fitness · habits

More on movement rituals

For those of us who observe various forms of the Christian calendar, today is Easter Sunday. I’m a church lady, so the week of Easter is always busy for me every year. I buy pita and baba ganoush and lamejuns (Armenian sort-of pizzas; a recipe is here) and all kinds of yummy foods for my church’s Maundy Thursday dinner; I live around the corner from a great Armenian bakery and food store, so it is my happy errand to do.

Then comes Good Friday service, and on Saturday I help with brass and silver polishing in the morning, followed by helping get the church set up with lilies for Easter Vigil that evening. I rush home, then rush back for the service that evening. We have a little reception with bubbly beverages and nibblies, then I go home after 9pm.

Sunday morning is the main event, with a full court press of children in pastels running around, lots of sweets at the festive coffee hour, and the church filled with sights and sounds and folks I haven’t seen since Christmas. It’s one of my yearly rituals.

You can tell from my story that I like rituals. They are comfortable– familiar and predictable and soothing. Okay, maybe they can get monotonous, but I don’t usually mind monotony (at least in this context). There is also evidence that rituals (religious, personal, etc.) can provide provide us with feelings of more self-control over our behaviors.

Feelings of more self-control over our behaviors… Doesn’t that sound great?

This spring has been more than usually hectic for me– I took on an extra course for teaching, I’m serving on my university’s tenure committee, and recently became one of the wardens (yes, that’s the term) of my church. This is, in short:

too much. way too much.

I’ve noticed that, as my workload has increased and my stress level along with it, I’ve turned to some rituals in my movement. I do a gentle or restorative yoga ritual (well, youtube video, but ritual sounds nicer) every evening before bed. I make sure to move and walk and seek out stairs in my day.

I’ve also paid attention to a couple rituals for self-care lately. I have been turning off the light in my bedroom by 11:30pm. I have made time for a quiet coffee in the morning, even when I’ve faced a very long day. That’s what I’ve been managing.

The ritual of Easter weekend is almost over. I like immersing myself in it, but I don’t mind when it’s over. The rituals I engage in every day and every week (movement-wise, spirituality-wise, self-care-wise), support me day in and day out. I’d like to develop a few more.

Dear readers, what are your rituals or special habits that are soothing, or grounding, or motivating, or pleasing? Movement, self-care, whatever– we’d love to hear from you.

Movement Ritual

2 thoughts on “More on movement rituals

  1. First of all I must say that yours was one of the first blogs I occasionally read when I joined WordPress. The title really resonates with me. It did then, but now that self care and fitness are two major themes in my own #yearoftransformation chronicles I realize both the complexity and irony of looking at the word ‘fit’ in general and from a feminist perspective.

    So my comment relative to this topic is that I too love rituals: Christian, cultural, regional, stage of life, time of day 😊…. (I could go on). As someone raised Catholic turned Method, the cycles of the year and of the week and even a specific type of service are all comforting to me. Even life in higher ed with all its challenges have a comforting rhythmic flow: the back to school rush and optimism, the push of midterm grades, the renewed focus of pushing towards finals, the near despair of SOS emails and “Hail Mary” office visits (ok, this ritual is not comforting at all😟) and the sheer relief and satisfaction of posting that last set of grades….

    In closing, my favorite ritual is my morning routine which is about 10 years old. While I have updated it this year to reflect my renewed focus on health and wellness, it is only reason that I am even slightly productive during the work day.
    I’m a morning person, so I feel a special sense of purpose at the items that are done before 10 am. So I get up and brush my teeth and pour a glass of water (some days hot, sometimes cold. Next I light a candle (if time allows) then I have a 10 min meditation sequence I complete 3 times a week. Then I read 1-2 short devotions using the Bible app (😍 love this!). I then journal 5-7 min. Next I read my mantras (affirmations) and then I create my daily “to do” list and highlight the real priorities.
    I use a 3 by5 index cards so I don’t keep to try to do TOO MUCH!

  2. I try to walk on the beach at sunset at least twice a week; my most grounding/spiritually rewarding ritual is attending 5Rhythm dance classes every week- there is an ‘altar’, & I set an intention as I stand before it. It’s like a kick arse moving meditation practice 💃🏻

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