Yoga for Self Love
I recently taught a Yin Yoga for Self Love class. I didn’t realize until I was actually teaching that I needed this class just as much as any of the students who attended. If you’re like me, you tend to overexert yourself too much. You regularly place too much onto your plate and then you pretend that you are handling everything just fine. Maybe initially you are able to take everything onto your shoulders, but what do you do when the body begins to say no? Perhaps this “no” takes the form of illness, depression, fatigue, chronic pain, or irritability. Optimally, we should take care of our body and try to listen to it our entire life, but when the body begins to speak, I think we’d better pay attention to it. If we try to ignore it, it will begin to yell until we can’t help but listen. When we practice self love, we can give ourselves to others more completely.
For these reasons, I’d like to share three tools I’ve been practicing lately which have helped to bring me into a state of better balance with my body, mind, spirit, and emotions. Bringing the body back into balance is one of the greatest forms of self love I’ve experienced. I’d love to read of other tools you’ve learned in the comments below!
1. Find a quote which really speaks to you and then place it in a place you can’t easily ignore. For instance, you can put it on your bathroom mirror so that every time you brush your teeth you decide to read it again. I would even recommend repeating this process until your uplifting quote is memorized. One quote that really touches me currently is this one, by Harry Palmer.
“When you adopt the viewpoint that there is nothing that exists that is not part of you, that there is no one who exists who is not part of you, that any judgment you make is self-judgment, that any criticism you level is self-criticism, you will wisely extend to yourself an unconditional love that will be the light of the world.”
2. Practice at least a few minutes of meditation daily. As we meditate, we learn to tame the crazy monkey mind. We learn about the power of breath by sitting with it for a time. In the past when you’ve felt an extreme emotion, have you ever paused to notice what that emotion did to the breath? As a child I would occasionally cry so hard I would begin hyperventilating. Anger or fear tend to make the breath shallow. Just as the emotions can subconsciously change the breath, as we begin to consciously control the breath, this can have a quick reaction on the emotions as well. Calmness and serenity can be created and sustained. This is one of the many, many benefits of meditation.
3. Lastly, I’d like to speak to the power of mantras. Mantras can be positive statements in a variety of languages (English, Sanskrit, Hebrew, etc) which helps to remind the person of what they wish to manifest in their life. They carry quite a bit of power because of the Law of Attraction. That is to say that we tend to attract to ourselves those things that we think about most. I’d love to share the mantra I’ve been working with the past week or so. I originally found this mantra from the book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks, PhD.