Yoga instructors interested in incorporating elements of ritual and mindfulness into their practice may look to Celebrants — those certified to lead non-demonitational ceremeonies — in their communities for ideas. Here are five possibilities to get your creativity flowing:
Use a chime to enhance the sound vibrations in your studio. There are many frequencies to choose from, each having unique qualities and benefits. 528Hz is called the “Love Frequency” as declared by Dr. Leonard Horowitz, and is a great choice for overall wellbeing. Students can ring the chime as they enter the room; instructors can ring the chime before, during, or after class. A good idea is to get a chime large enough to create the sound reverberations that are so pleasing to hear. A plant stand purchased at a gardening store provides a good stand for your chime.
CREATE A SACRED YOGA MAT RITUAL
Try starting class in a standing position off the mat. Take the opportunity to acknowledge what your mat looks like at that moment. At the same time, acknowledge how you are showing up to your mat. Now take a step onto the mat and begin to move. Typically, instructors enter the practice room to find most everyone on their mat, getting started with stretches, chatting to friends, or being silent before class. A variation on the opening of class may be a welcomed change.
“Remember your intention.” Important words we hear in nearly every class. Give each yogi a small round LED candle to light as a symbol of their intention. The room will also look very pretty.
SEAL YOUR PRACTICE WITH A CONNECTING RITUAL
If your class is small and you have extra time, try a “Red Thread” circle. The “Red Thread” is found in traditions worldwide, and is rooted in the ideas of connection. You’ll need a scissors and ball of red string or yarn long enough to be passed around the circle. Each participant in your class will leave with a strand of red thread or yarn as a symbol of the connections made during that circle. There are YouTube demonstrations of the “Red Thread,” and Celebrants in your area may have other ideas you can draw inspiration from.
How about handing out a treat as your yogis leave the studio? Choose something in a chakra color or tie it to the theme of your class. Oranges are a bright and refreshing treat on any day. You may also point out to your yogis that an orange is made up of segments that are bonded together to make a whole, much like society.
Pick one element to try at a time. Have fun creating rituals that resonate with your teaching style and your students. Open a dialog with your students and find out which rituals they love and why.
Jennie Landau is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® and yoga instructor living in Orlando, Florida. She can be reached at FreeBirdCeremonies.com. Celebrant Foundation & Institute – fall courses begin 9/25 and free open house webinars at celebrantinstitute.org.