Hi! I'm Chloe and I work in Suneeta's Zero Waste Shop in Brixton. As part of our series of blogs on self care, I wanted to write about personal practice, which is really the consistent act of dedicating time and space just for you.
To anyone in search of a personal practice,
I truly understand how daunting implementing a personal practice can be. I understand at times how unimportant and unproductive it can seem. I understand that in our busy lives we tend to allow very little time to ourselves. More often than not, we don't even see time just for ourselves as a priority.
However, we all now have a real opportunity to dedicate some time to ourselves, and beginning a personal practice is a great way to ensure that you have this time and space just for you.
My personal practice is Yoga, but your personal practice can be anything you like, it doesn't even have to be a form or a movement. It could be a certain time of the day that you dedicate to your creativity, to your wild side, to your quiet side. You get to decide the shape that this practice takes.
Here are my tips and tricks to starting a personal practice
- Set aside a space
Tidy that space.
If your personal practice is in the morning then clean the space the night before
- Ask the people in your household to avoid disturbing you
- Light a candle, put on your favourite playlist
- Move into the practice slowly, wake up, have a coffee, don't rush into it
- Give yourself enough time, set your alarm earlier if needs be
Find your scent, essential oils can work really well. Suneeta has blends available here.
- Be grateful, side aside some time to invite feelings of gratitude for having the time to do this
Not all of these tips will work for you, it's important to remmber that this time is going to be personal just to you. I’ve just given examples of things that make it easier for myself to get onto the mat each day.
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, enjoy this time. Enjoy this stillness. Learning how to sit with ourselves is one of the most valuable things we can do.
My personal practice started with yoga, because that was where I found my quiet space. For me it was about slowing down and reconnecting with older parts of myself. For you, this could be dance, it could be working out. It can be fast, it can be slow, but know that it is yours and only yours.
I have included a little snippet of my experiences with yoga and personal practice, please remember this isn't specifically about yoga but about finding your practice and your “me time”.
A home practice is one of the most complex yet fulfilling things we can do especially in our world today. I feel like I have come full circle with this method. When starting yoga in 2016 I only practiced with a teacher. I found a small yet authentic studio in south London where I would attend 2-3 classes a week and the idea of implementing these practices at home in my cramped room somehow felt like I was doing it a disservice. In 2017 I decided to leave my London life and move to India, I had no plan, little money and big big dreams. I undertook my first training course in Kerala, South India. My amazing teacher, Padma, told us about the importance of self practice and gave us clear guidelines to work from. I still fought hard to resist. Even though I knew how to sequence a variety of class types, I still found it incredibly hard to sit with myself and allow my body to make the decisions. On Saturdays, there were no classes but we were advised to go to the shala for self practice. I didn’t attend once.
Following on from my training, I ended up moving to Goa for a short while and teaching at a local hostel. It was during this time that I began my journey into home practice. I arrived to Goa in September which is officially OFF season, meaning no travellers, only small shops open and incessant rain! This also meant intermittent wifi (actually pretty much no wifi due to power cuts). I had no way to connect with other people and no videos to follow. I rolled out my mat and began to move, often practising in the pitch black (no power, no light), I wouldn’t follow a particular structure I just breathed into whatever felt good. It was during this time of stripping back that my personal practice flourished and with that I found a place of comfort, a place I could always call home; my body.
After this I moved up to Rishikesh, I rented an apartment and once again started attending classes regularly. This is where I found Ashtanga. For those of you who aren't familiar with Ashtanga, it’s a very structured practice - you move through the same sequence every day. It’s often taught in mysore style, meaning you have no queues from a teacher, you just move with the breath and a teacher will be there to adjust you. I attended classes until I knew the sequence off by heart and then continued on my self practice journey. This period of time posed different obstacles to the ones in Goa, It was turning into winter by this point and the mornings and nights were cold. Ashtanga should be practiced before dawn, so often I was waking at 4am and starting my practice wearing five layers. My days were filled with absolute stillness. I had no classes to attend, no errands to run. I woke up, I practiced, I sat with myself. For months this went on, months om nothingness.
These were some of the most challenging months of my life, days were endless and I was so conscious of not wishing the time away. This time right now, feels very similar to back then. Although now I have a well established practice to fall back on, to guide me home, to keep me grounded and sane, that doesn’t mean that I wake up every day and hop straight to it. Some days are harder than others and I know this will be harder to sustain when we all go back to our normal lives. But I also know from experience, that this time of stillness is the most positive time to create a personal practice, to honour it and be guided by it.
Hopefully we learn to maintain this practice so when our lives are busy and back to normal again, we’ll know that it will always be there to catch us when we need it the most.
I hope this helps you.
Lots of love,
Chloe Burns, Sales and Social Media
I came across Suneeta's after returning from India in 2019, I’d had problematic skin since leaving the UK in 2017 and was desperately seeking relief. I lived locally and began buying products, within a few months my skin had completely cleared up. I I love buying zero waste products and really wanted to be part of this movement. I started working with the company in January and the experience has been so positive and wholesome. Working for a company that is 100% transparent is so refreshing. The team are wonderful and supportive and I feel so blessed to be part of it!"