Take a Breath for Life
21 Day “Daily Discipline” Program
Using will and support to develop a regular discipline.
Will- (def.) ‘mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring, or intending.’
Discipline- (def.) ‘training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.’
Thought… Word… Deed!
Thought- Is your intention, inspired by your developing Take a Breath practice.
Word- Is your personal self, mind, and faculty expressing this truth to the external world. You will be communicating this intention to another.
Deed- Is the action you carry out, based on the aforementioned. The action becomes empowered, an action performed as your unique expression of growth.
This transformational practice begins a process of integrity, and authenticity beyond the conditioned mind (from others, our culture, even our past inaction/loss of integrity). It begins to create a pattern which will influence all actions, all ways of being in the world.
The practice consists of a 3-day rotation of the expressions of Body, Mind, and Self. You then repeat the 3-day rotation 7 times to reach 21days. If you are more comfortable with just one of the 3 practice choices (either exercise, meditation, or walking), you may use that choice for the entire 21 days.
Day 1 – BODY – an exercise practice, or breathing practice, or a combination of both.
Day 2 – MIND – a meditation/contemplation practice. This could be a formal meditation, it could be a Take a Breath recording, or another form of meditation/focus/mindfulness.
Day 3 – SELF – a walk/hike time spent, outdoors, in silence. The walk/hike time is a surrender practice, unguided, even perhaps wandering. Not a goal- oriented hike, or fitness practice.
Note: The 3 practices offered above are simply suggestions. You could replace any of these with a common event, task, chore, etc. For example, you could do the dishes as a practice, or, play with a small child, walk the dog, clean the garage, you get the idea. These examples simply show you how to integrate it into your life, so you can be successful. The key is the intention. You recognize whatever you are doing as your Take a Breath Yoga for Life as separate from your regular day and life, that it is an act full of attention, and awareness.
The foundation of this practice is, in fact, your desire to connect to your deeper self, beyond your reactive patterned mind. We create unique space for each daily experience. We do this with by beginning the practice with a pause, a reflection, a deep questioning;
“Who/What is this practice for?” me, my relationships, my work, my world, etc., something larger than a mental agenda, or goal.
“ How can this practice help me_____?” relax, create, get through something, heal, etc.
Each practice begins and ends with this questioning, reflection and reverence. You will notice the type and quality of reflection may change, maybe you revise your question for yourself. It is OK if it evolves. From day to day, it may change, even from the beginning to end of your 21- day practice.
How long should the practice be? Make this work for you. It can begin as just a few minutes, eventually working up to 25 minutes. The idea is to make it work for you in the beginning, make it consistent. So even a few minutes done regularly is more valuable than a larger amount that you cannot complete. There is something about 25 minutes in length. It is an amount of time, for most of us, in which we reach a transition point. A deepening happens, a settling, similar to a runner reaching a second wind. For some, it can come sooner, or later, but in general, the 25 minutes is a common experience. Feel it out for yourself.
Each practice time can go longer than 25 minutes but must maintain the by beginning and ending with the questioning, reflection and reverence. It can be done in company with others (like a yoga class, or with another meditator, hiker), yet must maintain the silence and internal focus. THIS IS YOUR TIME WITH YOUR SELF.
The practice is supported during the development of discipline via the will. We will use our peers to help us. Choosing a ‘supporter’ carefully is an important component of this program. Choose someone who you feel can be an objective supporter of your process.
For the first 7 day period- You will call/email/text your supporter and tell them you have completed your practice that day. This is not a time to talk, just a brief check-in to inform them you have completed. This can be done via voice-mail, email, or in person. You can choose other times to be social. You could just say, “I did it”.
The second 7 day period- You may call/contact your supporter if you like, it’s up to you. To briefly share your excitement, challenges, insights.
Sometime in the third 7 day period- Call your supporter, to let them know who you are excited about passing on the program to, someone YOU will be supporting.
Use and supply yourself with the willful tools. For example; schedule your time as best you can, use a basic exercise program you already use, follow a online program, or use your own meditation practice (Use your Take a Breath recording time as your practice!) or find an instructional course. Be prepared- have your workout or walking/hiking shoes handy. For more support with creating a new habit/pattern read our suggestions in, “The Science of Success”.
So, my friend, just stick with it. It is not about getting it ‘right’. The discipline develops by relaxing into the practice, not as another thing to ‘do’, but rather, an opportunity to deeply connect with yourself.
You will have the great honor of sharing this and passing it on to someone you care about. Then, they will be calling YOU. That should be inspiration enough for you to carry on your own practice. Feel free, after the first 21 days, to change the order of the days to suit you. It is now becoming your own organic discipline, water it, feed it, and watch it grow. You may even begin to experiment with using this same model in other areas of your life.
Revised 5/2020 Reprint by permission only Jeff Thomlinson