Daily assignments for living the yogi’s life with Kino MacGregor.
Day 1: Cultivate a true beginner’s mind.
The longer you practice or do something the easier it becomes to get stuck in your ways. Keep your mind and heart open with the humble knowledge that, no matter how smart or experienced you are, you don’t have all the answers.
Think about how many arguments start because of what we “know” and the hard lines that our knowledge makes in our hearts. What if we learned to give people the benefit of doubt, to hear their point of view, walk a mile in their shoes? What if we learned to listen with love instead of from our past experiences?
Yogi assignment of the day is to cultivate a true beginner’s mind. Ask yourself this: what are you experienced in, that you can become a fool again? What do you know that you can unlearn and rediscover anew, with the fresh eyes of the present moment?
Day 2: Realign yourself with your true intention for getting on your mat.
Why do you practice yoga? I started yoga out of a sincere desire to live a more peaceful life and it’s still the reason I practice today.
Nearly 16 years ago I met my teachers Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson R. Sharath Jois. When I wanted to quit, they told me to be stronger, they believed in me before I ever believed in myself. As a lost girl I asked Guruji where inner peace came from. He told me that all the Shantih, the peace, that I was in search of would come after many years of practice.
Guruji, you are right—the promise of yoga is a more peaceful life and you gave me the courage and the faith to believe in myself and follow the Ashtanga path with unwavering devotion. Thank you is not enough and will never be enough. Maybe if I spend the rest of my life sharing the gifts of faith and grace that you gave me, maybe then one day that will be enough to express my gratitude.
Your yogi assignment today is to realign yourself with your true intention for getting on your mat. Share it with me in comments, write it down for yourself. If we are a team of yoga stars shining our light in the world we have to be united in intention and purpose at the level of our hearts.
We are in it for the deepest and most personal inner experience, the transformative power of knowing God directly as the quiet voice of wisdom in our hearts.
Day 3: Practice Saucha, cleanliness.
Cleanliness is a key component of the yoga lifestyle. Defined in Sanskrit as Saucha, it is included in the moral and ethical principles outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and it means the purity of mind, body and environment.
Your yogi assignment of the day is to practice saucha, cleanliness. Clean something so you and your whole world can shine even brighter. Clean your thoughts because what you think is the seed of your intention.
A great way to purify your thoughts is to watch your speech and speak only life affirming words that build up your world (which includes yourself!) with peace and love.
Or clean your body by doing your practice. Deep backbends literally clean you from the inside out. Or clean your body by eating really healthy. Do a juice fast if you feel you need a little extra cleanse or just do a mini-cleanse by eliminating one type of food (like dairy, wheat or meat) from your diet for one day as an experiment.
And last but not least, clean your world. This is maybe the easiest one because we all have something that could use a little attention. Go find that neglected closet and clean it out, clean out the fridge and pantry of old items, sweep the floor. Or to make a positive impact on the world around you outside of your home pick up a stray piece of trash on the street, do something positive for the Earth.
Day 4: Seva—acts of selfless service done in honor of love.
Yoga means more than just stretching the body—yoga is giving back to the world. Today your yogi’s assignment is Seva—acts of selfless service done in honor of love, offered to the world out of the purity of your heart with no expectation of recognition. What you do with no expectation of reward is a form of yoga.
Today go out into the world and ask where you can be of service, where a random act of kindness can make a positive difference in the world around you. Hold the door open for someone, hold the elevator, help someone carry their groceries, pay for the cup of coffee for the person behind you online. Or make it more personal and look at the people who are in your inner circle, like your life partner, children, siblings or parents, and ask yourself what you can do to serve them today. Are they stressed and could use a little massage or a hug? Is there something you could take off their plate today just to make their lives easier?
Let your whole life be a holy offering and a sacred prayer, let every breath be an act of reverence, let every action come from love. Be strong enough to be a force of healing in the world. Shine bright.
Day 5: Share your gift with the world.
There is space for you to follow your dreams. Just because someone has the same dream as you, it doesn’t mean that you won’t succeed or that you should quit trying. While it can seem like for some people, the opportunity seems to just fall in their laps while you are sitting there with the short end of the stick, that doesn’t mean the tides won’t shift in your favor one day.
I personally love rooting for the underdog, the start up with no funding, the band or actor with no agent or legacy, the no-name brand that quietly builds a following.
Starting from scratch with the odds against you and nothing but faith to drive you forward requires the unshakable faith that comes from knowing your true self deeply. Just because someone else gets to the top of the mountain first, it doesn’t mean that they will be the only one with a compelling story to tell about the journey.
You have a valuable and unique gift to share with this world. See it, believe it, be it. You are as bright and beautiful as you allow yourself to be.
Day 6: Take 10 deep breaths.
Your yoga practice will become a tool box that you can pull out anytime, like when you’re stressed, tired, upset or just generally annoyed.
Today’s yogi assignment is 10 deep breaths. At some time today pause, take stock of your current state and then close your eyes and consciously follow the breath for a slow, steady count of ten. You could count your breaths backwards or you could apply the deep resonating Ashtanga Yoga breathing. You could do this to start or end your practice, hold a difficult pose for ten deep breaths or you could pause amidst an intense situation in your life to get some mental space.
After just ten conscious breaths, open your eyes and become aware of your current situation again. Imagine if instead of arguing or reacting from the past in sticky situations in trained yourself to always take ten deep conscious breaths before acting, think about how many personal wars could have been avoided and how much more love and light there would be in the world.
Day 7: Recognize and acknowledge your biggest and wildest dream.
The first step in living the life you want is to recognize and acknowledge what your biggest and wildest dream really is. Today’s yogi assignment is all about you: I want you to dream your biggest, wildest, boldest and most beautiful dream. Do not worry for a second how it’s going to come true or think about all the obstacles in your way. Just go and write it down on a piece of paper or in a Word document, date it and save it. Don’t overthink it, feel your dream with your heart.
Give yourself permission to dream as big and grand as your spirit is bright and powerful. The more your dream scares you with its potential of success the more you know that is the one you have to write down. The more you feel like something as awesome as your dream would never happen to someone like you, the more you know that is the dream you have to live. You don’t need to share it with anyone yet (unless you want to) and it doesn’t matter if someone else is already doing what you dream of doing.
Your dream is yours and by the simple act of owning it (even if only privately) opens a whole wave of energy that will be set in motion. You will be drawn you forward, like magic, lead down the narrow road of your dreams as they manifest as the blessings of your life.
Author: Kino MacGregor
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Yanni Demelo