A habit is a routine behavior, something that is repeated regularly, and oftentimes unconsciously. Many moments of our day are habitual and don’t require much thought. Yet, if we broke it all down, we’d realize in some form those things make us feel good, bring us comfort, or support us in our daily activities. Simple tasks, like brushing our teeth, tying our shoes, or grabbing our keys before we head out the door. Habits can be a wonderful support system to our busy lives, especially if we take the time to recognize the positive feelings they generate.
A ritual, on the other hand, is a symbolic gesture or ceremony that allows us to be present throughout an event by embodying our intention. We can establish a habit of creating and performing our own movement rituals, which can help clear the mind and support the body.
Movement comes in many forms—from yoga to kickboxing to Zumba. So first, think about why you are moving. For example, is it to feel better, create more energy, or release stress? Second, how can you create the space in your mind to be fully present in that moment? And lastly, how can you acknowledge and celebrate those moments of movement and loving attention you give the body that carries you through life?
Create rituals around movement to bring more meaning and presence to your exercise experience. Choose a specific way to ritualize your movement practice that acknowledges the work—your body is a great place to start.
- Create sacred space. Set up a physical space in your home or gym prior to your movement practice that feels welcoming. Clean the area, light a candle, display flowers. Make your surroundings as pleasing as possible by being near a window or a nicely painted wall.
- Set your mind on an intention and breathe. Ask yourself what and why have you chosen to move for today. Now, seal your answer into your body. You may choose to be seated or standing and, if it feels right to you, bring your hands to your heart to prayer, or pressed solidly on the ground. With your answer in mind, consciously breathe for at least a minute.
- Revisit your intention. Once you’ve completed your movement practice, come back to your sacred space. Recall your intention, even if you didn’t think of it while exercising, and finish by acknowledging three things you are grateful for in your movement, your body or your life as a whole.