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Ritual & Routine, what's the difference?

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

As some of you may have seen, I have been playing along this week on IG with Rachel Ellen Yoga's #ritualreboot

It's basically a seven day challenge, where you give yourself three small self-care tasks to complete each day, and three perhaps longer ones to check off at some point during the week. Providing a little push to hold yourself accountable to the 'non-negotiables' - the little actions or rituals that we KNOW make us feel better once we do them, but somehow we don't make the time for.


This led me to start thinking about why it is we accept some things as a rule (eg. brushing your teeth) and others we just can't seem to make space for, even though we know it's going to improve our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing?


What's stopping us?


We brush our teeth every day, because we know it's good for us and we need to do it, or our teeth will fall out. So why is it so different with our movement practice / meditation / journalling / walks / nature time / 'insert preferred self-care method here'?

Is it perhaps because we get the tooth brushing drilled into us from an early age by a parent? Similarly to how we have studying hard and making achievements drilled into us which then translates into how we work in our jobs? ?


Where was the drilling about resting? About taking a moment to breathe? About spending time in nature just observing? About not everything you do needing to be for a tangible end result?

It certainly wasn't present for me. It's just not a huge priority in our Western fast results and productivity driven culture. Which is just nuts when you look at the rates of suicide, and the rise in anxiety, depression and general mental health. A couple of teeth falling out doesn't sound so bad anymore hey?


Thankfully this seems to be shifting. Maybe it's the circles I move in and what I expose myself to on social media that makes me think this, but there seems to have been a noticeable shift in not only transparency and openness about our own individual mental health struggles, but in people taking up yoga, meditations, pranayama, and other therapies. And of course this past year, vast amounts of people (myself included) have begun recognising the importance of rest, of stopping to smell the flowers, pressing the pause button.


Start small


I'll share with you what I sent to one of my students when we first started our one-to-one sessions. Grief, a stressful job, and two small kidlets had left her feeling like it was all getting too much. I provided these suggestions in addition to our weekly class. These are based around the idea of the 3 minute self-care rituals I've been sharing on my IG with my #ritualreboot list each day.

  • 3 minutes of four count breathing every morning BEFORE reaching for the phone (it's harder than it sounds, trust me I know!) this could be accompanied by a little seated cat cow on the bed

  • 3 minutes of pausing to ENJOY your tea / chosen hot drink of the day. watch the steam swirl, hug the hot mug - meditation doesn't always require a yoga mat and 30 minutes of silence!

  • 3 minutes to pause and take a breath in the middle of the day when things got stressful, either returning to the four count breath or bhramari 'bee's breath'. I've included two of my 15 minute meditation classes in your secret subscribers page. We explore breath techniques here for those moments of overwhelm.

  • 3 minutes added to your face washing time before bed. Make it a little ritual in itself, 3 extra minutes to treat yourself, exfoliate, moisturise, a little jaw and brow massage, whatever feels nice.

  • Movement that gives you JOY. Granted this probably takes a little more time than 3 minutes (although a 3 minute wiggle is better than nothing) but I wanted to emphasise the joyfulness in it. It doesn't need to be another thing we feel like we need to tick off the list like brushing our teeth.

My student tested them out, we build on what works and what is achievable. Our weekly sessions are great, but it's the little daily rituals that make the impact, and the empowerment of being able to self soothe a little without going to a class. Have a play with your own 3 minute rituals. It doesn't need to be everyday - and there certainly doesn't need to be any guilt around not fitting it in somedays. You might be surprised how much of a difference these little pockets of time for yourself make to your overall wellbeing.


You can read a little more on why a home practice has also been revolutionary from my own experience here....



Need a little kickstart to your ritual routine?


I'm launching a 'Move into May' giveaway over on IG this weekend, to provide that gentle nudge to set up your home practice space, and kickstart your self-care routine. These are some of the exciting gifts you could receive (on top of your 14 days of free yoga):

1st draw: 1 x eco yoga mat, 2 x cork yoga blocks, 1 x strap, 1 x eye pillow, 2 x private classes

2nd draw: 2 x cork yoga blocks, 1 x strap, 1 x eye cushion, 1 x private class

Aus draw: (for all my yogis down under!) 2 x bespoke essential oil roll ons, mat spray, bath salts 1 x private class


Sound good? Here's how to enter:


  1. Follow Rachel Harvey Yoga on instagram @rach_double_h (don't stress about this step if you don't have an account)

  2. Sign up for a free 14 day trial with the platform here between Saturday 1st May and Saturday 8th May for unlimited access to over 50 yoga and meditation classes, and the opportunity to join live Zoom classes

  3. Look out for the competition post and tag as many yoga buddies as you like. Alternatively, share this blog post or your mail-out (landing Saturday - subscribe here if you're not already signed up) - one tag or forward counts for one entry!

  4. Once you've signed up and begun practicing, share your home yoga space and tag @rach_double_h with the hastag #yogaathome


Hope to see you on the mat!


Always here if you'd like to reach out, yoga or no yoga. Take care,


Rachel x x



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