‘Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored.’

I was interested about the rituals performed by my teacher, Tom. He inspired the theme of the week when he told me that ‘ritual’ was currently his favourite word and vibe. ‘Really?’ I asked him. Tom, his world and his rituals. Him saying that really landed. At the time I did not ask him why. I just told him that I really liked that. And repeated the word ‘ritual’ out loud a couple times.

It really lingered in my mind: this guy is a devoted guy. He trains daily, has worked intense early morning hours for 7 years and trains for hours and hours more or less 7 days a week… Sooooooo, I asked him to tell me a bit about what it is that he considers rituals.

Tom said it is what prepares him for his busy days; he takes joy in them almost like meditation. Preparing his his for the week- stretching, yoga… I asked for more. I WANTED DETAILS. To be in his mind, the details that he savours in terms of his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is quite a compelling world. 

‘Tying my belt is probably the most important ritual thinking about it. It symbolises being ready for the next round and also the concept of whatever is going on, on or off the mat, you pick yourself up, pull your gi together and tie your belt.’

I left the studio tonight. Sunday evening after Candlelit Restorative is often a slow exit from the studio. It is also a slow entrance. Laying the mats. Lighting the candles. All of it is part of the ritual of making a nest, as much for myself as all of the students! The practice was themed around rituals.

Setting a theme on Monday and using that as a thread for teaching means that by Sunday, I have had time to really explore my thoughts and feelings in terms of the theme. It is funny what lands- Daphne one of the students chatted after class and shared her evening activities and used the word ritual twice, someone wanted to come and share their rituals for yoga when at home.  During class I had shared a childhood ritual: recalling the friend I always shared my peanut butter and honey sandwiches with. Someone came to me and spoke about how much they had enjoyed delving back to childhood rituals in a lengthy child’s pose and my memory had spiralled them into a sea of sweet memories.

Rituals. It seems we can all relate and it has been interesting to discover shared rituals.  I realised after posting about my morning lemon water (which I have been ritualistic about for almost 20 years!!) that others shared this. ’I would be lost without my morning lemons!”  said Lisette.

Rituals are about us coming home, arriving. In our body, in our mind, in our sprit. Whatever our rituals: lemons, gi belts, the breath, sharing your sandwiches on the same spot on the playground with the same friend, a handshake, a caress, bath time with your baby, reading the same bedtime story… Treat the small details in a ceremonious way.

And if life gives you lemons? Smile. Find sanctuary in your rituals, re-tie your belt and remember lemons can create a delicious vitamin rich, liver awakening hot morning drink.