Lesson From India - Create Routine to increase serenity

When I registered for the 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program at The Krishnamacharya Yoga School (KYM) in Chennai in 2017, I didn't realize just how much I'd learn. Since I had already completed 200 hours of training in the US and had been teaching for 9 years at that point, I thought I had a good understanding of yoga. Turns out I had a good understanding of āsana, but a very limited understanding of everything else yoga has to offer.

One thing I learned that has been key to cultivating Serenity in my busy life as a wife, mom, business owner, and yoga teacher, is the importance of developing a routine. I know that "routine" may sound impractical to many people, but I invite you to be open-minded and hear me out.

Yoga and Ayurveda (the Indian system of health and healing) teach about the importance of eating and sleeping at fixed times each day. Can you imagine my confusion when I was filling out the New Student paperwork at KYM and it asked if my meals, sleep, and bowel functions were "regular". What they meant was, are they on a regular schedule. Hmm, why would this be such a priority that they'd put it on their intake form?

Well, it turns out that our bodies function best with routine. If we can manage to develop a consistent sleep schedule, our quality of sleep improves, our health improves, and even our appearance improves. If we eat on a consistent schedule, our digestive system regulates and knows when to expect food and when to rest. We avoid getting hangry. We begin to understand our body better and we get a better feel for how much food it needs.

The same goes for all of our daily responsibilities. If we have a fixed time for all our regular tasks, we greatly reduce our stress and experience more Serenity.

I encourage you to sit down with your calendar and spend half an hour brainstorming and organizing your weekly schedule. You can start with baby steps - make a sleep routine and start putting it into practice. When you feel ready for the  next step, make a meals routine and start putting that into practice. Once you get the hang of those, you can start organizing more of your daily and weekly responsibilities into your routine.

As your daily habits become more routine, your body and mind are less stressed, and you'll begin to experience more Serenity.

I'd love to hear what you think about this idea, and how this exercise goes for you! If you have a minute, please shoot me a note and let me know how it goes.

All the best,

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P.S. This weekend is the start of my 4-week series, Yoga for Fibromyalgia. I'll be teaching gentle yoga postures and breathing techniques designed to calm the nervous system and reduce pain and the symptoms of Fibro. Please share this with a friend or loved one who may be interested.

Coffee Shop

Today I hung out at a coffee shop by myself for a few hours so I could work on a big assignment. I'm documenting 50+ asana sequences in great detail and I can either turn it in tomorrow on the last day of classes or I can mail it in within the next 30 days or so - I can't remember the exact due date at the moment.

Anyway, if you know me, you know I always like to do my very best, especially on things like this, and doing your very best takes time, so I'm probably going to end up mailing the book in after I get home. Anyway, the coffee shop.

I'd been by this coffee shop on the second floor of a corner building near my apartment a few times over the past week. From the street, it looked spacious and clean, so I'd been wanting to check it out. I even looked it up online to get a better feel before actually venturing to go there.

An auto driver dropped me off and I climbed the stairs up to the second floor (which incidentally, is known as the 1st floor in India), and the place looked great. Tables and chairs, coffee and tea, lots of interesting sandwiches and even some baked goods.

I sat and worked for about 3 hours with only a handful of other customers coming in during that time. It was quiet and I got a lot done.

When it was time to leave, I thought I'd better visit the restroom because I had several errands to run on the way home. And that's when I realized that public restrooms in India always give me a little bit of anxiety. The thing is, you never know what to expect.

I'm pretty tolerant and resilient, but sometimes I've had to walk out of restrooms without using them because I just couldn't deal. Like if it's a squat toilet (aka as a wet toilet) and I'm wearing some kind of clothes that I can't figure out how to keep off the floor and dry, or if there's nowhere to put my purse or bags. Maybe TMI, but I think these kind of cultural experiences are interesting.

But this restroom was relatively very good! It had a western-style toilet, toilet paper (this is a big deal), a clean sink, soap (also a big deal), and even a mirror. Bonus points that they even had a checklist and schedule posted for cleaning.

I'll definitely come hang out at this coffee shop again when I come back in October. I hope it's still open then. They need to figure out how to draw more traffic.