Fate or Destiny?

"What is sadhana? It's a committed prayer. It is something which you want to do, have to do, and which is being done by you... Sadhana is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best." - Yogi Bhajan

A student recently asked me after class, "Are you always like this?" We were both bright-eyed and glowing from practice. A generous question to be sure, as if this was possible. Who is always this way?

Like anyone else, I often wake resembling the grocery scale that has been used all day so that even when empty it points to 7 oz. Over time I have refined my morning routine to recalibrate me so that by the end of my practice I point directly into the new heart of the day ahead.

Yogi Bhajan taught that our morning practice, our daily sadhana, sets the course of our day. FATE is when we let the time and space around us dictate our day. All we can do is react. DESTINY is when we take the time to listen deeply to the work we feel called to do, the work that results in growth and light. It may be risky or unusual, but it rewards us.

"Develop a regular sadhana and you take control of your life. Develop a deep sadhana and you open the doors of experience. Commit to meet your higher Self each morning and your decisions and your life become original; your life will bear the signature of your soul; your radiance will express the meaningful intimacy of the Infinite in each moment. Immerse yourself in the joy of victory that comes from starting each day with a powerful sadhana and every challenge becomes an opportunity." - Sadhana Guidelines

I have designed my morning practice to clear the cobwebs of the night and leave me feeling bolstered and directed. By the end of practicing, I am more perceptive as to what to do and what to leave out. 

So what to do? How to design a morning that launches you instead of coasting into the current?

Hal Elrod interviewed 50 leaders in their fields and asked about their morning routines. In his book The Miracle Morning, he lists key patterns he found in the acronym S.A.V.E.R.S.:

Silence - there is a healing power to sitting in silence. This can be guided as meditation or simply taking the time to be quiet and still. A game-changer to be sure.
Affirmation - In yogic traditions a mantra is a word or phrase repeated and patterned into our thoughts breaking through the chatter of our everyday minds. Elrod suggests a simple statement that would support you through the day. Write it out. Take it with you. Breathe it in.
Vision - Similar to the affirmation, but waking our imagination more fully. Envisioning peak moments in our day in full detail helps to generate the details in our decisions that make it more likely to come true. Even the exercise of what to envision is a great first step.
Exercise - get moving! Increased circulation, deeper breathing, improved mobility and posture, exercise strengthens our bodies and our wills. Described as a little Ritalin, a little Prozac, and a little viagra all in one, exercise is the basic pharmacy where we can create hormonal and neurological balance. Get your sweat on.
Read - Study. Inform yourself. Learn something new. Inspire yourself. Expand what's familiar. A great habit that makes life rich and interesting.
Scribe - Writing as reflection, as a means of seeing your thoughts, as a way of sifting the keepers from the noise. You may journal, follow a stream of consciousness, or simply put pen to paper as you list out your to do list, but listen to your own words and what they have to tell you.

Perhaps your version of a morning practice is 1 of these, or 3 or all of them. Perhaps your exercise is a walk with your dog, or yoga, or biking to work. I offer this list not as instructions, but as inspiration. 

I finish my morning feeling as through I have charted my course and have a purposed direction. This gives me a sense of strength and adaptability for what the day may bring. Add what you like, add what serves you. Add what you are hungry for. This is entirely your time. Even 6 minutes of focus can be nourishing. Once you establish a routine you can change it, add to it, change the reading, the moving, the writing. But you will have a place to hold what you most want to be a part of your day. This is powerful.

Take a moment now, make a note of what you could add to your morning from the SAVERS list. Give it a try. Let me know how it goes. I wish you all the best as you start out your day.
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Support for a daily morning practice is why I made the online versions of our monthly kundalini sequences. In your bedroom or away from home. Use them. 20 minutes can make such a difference!! Subscribe online at app.namastream.com/marthamcalpine