Read one line in a book (The End of Illness - Dr. David B. Agur) on the airplane to India that totally changed my perspective on an issue I'd been struggling with for a long time.
"Life needn't be monotonous and boring, but when it's rhythmic and imbued with predictability the body responds positively"
Not sure why this line caught my attention so, perhaps because I had so many negative assoications with the word routine. Connotations of boredom, lack of creativity, and spontaneity. On the other hand, I had also been noticing how my random schedule was draining my reserves, leaving no energy for creation. Practice was becoming a chore I had to cram into my schedule somewhere. Working late, eating late. Waking, practising, and feeding at random times. Energy levels, circadian rhythms, gone haywire. Relying on coffee and sugar for energy when ebbing low.
When I started a regular daily asana practice I was in a regular 9-5 job. Practising everyday came easily with such routine, yet my job was so mundane and slow it was eating away at my spirit. Now I love all my little jobs. I have a lovely collection of work, I'm happy to be doing. But it is random.
Rhythmic days on the other hand sound beautiful, like music, or the sound of waves. Like a pattern that is fun to follow. In India I always fall into a very predictable rhythm, and feel great for it. Early morning practice, regular meals, early nights and an abundance of energy.There is still room for spontaneity in between the rhythm markers. Of course, it helps that there is no work to get in the way.
Now, the challenge, was to bring this sense of rhythm, that my body and mind appreciates so deeply, to my erratic life back home.
I sat down, looked at my seemingly chaotic schedule and carved out a routine. Set a wake up time I could keep everyday, while getting just enough sleep and having time to practice before a breakfast time I could also, more or less, stick to everyday.
It's not just a daily practice that is key to Ashtanga yoga, but a daily rhythm which starts off with some sacred space. It's nothing new, but I'd let this slip in the craziness of self-employment.
The first week was tough, a combination of getting back to work after a month off, and breaking old habits. With new determination I stuck to my simple rules of times to wake-up, practice, eat, and sleep.
Finished the third week now. It hasn't been easy. But I am sticking with it. It is working wonders. It feels great. Settled. Simple. Loving it.