Today’s solocast topic is: Creating a Spiritual Practice for the New Year
With the new year in sight, we tend to shift our focus on resolutions that will improve our physical health or our habits. If you’re focused on growing and improving your life, I also encourage you to think about your spiritual growth. The start of the new year is the perfect opportunity to begin or boost your spiritual practice!
Unlike goals related to our other Cornerstones of True Beauty, like Food or Body, the goal of building a spiritual practice is a little different, as it’s harder to outline in concrete steps. For many, spirituality might seem harder to access or out of reach. That’s why I’m dedicating this podcast episode to creating a spiritual practice for the new year, and giving you specific tools and tips for getting started.
Cultivating your spiritual practice will allow you to increase your intuition and self-awareness, experience more unity and oneness, and feel more expansive love. What better way to step into 2021? Let’s dive in!
Topics Covered In Creating a Spiritual Practice for the New Year
#1. Why creating or boosting your spiritual practice in the new year can improve your physical and mental health
#2. My top tips for creating a simple and effective spiritual practice
#3. How Food, Body and Emotional Well-Being practices can actually elevate your spiritual practice
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Hey Beauties, welcome back to our Monday solo cast podcast. Happy Monday, where our topic today is Creating a Spiritual Practice for the New Year. And so I just want to say right off the bat, the way that we define spirituality here is about connecting to the deepest essence inside of you, to spirit inside of you, to your uniqueness. And so just like the way that we drink a glowing green smoothie, we make the practice to exercise regularly. [
When we make it a practice to spend time with our deepest self, which is centered around some kind of meditation practice, still in this practice, we are able to connect to that deepest part of us. And from there, we build so much resilience and strength and true confidence and radiance and our true beauty comes forth. That it is a very wonderful thing to focus on while we’re still in that New Year’s mode.
And again, just like all these things, we want to create practices. We want to create regularity because that’s when we start to see benefits. And as we’ll get into the research today, you will see that there are incredible benefits to creating some time for this spiritual practice. So we’ll get into all of it today in the research. I am so excited for today’s topic. I love highlighting this part of our lifestyle, which is I consider very essential.
We live in this world where the physical parts, the food and the exercise and the things that we see and the devices and the products are really emphasized because they’re easy to see and to spot. But it’s the deeper parts of ourselves, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual that really influences everything. Really, everything is energetic at the core.
So you will find that as you engage more in spending time and cultivating that relationship with your inner self, everything, including your weight, your food cravings, your tastes, your just everyday resting state of being, your levels of peace and joy. Everything will benefit.
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So before we get into everything else, I want to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week. Her name is Angana D. And she writes, “Go to podcasts while in quarantine.” I discovered this gem during the shelter in place in New York, packed with so much motivation to better your life, both physically and emotionally. This podcast has been wonderful to listen to while working from home. I’ve been slowly trying to turn vegan over the last couple of months and Kimberly’s books and podcasts have so much information to make the switch easier. Amazing Angana D, thank you so much for being our fan of the week. Thank you so much for being part of our community. I send you a huge virtual hug, no matter where you are. And I thank you so much for your wonderful review. [00:03:00]
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So let’s get into now our topic, Creating a Spiritual Practice for the New Year. So again, I just want to iterate that what we put energy into will grow, will start to flourish. It will start to develop and it will start to evolve. So if we put a lot of energy into learning certain recipes, we will start to master them. If we put a lot of energy into exercise into lifting weights or whatever it is, we will start to develop more tone in our body and more musculature and whatever else our goals are. If we want to grow in our peace and our joy and our ability to feel so connected and comfortable with ourselves, that we are less irritated by what other people say. And we are less concerned with comparison mode and what other people are doing. And we just feel so happy and joyful as we walk through the world more and more and more.
This is what we need to put some more energy into. It’s not something that we just turn a button on and we switch it on and suddenly we have this, except for a few people in history like Ramana Maharshi, who had spontaneous awakenings. For most of us, we really do have to develop a meditation practice, a practice around [00:05:00] our introspection and cultivating our inner state, our connection. So for me, that takes the form of meditation and journaling, and also having a gratitude practice, which I do by myself in the morning. And I do with my family as part of our family dinner in the evening. So these are part of the rhythms. These are part of the practices that keep spirituality part of my daily life. And to me, even if I skip [00:05:30] my GGS, I’ll survive for a day, at least.
If I sleep a few less hours in a night, I can power through. But if I abandon my practice, if I don’t have some form of meditation in the morning, even if it’s brief, but some centering practice, I tell you guys my whole day feels off. I feel just a bit more anxious and easily irritated and more reactive and just [00:06:00] not on point, just not focused. And not as peaceful. So, even though sometimes the practices that aren’t “productive.” Like, “I just did that CrossFit class. I just made the most healthy bowl.” Whatever it is we feel like, “Oh, well, I can just meditate another day.” We push it to the side, but actually these are the practices [00:06:30] that we should never skip. These are the most core practices. These are the most important practices because the relationship with ourselves affects our relationship with the entire world, including our relationship with food, our relationship with other people. Our relationship with our self-worth. Our relationship with our job. Everything is affected.
So it’s very important that we create a practice and we commit to it. And it can start to expand. So just in the way that I teach about starting with a morning routine and building up from there. And just from mastering again, just making hot water with lemon, very simple, make the GGS. Then you can start to build your repertoire from there. So we’re not expecting you to completely say, “Okay, I’m going to meditate for an hour in the morning and night.” I’m never going to have any thoughts. It’s going to be completely perfect. It’s a practice. So we just set aside a couple moments. It becomes part of your rhythm, and then you can drop in more and more easily over time. And there’s a lot [00:07:30] of tools we provide about this. So there’s free meditations over on the Solluna app, which you can download for free in the app store, also on our website just to get you started.
But just the whole concept of sitting and being in your practice is really beautiful. And we’ll start to build in strength over time and we will get more and more benefits. It’s like a fruit tree that just keeps flourishing and growing and providing more and more bounty to you. Over [00:08:00] time, the harvest gets richer and deeper and bigger and just more incredible. So I want to talk about our discussion today through the cornerstone perspective.
1st Cornerstone: Creating a Spiritual Practice with Food
So I want to provide you with some research, some really solid research from a body, emotional, food and spiritual perspective about this idea of creating a practice and why it’s so important. And hit it from all the different angles.
So the first [00:08:30] comes from food. Well, the research comes from researchers from UCLA, and of course we will link to this all in the show notes. And this study really supports the idea that of a plant-based high fiber diet, can really support your emotional health and the equanimity of your mind, which puts you in a better state for spiritual practices, for being able to go deeper in tranquility and resting the mind for meditation and going deeper and deeper into yourself. What they found was there was a connection between [00:09:00] food and mood. And they found that again, people that eat high fiber diets had a very different gut health environment than those who ate animal products. And they resulted in “more balanced, emotional responses” when their brainwaves were studied. So the yogis have been talking about this for centuries.
The reason that we encourage being more plant-based from an energetic perspective is because there is less disruptive energy going through your body. [00:09:30] Animals have much more complex nervous systems, and they can feel pain. And processing all those different emotions of killed animals in your body does not encourage lightness. So there’s a lot of discussion around the nutrition of food and there’s different camps. The paleo camp and the KIDO camp and so on and so forth. But right now we’re talking purely about energy. And from an energy perspective, we can say that when we are more in tune with [00:10:00] our food is sourced peacefully and it’s easily assimilated nutrition, and not more advanced animals with more advanced nervous systems.
Then the energy is very different. And as this study shows from UCLA, it means that we tend to have calmer minds. It affects our brainwaves. Energy is our energy. So everything works together from a food perspective if you are wanting to create more peace in your life. You are wanting more equanimity. [00:10:30] You do want to feel more resilient to all of life’s everyday turbulences and ups and downs. Eating a plant-based diet will support you in that. Another 2020 study on food, researchers found a connection between spiritual beliefs and an improved relationship with food. Subjects who had a personal spiritual practice tended to display more self-control and healthy relationship with food and vice versa.
So when we [00:11:00] start to step back and see that everything is interconnected, just in the way that I was explaining about yoga, then it gives us a broader context with food. And it allows us to see things from a bigger picture. And I think that helps to take us out of the humdrum, the Monday and like this one thing, or this calorie. The calories in this one thing. “This is so hard versus I’m doing this for bigger reasons. I’m doing this for the environment. [00:11:30] I’m doing this because spiritually, I want to feel lighter and this is the food that’s going to support my overall goals.” So I think it is important to step back and to see that deeper connection and to really understand that everything does work together.
2nd Cornerstone: Creating a Spiritual Practice with Body
Our next cornerstone is body. And this is an interesting study. It came from 2015, published in the Sociology of Religion Journal. And religion and spirituality to me are different. We [00:12:00] can find our spiritual practices anchored in our religion, but you don’t have to be part of a religion and organized religion to be spiritual. To me, spirituality transcends all of that. I think that there’s a lot of beauty and healthy structure if that resonates with some people. But for some people, religion is a huge turnoff, but either way, whether we’re drawn to religion or not, we can create the relationship with ourselves [00:12:30] inside of us. And we can develop that relationship with the divine spirit, God, inside of us. Whatever word resonates with your source, the universe. We can find that no matter what. So, anyways, not to go on a tangent here, but sorry for that beeping to that’s my baby monitor. I’m recording this.
So I’m watching little Mosey nap and Bubby is taking some time to play some sneaking in this opportune [00:13:00] moment right now. But this study was interesting in saying that spending time in nature is correlated with a stronger sense of spirituality. So when we are doing our practices to take care of our body, which for me is walking as my primary form of exercise right now. Besides some yoga, some asanas, but right now, more in a walking mode and my primary yoga is my meditation. But if you can get outside and walk and be in nature and get [00:13:30] some sunlight on your limbs, to breathe the air, to hear the birds, again, it’s these practices, which take us to deeper places, to broader places. We start to see that we’re so much more than just our limited bodies, that we’re part of this incredible cosmos.
We’re part of this beautiful limitless nature all around us, which is powerful and so intelligent. And we can start to feel that connection and our awe and our wonder increase. And of course our connection with divine energy, [00:14:00] because we can feel this power, which is so different than just being around man-made buildings and concrete. We can go to nature. And even if you live in a city going to parks, having indoor plants even, and Irv boxes, and really connecting with anything that comes of nature, is going to help foster that just expansive energy inside of you and your connection with yourself.
And so another study I’ll [00:14:30] mention comes from the evidence-based complimentary and alternative medicine journal. And found that spiritual wellbeing is cultivated by a yoga practice, which also increases our mindfulness and our mood. So again, we have lots of different yoga series for you over on YouTube. And we have our beauty detox power series that you can download if you’re looking to start an Asana practice, this is a great time to do one at home, of course, while we’re still in the midst of [00:15:00] quarantine to different levels. So go check those out over there. And again, anytime you can be outside, anytime you can go for a walk or a hike, I know it’s snowy, maybe cold where you live, but if you can strap on some snow shoes or there’s a little break in the weather and you can go outside, it’s just so wonderful on so many levels, including fostering your spiritual practice.
3rd Cornerstone: Creating a Spiritual Practice with Emotional Well-being
Okay. So our third cornerstone is emotional wellbeing. And this is an interesting study [00:15:30] published in the Personality and Individual Differences Journal, found that the relationship between spirituality and emotional wellbeing really shifted the people that were studied, the subjects’ response to daily stress. So, stress is not the events, it’s not the traffic, it’s not the baby crying at 3:00 in the morning. It’s not [00:16:00] the coronavirus itself. It is our response to events. It is our ability to have tools and skills to breathe and to shift our perspective in that moment and to stay anchored to truth and to bigger principles and to our own sense of being able to self-soothe ourselves and to come back into ourselves. So it all goes in tandem. When we meditate, [00:16:30] we have stillness and we have less noise in our lives. And we create pockets at least for the acronymity.
We will find that we’re able to cope with life and stress in a much better way. Another study published in the Journal of Creativity and Mental Health found that self-reflection and journaling, which I’m so big on, boosts cognitive processing, emotional expression, and personal awareness of spirituality. So I love this. [00:17:00] This free space. This authentic place that we can create for ourselves, which is in our journal, in this place where no one has to read or evaluate. You don’t have to evaluate yourself. You can just let it flow. Let things come out of you, out of your mind onto the paper. And you can look at them and what’s really powerful as well is you can put down your feelings and your emotions. And that can create a separation from them. So you can see them that they just come and they rise and they fall [00:17:30] and they aren’t really you. And you don’t have to really completely identify with them as who you are.
So anytime we can create that healthy boundary between us and our feelings, instead of thinking we are the sadness, we are the anger, we are that feeling, we can, again, start to connect back in. “Well, who am I underneath those feelings? Who am I underneath what I perceive as daily annoyances and stress?” And underneath that is a stable part of you that is so strong [00:18:00] and will give you a lot of wisdom and a lot of power in making daily decisions the more you start to tune into that. So again, all of it works together. We’re able to have less stress, to feel less stress when we reflect when we journal and when we meditate.
4th Cornerstone: Creating a Spiritual Practice with Spiritual Growth
Now, going on to our final cornerstone, which is really the crux of what all of this is about, which is spiritual growth. There’s an interesting study from [00:18:30] the Teaching and Learning and Medicine Journal. They found that students who perform deep breathing meditation as part of their spiritual practice, experienced less anxiety, nervousness, self doubt, and concentration loss. They had less loss of their concentration. In other words, they were able to focus for longer and longer. So this idea of breathing deeply. We have this tool that’s built into us that is the most basic part of life in a sense, is breathing. [00:19:00] And yet we take it for granted. And sometimes we focus on our breath, but then other times we forget. Now I have found that over the years, having a practice that involves breathing, which we do offer in our free meditations. Which again, you can check out over in the site or on the app will start to connect you to the realness, the truth of who you are, which is beneath a parent’s, beneath the surface.
So the breath is a connection point as [00:19:30] Paramahansa Yogananda, the great yogi says, “Breath is the cord that connects your soul with your body.” So you can start to use the breath. You can start to tune in from the outside world and all the things that make your system jump and make you jump. And all the reactions that your nervous system may have. And you can start to go down, sink down deeper into yourself. And this is the place where self-doubt can not live. This is the place where concentration and focus become [00:20:00] very heightened because we’re not so tuned into what everybody else is doing and what’s going on in the surface. So this is very powerful to do breath work and to slow down your breathing. And you can do this while you’re meditating and you can do it in between your meditations.
So it just becomes part of your life.
Another study from 2015 found that meditation spirituality and it examined meditation, spirituality and physiology. And they found that meditation increases the body’s relaxation [00:20:30] response, which is hormonal and it’s part of our integrated system. And it also boosts levels of mindfulness, attention and wakefulness, leading subjects to experience spiritual awakenings. So spiritual awakenings, I would define as an insight or what I call a download. Just something that becomes clear to you, all of a sudden. Something that maybe you were kind of working through, or maybe it felt muddled, or you couldn’t really [00:21:00] kind of grasp your minds around it until you are able to meditate and drop down and breathe. And sometimes spontaneously during a meditation, or maybe not in the meditation, but after, or in the middle of your day, that sort of download, that realization will come forth.
And when it does, it just feels like a burst of… To me, this is what it feels like, a burst of inspiration. And I feel so grateful for having clarity around something. So sometimes [00:21:30] you can hear a saying over and over again, like you are love at your core. You are love at your core. And you hear it and you hear it, but it doesn’t really hit you in your heart. It just sort of feels like, “Oh, yeah, that sounds like a nice thing and nice quote.” And then inspires you for two seconds and then it goes away. But the difference is when you get these awakenings, which happen from a spiritual practice, then you embody the teachings. Then you start to live it. [00:22:00] So again, this is akin to how the daily things you do start to make up your life, your habits, your practices.
So if you start to drink the Glowing Green Smoothie® every day, I promise you, you will start to feel more energy. You will start to feel differences in your digestion. Your gut microbiome will shift. Your skin will shift. If you make spiritual practice a priority this year. And we’ll talk about what that looks like in a moment, then you will start to notice a difference. You will start to feel more relaxed. You will start to [00:22:30] have more of a buffer against stress. You will start to see a change in yourself that I think you will like very much. You can perhaps become more patient, more creative, just more inspired and more inspiring. You will have more resilience. You’ll have more connection to other people because you have more of a connection to yourself. So as you walk around in the world, life will start to feel a lot more different in the best way.
So again, I urge you to make it a [00:23:00] priority. It’s one of the things that I know is easy to push to the side when you think, “Well, I have to eat. I have to exercise. I don’t have to meditate because I don’t have enough time. So let me just do that the next day.” But that’s really the thing that you don’t want to push away. And start small. So a spiritual practice, I recommend doing it right when you wake up, because when you start to move into the kitchen and distractions come and you may get on your phone and then suddenly, “Oh, I have to answer this email.” So it starts to get a little bit [00:23:30] pushed away, pushed away, pushed away. But if you do it right, when you wake up, as I do, then you will always do it.
And for me, it’s waking up. I wake up really early because the baby’s up early. But if you can wake up a little bit earlier, so that you have the space and the time set aside, even if it’s 10 minutes to do the whole thing, even five minutes to start maybe 20 minutes. But you want to get into your meditation posture and you want to do one of the guided meditations that we have for you, which again are on the Soluna app or [00:24:00] the site. And you want to go through the meditation for five or 10 minutes and you want to breathe. And then after the meditation, this is a really potent time to journal and to reflect for another few minutes, even if it’s five minutes, maybe two minutes. Again, so your whole practice could look like five or 10 minutes, or up to 20 minutes, maybe longer.
But just set aside that time. I’m going to sit. I’m going to breathe. I’m going to meditate. I’m going to journal and reflect. And you do that in the morning and you do that in the evening. And again, it’s just a few moments, [00:24:30] but I promise you that it will start to make huge strides in your day. It will start to shift you. It will start to change your life. And I remember when it started to hit me and it was when I started meditating and doing this practice back when I was living in New York. And it hit me one day. And I remember where I was sitting. I was sitting on the edge of my bed and I just started to realize how different I felt. How I felt just more… [00:25:00] It was so hard to explain, connected and expansive in my body.
And then I started writing books from that place. Then I started to create even more and more and more. It really came from that foundation. So I encourage you to really take this seriously and to make it part of your life and to make any adjustments, whether that is getting up a little bit earlier, turning off Netflix a little bit earlier. Which you could still have both. You can watch TV, but then turn it off and you will [00:25:30] start to see big improvements in your life. So remember… And this is my closing thought for you as well. Remember that your daily habits will shape your entire life. And so your daily habits are what we really want to pay attention to. Doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It doesn’t mean that you have a perfect schedule from the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed and nothing is off or perfectly scheduled.
In fact, I think it is important to have a lot of downtime [00:26:00] and rest and rejuvenation and just fun time. But you also want to build the habits that you can stick to, whether it’s food, again, making your hot water with lemon or body. Taking your SBO Probiotics, which are essential, or again, the emotional and spiritual ones. Making sure you create, carve out the space to meditate and journal. And even if at first it feels restless. Even, if at first you think, “I don’t really like [00:26:30] doing this. This sucks. This is boring.” Or my mind is wandering, “Or what am I getting out of this?” I promise you that we sit, we breathe, we put in the effort and it will start to pay off. So once again, our thought of the week is daily habits will shape your life. They do shape your life. So pay attention.
I send you so much love. Thank you so much for tuning in with me today. I’m always here for you. I want to give a shout out to our app again, which has our membership [00:27:00] portal, our circle portal. I’m in there every day, communicating, leaving little videos, commenting on your questions and your messages. We also have a once a month Soluna circle. We did our first one a little bit ago, and it was incredible. It was so wonderful to see everybody’s face and to talk and everybody had a chance to speak and we meditated. It was beautiful. So if you’re interested in a wonderful tribal, powerful community, come and join us over on the circle. Otherwise, check out [00:27:30] the show notes over at mysolluna.com.
We also have links to other podcasts, I think you’ll enjoy. I will see you back here in just a few days for our next Q&A Thursday community podcast. I’ll also see you on Instagram @_KimberlySnyder. So then sending you so much love and see you back here soon.