how to establish a daily practice, by Eleni Gekas

© 2005 by Eleni Gekas,

Learn to establish a daily practice.

Transitions back into your “normal” life after experiencing the simple supportive life on an ashram, may challenge you. During your time living in a spiritual community, surrounded by fellow Truth Seekers, your practice, or sadhana, naturally deepens. Once you leave, you are left deciding how to bring what you’ve learned into your life. Have faith that you will do what you are supposed to. Have discipline & think of this transition before it happens so you can actively choose what to do, instead of learning later that you’ve forgotten or “lost” everything that you’ve “gained.” As nothing can be “lost” or “gained,” continually remind yourself to remain in the present and work towards deepening this moment.

1-Decide what you want to bring into your life- for example: meditation, asana.
2-Choose one. This may seem easy, but stick to one first, then add more.
3-When: same time of the day. Try to practice in the morning, afternoon, or evening.
4-Where: same place. Choose one location and set up an altar, place a candle, incense, keep it clean without distractions, place a picture of the Divine, yantras.
5-What: meditation, asana, study of the scriptures, prayers
6-Why: development of the true Self. Think of a purpose/ goal.
7-How long: same amount of time daily. Choose a length of time that is manageable every day, no matter what. Start small, increase after steady practice, 1-5 minutes at a time.
8-How: everyday. Approach everyday with a fresh perspective. Remember the body and mind change in the moment.
Try not to get attached to experiences within meditation or “levels” of postures. Be with the breath. Try your best to surround yourself with a community of spiritual seekers to support you in the ebbs & flows of practice. Be patient, faithful, non-judgmental, & let the Spirit guide without fear, attachment, jealousy, aversion, or ego. Keep your practices to yourself unless you are sharing with another dedicated practitioner, or teacher. Be gentle with yourself.

Cleansing: Before practicing pranayama, meditation, or asana, empty your bowels. Also: basti, shank prankshalan, dhauti, neti, tratak, kapalbhati, agni sara dhauti, nauli, and kun jal. Practice cleansing according to the demands of your body in the moment. Trust yourself.

Pranayama: To stabilize the mind by bringing balance of the lunar and solar energies of the brain, body, and nadis. Practices: analom valom, nadi shodanan, bastrika, shitali/shitkari, ujjayi.

Meditation: Remove the modifications of the mind & bring harmony between the Supreme Soul & individual Soul. Mantra, breath awareness, So hum, japa mala.

Asana: Think of asanas as parts creating a whole series using the breath to link it together. Warm up, backbends, forward bends, inversions, twists, cool down, & savasana (at least 5 minutes). Trust yourself & listen to the breath guide you. Repetitions with the inhalation & exhalation help you get used to the pose. After practicing this way for some time, move into holding the postures. Again, always focus on the breath-long, smooth & deep.

Fasting: To increase the digestive fire, agni, fasting is recommended once a week. One can fast with juice, fruits, soups, milk, water, etc. With faith and devotion one can bring this practice into one’s life. Choose a day of the week for yourself: Monday: Shiva, Tuesday: Hanuman, Wednesday: Planets, Thursday: Guru, Friday: Goddess, Saturday: Saturn, Sunday: Sun

© 2005 by Eleni Gekas,