I speak often about how important commitment and devotion is in my own life, so I naturally attract clients who are seeking to create more of this in their own lives and practices. The honest truth is: commitment and devotion can be incredibly difficult to cultivate. We are not alone, but no one else can do it for us. We must access and activate the strength, energy, and determination from within. Luckily, I have a few tips that I use on the daily to set myself up for victory.
Create a Sacred Practice Space
Having a space of our own that is solely dedicated to practice is quite powerful. This area will be quickly charged up with all of the high-vibration frequencies of the mantras and the radiant energy we’re generating during our practice. Even if there isn’t a whole room, or even a corner to spare, you can still create a sacred space to practice in. Currently, I live in a one-bedroom apartment. My sacred practice and altar space is a corner in my living room. Despite the fact that it’s not a separate space and is actually moved through many times throughout the day, it holds its charge and feels more cozy and sacred than any other spot in our little home. This space can be transitional and it can be tiny!
For parents of both children and animals, consider how accessible the space is to others in your household. I’m not bothered by others joining me in meditation but everyone is different! Create that boundary if it serves the practice.
What should your space contain? Anything that taps you deeper into yourself and into the divine. There’s no formula for sacredness. All is sacred. My personal space includes a sheepskin, yoga mat, a marble altar with stones, feathers, and plant matter, and incense/candles. I keep it simple and minimal, as my space may need to be utilized at other times of the day.
Choose Only Practices That Excite You
This is a huge one. If I am excited about a practice, I can’t wait to get up in the morning and do it. During the day, I find myself thinking about it and how it’s shifting my reality. If there’s a mantra, mudra, or breath pattern that particularly resonates, I find that I naturally carry it throughout my day.
Before discovering Kundalini Yoga, I was a total flake. I couldn’t commit to anything for more than a day. And even after beginning to practice, my commitment wavered. It wasn’t until I found the practices that most resonated with my journey and intentions, the practices that set my heart on fire, that I discovered how devoted I could be. Many of my clients tell me that the more they practice the meditations and yoga sets from the sessions, the more they want to practice. It’s my favorite thing to hear, because it means that we’ve discovered a practice that is truly resonant and aligned with their path. Then, it becomes quite easy to keep up!
Oftentimes we pick up a new practice because it’s trendy or someone we look up to is doing it - which is completely doable and I definitely encourage experimentation. But if our reason ends there, then we likely won’t keep up with the practice. This is why I love offering Sadhana Sessions - in a single session, we learn and practice multiple different yoga sets and meditations to really feel into which ones are exciting to us. The practices that we love, we commit to. The ones we don’t absolutely love simply fall into our toolbox, should we wish to return to them later.
Something to consider here is the definition of an “exciting” practice. We have to keep ourselves (our egos) in check. My most beloved practice, reciting a Sanskrit poem called JapJi Sahib, has been going for 419 days. When I first started learning this long poem, I spent an hour every morning doing this practice. Now that I know it by heart, it takes me just twenty minutes (it’s a long poem — 40 stanzas!). There have been many, many days that I was not bouncing-off-the-walls excited to do this practice. But when I tap into my infinite self and see the temporality of that boredom as well as the potential shifts these practices can bring into my reality, I tap into my devotion. I tap into my determination. I tap into my grit. Which is powerful, transformative, and infinite. So, yes, we want to be excited about our practices. But we also want to be understanding of the human experience and see that boredom will come and we must push through it. It’s just another level of self-mastery that we’re working with. I love this quote about yoga, “The pose begins the moment you want to leave it.” That’s how I feel about my Sadhana. The times I really, really don’t want to practice, those are the times that I’m really practicing! And the choice we make in that moment has the potential to totally shift and upgrade the trajectory of our lives. So it’s worth it to stay committed.
Morning person or not, it’s insanely helpful to get yourself set-up the night before. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, pulling out my clothes for school the next day, prepping my lunch, getting my backpack together. It just makes the morning flow so much more smoothly! Nowadays, I prep for the morning by laying out my sheepskin with a cozy blanket (I love to get a wrapped up like a burrito for my Sadhana), set out the supplements I take in the morning, pull out the tea I’ll drink during meditation, set out the clothes I wear for my Sadhana, and anything else that feels relevant. If, for any reason, it feels messy or cluttered in/around my practice space, I clean it up the evening before. Doing this makes the morning feel easy, light, and fluid.
Enlist a Friend
Having a friend hold us accountable can make all the difference! I offer to all of my clients to contact me daily upon completion of their Sadhana. In fact, this is one of the most valuable aspects of the offering! Those who do contact me daily after their daily practice get so much more out of it. Even when I can’t respond immediately and share in their victory in that moment, the simple act of sending me the message reconfirms the commitment and strengthens your drive. It’s all just reinforcement.
I find that this works best for both parties when the person who is committed to a practice contacts the person who is holding them accountable and not the other way around. This means that your friend won’t be texting you daily to ask whether or not you’ve done your practice, as this only displaces your responsibility and keeps you from cultivating true self-reliance and commitment. Like I said, it often doesn’t even matter whether or not the person you contact gets back to you or not. The important thing is that you strengthen your commitment through sharing your victories with others. If my clients don’t text me one day, I won’t be emailing them about whether or not they’ve practiced. Again, this work is 100% up to us. No one else can do it! If a client misses a day, it generally only happens once. Because once it happens, once we fall off, we absolutely never want to have to start from scratch — again. And so we tend to keep up. Ultimately, I always respond to my clients and check in from time to time with those who aren’t contacting me daily, but that’s not so much a tool for strengthening commitment as it is for strengthening community.
Have a Non-Negotiable
Setting a “non-negotiable” is something I truly believe in. A “non-negotiable” is simply a practice that we do, every single day, without fail. It is the cornerstone of our entire spiritual practice. It is meant to be simple. It is meant to be short (though we can always extend it if we so choose). This is because we will do this practice even if our home burns down. Even if we get sick — or if our children/partners do. Our “non-negotiable” practice is usually associated with an aspect of our experience that we are working to shift or master. The poem I mentioned above, JapJi Sahib, is my personal “non-negotiable”. In the last 415 days, I have traveled, I have gone through hell, I have been sick, I have been bored, I have been crazy busy like you wouldn’t believe. Through it all, I have done my daily practice. Now I see that it is always possible. If I can do a twenty minute poem daily, then anyone can do three minutes of breathwork or chanting. Because I really and truly was the flakiest person I knew, once upon a time. It’s almost impossible to put into words what happens when we practice a consistent meditation for an extended period of time. The best way for me to explain it is that it feels like home. It feels like warmth. Like infinite, divine grace. Like golden light showering my entire being. In this age, however, you must experience it for yourself to know it truly.
If you’re desiring to create a Sadhana, a daily spiritual practice, but aren’t sure where to begin or what practices would best serve you, I would be honored to work with you one-on-one in a Sadhana Session. Find more information here.