Tuesday, March 13, 2018

This is Why I'm Obsessed With My Daily Routine

Why I'm Obsessed With My Daily Routine

I’ve been talking a lot about my daily routine lately. Actually, the first thing I do once I arrive at a new destination is to establish a new daily routine. I’m kind of obsessed about it, and I think you should too. Here is why.

The reason I didn't want to leave Plantation Villa

As I mentioned in my previous blog, the one reason I didn't want to leave Plantation Villa (an Ayurveda resort in Sri Lanka), was because I didn't want to have a break from my daily routine.

Why?

Because a daily routine is the yogi's best friend.

Let me explain.

A daily routine allows me to do everything that I want to do; with concentration and with regularity. Those two are key important elements to be able to progress in my yoga practice.

That's the same reason why my meditation teachers always recommend to meditate at the same time, at the same place and for the same length, everyday. This is one of the most important advice for meditation.

But this advice is not only valid for a spiritual practice. It is equally valid to make progress in any areas of our lives. Whatever we want to achieve, we need concentration and regularity.

How my routine has evolved

As a yoga practitioner I try to wake up early, and at the same time every day. That's around 4:30 am. This allows me to start my meditation practice around 5 am. Ideally, of course. I don't always manage that.

That gives me enough time to do my whole yoga practice, which includes meditation, asanas and pranayama; and end at a decent time. Around 9 am on a perfect day.

Then I can be a "normal" human being for the rest of the day. Lol.

But specially since last year, when I was teaching yoga for the first time at Angkor Zen, a yoga retreat in Cambodia, I've gotten even more obsessed with my daily routine.

My daily routine doesn't include only my yoga practice anymore. It now extends to everything that I do on my day. I try to schedule on my daily routine time for studying, reading, working out, blogging and so on.

That means that I can actually make progress in all those areas in my life, and not just dream about it.

Thanks to having a daily routine I've been able to stick to my daily one hour pranayama practice.

I've also been able to memorize the first chapter of Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The reason why I haven't been able continue with the next chapters is because of braking that routine.

What I love about teaching at yoga retreats

This is what I love about teaching yoga at a yoga retreat. Having a structured day makes it so easy to have a routine. I just need to fill the empty spaces on my schedule.

While I'm staying at a yoga retreat I don't need to worry about where to eat, when to eat or what to eat. That's taken care of for me. I can focus then on what really matters to me.

Also one thing that I like about having a teaching schedule is that it also helps me to stick to my daily routine. I love teaching hatha yoga at 6:30 am. It forces me to wake up early enough so that I can do my meditation practice before class.

After my classes are over then I'm good to continue tackling my day, doing everything else I love to do.

During my stay at Plantation Villa I was being very productive. I had a really good routine. I was using every single moment of my day to do everything I needed to do. I achieved so much in just two months.

I was supposed to stay there for six months though. Had I maintained that routine for that long and I could have achieved a lot more during that time.

Unfortunately I had to leave earlier since I felt they were not really valuing my skills as a yoga teacher.

I hit the road again

I left Plantation Villa on the 1st of February, and I had a flight to Phnom Penh for the 27th of February.

So I had a bit less than a month in Sri Lanka before going back to Cambodia, to teach yoga once more at Angkor Zen.

I didn't want to do any traveling in that time. I just wanted to establish a new routine as soon as I could.

My intention before leaving Plantation Villa was to find a good place somewhere in the south of Sri Lanka, at the beach.

I wanted to use that time mainly to focus on my yoga practice, on my blog and to spend a few hours surfing every day. February is right on the season in the South, so the surf is normally good at that time.

By the way, surfing for me is not just about having fun. I actually consider surfing part of my mental and physical training. My body feels so good after surfing for a few weeks. Having fun is an added bonus.

Besides, what can be better than practicing a sport outdoor, in nature, with beautiful sunrises or sunsets, while having fun at the same time?

After surf sunset in Midigama beach
After surf sunset in Midigama, Sri Lanka

Not just a pleasure trip

But I also needed to go to Arugam Bay, on the East coast.

To be honest I didn't want to go to the East coast at this time. February is the off season on this side of Sri Lanka. The season starts in June.

I was afraid that it would be raining all the time. I was also not sure if there would be places open where to eat, or if there were any waves to surf.

But this was not really a pleasure trip. This trip was quite different.

I had contacted by email the owner of a resort in Arugam Bay to plan a surf and yoga week for this coming season.

Her response was very positive. After a few email exchanges I decided to go to Arugam Bay to see the resort with my own eyes.

I wanted to check if the accommodation was at the standard that I would like to offer to my guests. I also wanted to make sure we would have a good place to practice yoga.

However since the night bus trip to Arugam Bay was quite long I decided to stay first in Unawatuna, on the South, for a couple of nights. I needed to recover my sleep. I had such a poor sleep at that Ayurveda resort.

After a couple of days in Unawatuna I made my way to Arugam Bay.

I met with the manager of the resort, Thahir, as soon as I arrived. He showed me around the resort and we discussed a few things I needed to know for the retreat.


I really liked the place. I actually slept there for one night. I thought that it was indeed a great place to host this surf and yoga week, so I contacted the owner to make a final agreement.

A few days later I started the promotion of this retreat. I wrote an article in my blog which I shared on my social media and to my email subscribers: 8 Days Surf and Yoga Retreat in Arugam Bay, June 2018

Meeting up with old and new friends

I tried to stablished a new routine as soon as I arrived in A-Bay. I didn't know for how long I was going to stay though. The weather was perfect, so I was considering staying till the end of my trip and skip the South.

Since it was off season I was able to find a nice cheap room right in front of the beach. It was very basic (still better than my room at Plantation Villa, lol) but I had everything I needed.

The one thing that I was missing though, were good waves to surf. I thought that perhaps it would get better after a few days.

Meanwhile I met a super nice friend, Marieke. Last minute she invited me for a little trip to Ella and to Adam's Peak. After so many times in Sri Lanka I had still not seen those places, which are some the country's highlights.

I was not planning to travel at all in Sri Lanka, but I decided not to miss that opportunity. Anyway I was supposed to be back the next day.

spontaneous trip in Sri Lanka

I came back three days later to Arugam Bay. It was such an awesome trip. One of those trips when you are truly spontaneous, from beginning till end.

A few days later my two friends, Johanna and Andrea, arrived to Arugam Bay. I was really happy to see them and to hang out with them.



Although there were hardly any waves we did try surfing a couple of times.


Since both of them are also yoga teachers I asked them to help me a bit with the promotion of the surf and yoga retreat. They visited the resort with me so that I could shoot some photos and videos for the promotion.

That was so fun. I made a nice short video (45 sec long) which I shared on my Facebook page: A Week of Surf and Yoga (thanks for giving it a like and for sharing it with your friends).

A few days ago I also published a vlog on my YouTube channel. I share in it a bit of my journey from Unawatuna to Arugam Bay, and I walk you around the small resort where I will host the retreat in June.



I made my way to the South

But although the weather was perfect and the beach was so nice and quiet, there were no waves to go surfing.

So after about ten days in Arugam Bay I decided to make my way to the South, hoping to find a good place where to settle. Johanna and Andrea continued their journey to Ella and Kandy.

I ended up in Midigama.

I arrived late at night so I stayed at the first guesthouse I could find. The next day I spend the whole day searching for the right guesthouse.

Oh yes, I did find it.

It was perfect. I had a nice small cosy room, with a little "yoga hall." I even had my own terrace. There was also a small common dinning table on the garden. It became my office. Lol.

The owner was super friendly. He makes the best fish rice and curry ever, and the nearest surf break was only about 15 min walking.

I couldn't have asked for more.

I had never been in Midigama before but now I love it. It's a small beach, not touristy, cheap and chilled.

This is exactly what I was looking for from the beginning. I could finally establish a good routine for myself. But now I had only about nine days left in Sri Lanka.

After a couple of days Johanna also made her way down to Midigama. It was so nice to catch up again. We managed to go surfing a few times.



What I hate about traveling

As you can imagine with all this traveling, moving from one place to the next, and hanging out with friends, I couldn't really establish a good routine anymore.

Well, I did manage to do some of the things I wanted to do.

I was able to organize and start promoting my surf and yoga retreat. That was my top priority for February.

I was also able to continue updating my blog. I managed to publish three blog posts, although I wanted to publish four.

But I was definitely not as productive as when I was at Plantation Villa. I was not able to read any books anymore, and I didn't study yoga sutras at all. I even had to wait till March to publish my second vlog!

This is what I hate about traveling.

Traveling gets on the way of my routine. It always takes me a few days after traveling to find the right place where to stay, and to establish a new routine.

This is the reason why I usually keep coming back to the same places when I travel.

It is not that I don't want to see something new, or that I don't want to step out of my comfort zone. I simply don't want to waste any time finding the right place. I rather establish a new routine right away.

When I come back to familiar places I can get going in almost no time.

This is also why I like to stay for long time wherever I go. I like to make myself at home and get going doing what I love. That's why I don't call myself a traveler but rather a nomad.

But of course, I do love traveling. Who wouldn't? If you ever feel physically or mentally ill, just go traveling. It's the best medicine. Trust me.

So I'm not really complaining. Traveling is actually part of my lifestyle. I am very grateful that I have been able to live this life for so many years. And the world is so big. So many places to discover still.

Being spontaneous or having a routine?

But I don't need to travel to brake the monotony, or to escape the routine.

In my opinion, you can only feel this way if your daily routine doesn't include doing the things that you love to do. Why would you like to take any breaks from doing what you love?

You see, when you schedule in your day all the things that you want to do, and that you love to do, you are going to feel absolutely happy on a daily basis.

Why?

Because you'll feel joyful simply to know that you are doing what you love to do. But also because by having a routine you can be more focused on what you do.

That means that you can enjoy every moment even more, even if you do the same things every day.

And since you'll be working with concentration and regularity, you can also have a deep sense of gratitude and success when noticing the progress that you are making.

In other words, if you want to make progress on the activities that you love, then having a routine can be your best friend.

Break the routine not because you need to

But of course we do want to welcome the gifts that life sends our way. We can always be spontaneous.

One of the good things about having a strict daily routine is to be able to break it, from time to time.

That's the moment when you can do something completely different, being adventurous, allowing magic moments to take place.

This is why I didn't hesitate to do that trip to Ella (actually I did, but just for a little while) or to hang out with my friends in Arugam Bay. I had such a good time and now I have so many good memories from those few days.

Having those spontaneous moments can make you feel so alive and present. You can experience such a sense of gratitude and joy when traveling and meeting old and new friends.

But the point is, if you already have a good daily routine, you don't need to break it to feel alive or present. Since you already feel great there is no need to escape the monotony.

You'll brake the routine simply because you want to and not because you need to. You will actually think about it twice before braking your routine.

What about you?

I hope this story will inspire you to establish a daily routine for yourself, if you don't have one yet.

Think of what you would like to achieve in the next few months. Then establish a routine where you can focus on those things, with regularity, and for a specific length of time.

Make sure you include in your routine physical exercise, down time, having fun and time to be social. Keep it balanced. I can assure you that in no time you'll be as obsessed as I am. Lol.

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