As we begin to act on our new year’s resolutions and make changes in our lives, I want to send you a little inspiration in this new year.
Before I moved to Thailand almost 18 years ago to be a full-time Universal Healing Tao teacher, I worked as a flight attendant and lived in Europe. Even from the first time that I read a book by Master Chia, I knew this was a practice that I wanted to commit to and advance in. But, life isn’t always so easy that you have all the time and the physical and emotional stamina to continue on regularly practicing and advancing.
If you hope to make a resolution to become a healthier, happier, more spiritual being through the Taoist practices, I have some tips for you to make these changes in your everyday life in a way that will be long-lasting and allow you to grow.
1. Make small changes and transition slowly – Start small with your goals by identifying a few practices you’d like to first focus on and then slowly incorporate each of these practices into your lifestyle. When we attempt to make drastic changes in our life, we can end up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged if we’re not able to continue with our commitment. Celebrate yourself when you’re able to stick to a routine and don’t get down on yourself if you miss a practice. With this positive and loving attitude, you are more likely to be successful and committed long term.
2. A simple regular morning exercise routine – Begin each day with at least a basic morning routine, whether it be five simple stretches for 10 minutes or an hour-long morning Chi Kung session. You’ll feel more accomplished and stronger if you take at least a little time for yourself in the morning to loosen the stiffness in the body, get the blood flowing and bring energy to your Tan Tien. Watch this video of a short morning exercise routine.
3. The Inner smile can be done anywhere – The Inner Smile is one of the easiest practices to do daily because it can take as little as three minutes and it can be done anywhere – on your commute, at your office desk or during your break from work. Just remind yourself during your day to take time for internal reflection and to cultivate all of your positive virtues. Watch this video of the Inner Smile.
4. Get good sleep! – Did you know that humans on average spend 35% of their life asleep? The quality of those hours spent asleep greatly impacts the quality of our waking life and our emotional and physical well-being. Taking 10 minutes before you go to bed to do a few spinal stretches and the Six Healing Sounds meditation can allow you to sleep more soundly and be well-rested. To begin to adjust to an evening practice, try setting an ongoing alarm reminder on your phone for the ideal time that you’d like to start your evening routine every night. When the alarm goes off, make it a priority to “shut off” and begin your routine. Watch this video of the Six Healing Sounds and see the video below of 3 exercises for a good night sleep.
5. Create a schedule – It’s healthy to have some sort of schedule and order in our lives. Instead of intending to practice all the exercises every single day, we can plan some Tao practices for the daily routine and then make a weekly schedule to practice deeper meditations or taoist exercises, like the healing love exercises (female healing or men’s health) or Fusion practices, on one or two days each week (or more if you can). Try to plan at least one day every week where you focus on a deeper meditation that you usually have trouble making time for.
6. Journal your experience – Keep a journal and write down how you feel each day and the practices you were able to accomplish. By doing this, you’re tuning into your emotions and connecting your mental brain with your physical state. As you progress in your practice and develop a routine that allows you to grow in the Tao, you can see through your journal the changes you’ve made, spiritually and physically, and reward yourself for your growth. Eventually little habits and changes in your lifestyle become bigger and more permanent, and with a journal documenting your experience, you’ll be able to clearly see how far you’ve come.
If you have questions about a Tao routine that’s best for you or need support while you make these changes in your life, you can always reach out to me.
I wish you the best in 2016 – may it be healthy, happy and bright! And I hope you’ll join me for one of my upcoming workshops in Europe March – May or at one of my retreats at the Tao Garden in May – June. You can find more information and dates for those courses here.