Bija Bennett

Rituals give form to our lives, not just on the surface, but emotionally. We need rituals to connect deeply with ourselves.

Rituals have been celebrated in every culture and religion throughout time. Designed to inspire us, help set our intentions, and give us focus, they make our resolutions personal, powerful, and true.

Rituals elevate us to what is higher — to our potential, our life's goals — and remind us that our highest values should direct our lives.

A ritual can be something as simple as sitting quietly and repeating an intention or word, lighting a candle, planting a tree every Arbor Day, or walking a hundred steps after you eat (an old Indian ritual). In taking a small step toward ritual, you make an outward sign of your inward focus, indicating that your commitments and intentions are real.

In every ritual, from the simplest to the most elaborate, from the spiritual to the mundane, the steps involved are very much the same: geometry, structure, rhythm, and intent.

Use these steps as ideas or suggestions for creating your own personal ritual. Then, whatever you choose to do, do it simply. It doesn't have to be fancy or take long. It need only be regular and full of intention and meaning.

     1.  Geometry: Define your space. Set the symbolic elements before you - a candle, picture, icon - and situate yourself in a certain relationship to these things. It's not the objects that are important, but the faith in these objects that make them emotionally sacred.

     2.  Structure: Give your ritual a beginning and an ending. Carefully arrange the steps, length, and sequence to create the body of your ritual.

     3.  Rhythm: The progressive sequence of events, actions, thoughts, or prayers leads you into the ritual itself, and leads out of it, letting you resume your normal life.

     4.  Intent: The purpose behind your ritual directs your ritual to fulfillment. The possibilities are numerous: opening your heart, connecting you to someone or something, completion, healing, asking for help, gratitude, self-reflection, linking with a higher power. Ritual isn't a mindless movement. It's a focusing technique to systematically give you an anchor point within. 

This New Year, take your resolutions and make them into rituals. Personal rituals are important because of their enormous power to comfort and heal.


Learn more from my book, Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind (Simon & Schuster)


From Emotional Yoga


Breathing for the New Year


Life of Wonderment

Emptying the Archives


Finding Focus Through Breath


Pilgrimage as Ritual

Here is an exercise to help you release negative thoughts or beliefs from the past, uncover hidden emotions or fears, and become more fully involved in the present. more


This powerful combination of breathing techniques calms your body, focuses your mind, and soothes agitated states, such as anger, anxiety, or fear. more


Used as personal ritual, pilgrimage is a way to prove your faith, find the answers to your deepest questions, and provide the healing power of hope. more

The Bliss Technique

Make the disciplines of attention an ordinary part of your life, and play with the idea of ritual. Continue to find new ways to replenish your energy, renew your commitments, and reatune your life.

As an added bonus, try using this technique I learned from my friend, Deepak Chopra. The Bliss Technique lets you absorb the experience of breathing, meditation, or ritual, and brings your awareness back to the Self.

You can take as little or as long as you wish to explore with this technique:

—  Begin by sitting or lying down and let your breathing be free. Rest your attention deep within the heart. 

—  Now feel the silence. Keeping your eyes closed, be aware of the silence in your body — and stay in the silence.

—  Keep your eyes closed, and have awareness in your whole body. This means awareness in every cell of your body — at the level of Being. Feel your whole body. Your body is a living, dynamic field of consciousness, awareness — bliss.

— Just have a faint idea, an intention of bliss. Feel the bliss everywhere in your body. The Self is lively, everywhere in your body. Perfect balance, perfect integration, perfect order, pure consciousness, pure knowledge. Effortlessly keep your attention in your body, until it bubbles with energy and bliss.

—  Now, bring your awareness back, and begin gradually to awaken your hands, fingers, toes, and then your whole body. Let your body breathe without hurry. Yawn, stretch, as you open your eyes slowly.

Keep an open attitude of awareness throughout your day, and it will bring you tremendous emotional fulfillment and joy. 

Wishing everyone a peaceful New Year!


With love,



Read and Enjoy My Books:

Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind (Simon & Schuster, 2002)

Breathing Into Life: Recovering Wholeness Through Body, Mind & Breath (Balboa Press, 2015)

The Breathing Breakthrough: Everything You Need to Know to Sharpen Your Focus, Worry Less, and Live Longer (Balboa Press, 2015)

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Bija Bennett is a Chicago-based author, artist, and speaker who has turned from the performing arts to the healing arts, and then back again to make unique and inspiring books, talks, music, and films, that impact the way we work and live.