The power of ritual
Creating sacred rituals for what matters most to you. By Nik Parmar
The heart of yogic life resides not in the abstract theology of moral action, but in ritual. The repetitive nature of rituals provides a comforting constancy in this constantly-changing world; the symbolic meanings of candles and affirmations, special foods and familiar melodies touches our emotional centre in a way that little else does. True to our inner self, sacred rituals soothe our spirits giving us a brief taste of the divine nectar.
The Vedas are filled with mantras, chants, and rituals for just about any purpose you can imagine. The base elements of Vedic rituals are an integral part of yogic life and can be creative and enjoyable, making it suitable to a desired practice.
As you start, set an intention for the ritual. What would you like to practice during this ritual? Set the intention with a Kalasha Avahana.
Various paraphernalia can be placed inside a metal pot whilst reciting devotional mantras, evoking the requested energies to reside within the pot. Thereafter, affirmations of wellbeing are humbly requested to the evoked energy. This ritual is commonly practiced on a journey of new beginnings, externally or internally.
Create your environment with an element of mindfulness Puja, giving importance to progressing your practice. Manifesting a sacred space with an altar, yantra, candles, incense and flowers will enhance your yoga and meditation practice. Puja creates a mood of devotional connection with pure realms of consciousness. It can be a simple or elaborate daily ritual done in a quiet clean space.
A key part of any ritual is to be as fully present as you can. The Yagna offering connects us to the universal source by using the fire element. This ritual is created with bricks or metal, with logs placed inside, fuelled with ghee (clarified butter), whilst mantras are chanted.
This practice reflects into our inner fire which also requires consciousness, concentration, perseverance and a sense of purpose. It destroys our inner impurities, and increases our intelligence. Use the power of fire to drive your inner fire toward its purpose by introducing the Yagna ritual into your current journey.
Blessing our food: Bhoga. Our vibration goes into food: the emotion and intention we feel while cooking affects how the meal is experienced.
Mantra chanting raises the vibration and brings more prana (life force) to our food when it is being prepared. Blessing our food is also an important piece of healthy, balanced eating.
Every ritual has a Visarjana: offerings of gratitude are offered to the energy, space, our inner being and the universe at the close of the practice.
These are some base elements to consider — you don’t have to include all of them, and there are many others you can pull in from the Vedic tradition. These rituals can enhance spiritual development, wellbeing and mindfulness.
Nik Parmar from Spiritual Gypsy conducts bespoke workshops based on sacred, traditional rituals from the Vedic traditions. Visit: kleem.co.uk
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.