanian devil and let it rip!)
6.  The “I’m going to do a mini-practice so I don’t have to do a longer practice practice” – this one doesn’t count.
7.  The “I’m neurotically going to do mini-practices all day so that I can perfect my state of being and never feel ruffled, tired, tense or anything terribly human at all practice” – this one doesn’t count either.
8.  Finally the “I’ve forgotten that I, and everyone else around me, are outrageous miracles and I’m going to take 8 seconds to remind myself of that practice” – We are swirling energy, space and love born of the stars magically and one of my favorite mini-practices is to contemplate this – if only for a moment.

What are some of your mini-practices!?