The Yoga of Self Care
Self-care is at the center of all spiritual practices. Loving every shadowy aspect of ourselves is one of the pillars of self-care. During transitional periods in life, I have found it to be extra important to bring in more self-care rituals so that I can relax and trust the process of life unfolding. Being able to show up fully in each moment, I have my morning sadhana that I make a priority every day. As well, I take the time I need to recharge my batteries, and give myself external experiences such as spending time in nature, taking a yoga class, a massage, or a healing session. I have compiled my self-care sadhana for you to experiment with, or add to your own self-care rituals.
Every morning I wake up and meditate for 20 minutes, then I offer puja, in which I chant sanskrit mantras I learned in India while making an offering to the divine. Afterwards, I practice breathwork, kriyas, yoga asana, and reiki as a final meditation. As a highly sensitive person, I have found that this self-care practice keeps me grounded and present throughout the day. After my morning sadhana, I have breakfast, journal and start my day. I have made it a priority to wake up 1-3 hours earlier than any engagements I have in the morning to make sure that I can honor my practice. As well, because I teach these practices, I have found it to be vital to understand them in depth, which comes through daily practice. As someone who grew up as a night owl, I had insomnia my entire childhood into early adulthood. I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep until at least midnight, on a good day. This created a lot of anxiety for me in the past, which would be refueled by a pot of coffee each morning. It was a long, slow process of getting off caffeine and finding my body’s natural rhythm again, but making it a priority to add in my morning self-care sadhana, even if it is only half an hour, I know I feel better throughout the day.
Self-care is not only a daily routine, self-care is about checking in with my needs and honoring myself each day. I notice that as much as I love socializing, I need a lot of personal down time to recharge my batteries. When my calendar gets overfilled with social engagements, I can hit a point where I need to slow down and give space for flow, which sometimes means cancelling engagements to spend time with myself. This personal time could be painting, reading, spending time in nature, or just giving myself space to be and go with my day. For others, it may be to schedule in more time socializing with friends, as a form of self-care. Check in with your natural tendencies, and be really honest with yourself and how a balanced lifestyle feels to you.
Here in Ubud, I have the opportunity to dive into alternative healing methods at my doorstep. This is a beautiful thing about Bali, however, these alternative healing opportunities are becoming more available worldwide. In most major cities you can find yoga classes, acupressure masseuses, herbalists, and the like. The most empowering thing about taking a yoga retreat or private yoga sessions, which are available both in person and on skype, is that you can develop your own personal practice, designed for your body type, and develop the awareness to adjust your body into the correct alignment. Having a strong practice is about having the awareness to feel when you are in alignment or not. “Yoga,” which translates to “union” in sanskrit, is the practice of living in unity within ourselves, which comes from an expanded sense of awareness, rather than a strong physical asana practice.
There is immense value in honoring our needs by investing in a professional to help us. Private yoga sessions offer the opportunity to go develop a greater sense of awareness for your body, and to develop a practice in breathwork and kriyas which balance your energy. With a teacher that has studied both yoga therapy, hatha, iyengar, and kriya yoga, you will have the right set of tools for you, whether it is because of physical limitations, spiritual experiences, or mental/emotional imbalances. Private yoga is a holistic way to receive one on one treatment for your overall health. Yoga retreats offer a group experience in an exotic location, in which you receive the same care from a licensed professional, with the added bonus of experiencing a new culture. One of the benefits of travel is that it brings us into the present moment, expanding our awareness as our mind learns new techniques, skills, and cultural exchanges, all while in the process of deep self care.
By being fully honest with ourselves and honoring our needs, we can find out which aspects of our life need more love, time, or energy spent nurturing them. Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, there are many ways to honor your own self-care rituals, anywhere in the world. Following your intuition is asking you to do is the highest form of self-care, because it comes from the power within. At the root of all of my self-care rituals, I practice them when my heart truly asks me to- when it asks me to do something else, I honor that as well. For more information on private yoga sessions, both in person and via skype, which offers you the opportunity to develop a greater sense of self awareness in the privacy of your own home, as well as transformational coaching sessions, please visit theinsideworld.org.