Many of us spend a lot of time in the company of other people. Whether it’s family members, friends, coworkers, or a romantic partner, our relationships with others are an important part of our lives. But how do we build strong relationships? That’s the question we answer with spiritual practices. These activities help us connect to something greater than ourselves. They help us cultivate positive emotions and a more abundant sense of well-being. And because they’re rooted in our most basic needs as human beings—namely love and belonging—practices like yoga, meditation, breathwork and prayer are also great ways to strengthen our connection to self as well as to others. Read on for more details about what these different types of spiritual practice have in common, how they can benefit you differently depending on your focus and intention, and which one might be right for you.
What’s the difference between spiritual practice and ritual?
The word ritual comes from the Latin word ‘ritus,’ which means ‘the way.’ Spiritual practices, on the other hand, don’t always have anything to do with rituals—the word spiritual comes from the fact that these activities help us connect to something greater than ourselves. So a spiritual practice might have nothing to do with rituals at all and instead focus on connecting you to your inner wisdom. When we talk about spirituality, we’re typically referring to one or more of the world’s major religions. Many people trace the roots of Western spiritual traditions back to ancient mythologies like that of the Greek Gods and Goddesses or the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.
What are some benefits of spiritual practice?
The benefits of spiritual practice can be found throughout this article. But here are a few more examples of the positive impact a spiritual practice can have on your life: Increased Emotional Well-Being – Many people seek out practices that help them feel more connected to themselves and others. Yoga and meditation are two common examples of ways to cultivate self-awareness. Improved Health – A lot of people turn to practices like yoga and meditation to help them relax, reduce stress, and maintain better physical health. Whether you’re interested in decreasing your risk of health problems like high blood pressure or reducing your risk of developing certain mental health disorders like anxiety or depression, practices like yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation can be powerful tools. Enhanced Relationships – Whether you’re looking to strengthen your relationship with your partner or family members or friends, a spiritual practice can provide a space where you can connect more deeply.
Which one is right for you?
It might be helpful to think of a spiritual practice like an exercise you would do at the gym. Finding the right workout for your body requires careful consideration of your fitness level, your current health needs, and your preferences. Likewise, finding the right practice for your life might sound like an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be. Think about which of the above benefits you want to experience the most, and then look for a spiritual practice that focuses on that area. You can also let the type of spiritual practice you choose matter less than the benefits it provides for you. Many people find that even if they don’t exactly know which type of practice they want to try next, their body begins to tell them which type of practice is appropriate for them. For instance, you might feel an increased sense of peace when you do yoga, or you might notice a difference in your emotional well-being when you do a meditation that focuses on breathing exercises. If so, you know you’re on the right track!
We often associate spirituality with religion—or the specific rituals and practices associated with a specific religion—but it can be much more than that. It can be a way of connecting with something greater than yourself and finding meaning and purpose in your life. Practicing a spiritual discipline can have many benefits, which you can experience by taking the time to connect to something greater than yourself.