Design Your Own Ritual.
Creating rituals is such a wonderful way to delve into your personal practice, and rituals can be a wonderful tool for class planning as a teacher (watch the blog for tips on how to take a ritual to life in a yoga class). Ritual is the creation of the conditions to listen and engage with the felt sense as the voice of consciousness. it is a way for us to feel and personify the Divine, until the point when we recognize that we are the divine. This post is meant to help you find a way to create your own rituals.
Step 1- Create an Intention for Your Ritual
This will be the framework of the ritual. For example, you may wish to give up a bad habit, or step into a new aspect of yourself. So the intention would be letting go of something, which means that a cleansing or act of destruction is necessary. Another intention might be to connect with nature or the energy of the moon. Another still might be a ritual for cleansing your energy after a long day of teaching and holding space. Whatever your intention is, make sure that you are clear on exactly the outcome for the ritual, as this will help you shape your ritual.
Step 2- Gather Materials to Support Your Ritual
Find meaningful items that represent what you are trying to achieve in the ritual. For example, if you are trying to let go of a bad habit, what are some actions that can represent destruction? You could use fire to destroy the habit, or water to wash it away. You may also wish to find some crystals, or special objects that have meaning to you. You can cleanse their energy in water, or by the light of the full moon. And then once they are cleaned energetically, you can infuse them with your intentions.
I really like to work with the elements, as the ancient yogis worked with them in chakra meditations. Here are a list of what the elements represent (also know that if they mean something else to you, that's OK! This is about your connection to greater consciousness. There's no right or wrong way)
Fire - Fire is the element that burns away impurities. In yoga, it is represented by Kali, embodied by Agni, the god of fire.
Water - Water is one of the most powerful elements. It slowly wears away stone with its flow, stripping away and cleansing what isn't needed. It is represented by the goddess Saraswati.
Earth - This is the grounding element. It is the element where potential energy or the energy of creation exists.
Wind or Air - This is the element of our breath and life force. This is what carries seeds across the world and allows freedom and space within the body.
You can also include ritualistic sounds to bring you into a deep state of meditation. Shamans used to do this with drums. Bedouins use songs to bring them into a trance. Just know what works for you and brings you deeper into the experience.
Also consider what archetypes or energies you might call on to support you in your journey. This could be anything from a goddess to Jesus to a relative who has passed on. It's completely up to you and I would encourage you to get creative with it. Consider journaling about it before hand and see what comes up!
Step 3- Design Your Ritual
I would begin by opening the space (see my blog post here on how to do that). Let each act of the ritual represent the journey you are embarking upon. For example, if you are releasing old habits, you can write them on a piece of paper and throw them into a fire. After, you can set the intention of new habits. In each step, you may call on an archetype or a goddess through chanting or visualization.
Make sure you end the ritual by closing the space (like by blowing out a candle or saying it out loud).
I would love to hear some of your rituals that you come up with! Please feel free to share them in the comments below.