Be kind to yourself. Do Yoga! Ultimately each person must develop their own relationship with the self to weave together the threads of the body, mind and soul. Yoga is a great form of self-care. Yoga practice is about healing the self through self-discovery and self-acceptance. It is a practice that will transform you and strengthens your life force within.
It is not about being good at something. It is about being good to yourself. With yoga you will feel having like a warm hug for your brain plus body. Lengthen, strengthen, and de-stress with slow-paced sequences. YOGA is a workout practice that will transform you from the inside (reduced stress, lower blood pressure) out (toned muscles, flexibility). When you are working on mastering poses, think of each body part as a member of a team, united toward a common goal.
Choose your YOGA for self-care tools. Fueled by your positive intention choose the desired outcome to which you will work. Perhaps you are feeling anxious and want to compassionately and kindly reduce your anxiety. Or maybe you feel that anxiety in the shortness of your breath. You might as well choose a technique that helps you slow your breath.
Based on your individual needs and intention, choose a few simple ones that work well and lead to outcomes relevant to your needs. Practice short and simple tools often. Here are some of what you will choose from:
- Breath and rhythm (via specific breathwork or the rhythm of vinyasa)
- Restorative Yoga
- Self-massage (with hands or therapy balls)
- Self-touch (simply touching, breathing, and connecting).
You will notice that there is a lot here! There are so many incredible techniques to have in your toolbox. In a studio class, the following tools are easily available to you to meet your needs and intentions. You notice when you lose sight of your intentions and rein yourself back in. Also, as you check-in before and after, check yourself if the class is doing for you what you think it is. Is this class helping you care for yourself? It may be your need to choose another class that is filled with more of the techniques and practices that meet your needs and intentions for care. Experiment.
Within a self-care approach, individual postures are not learned for their own sake but learned as specific tools for specific outcomes. Self-care is sometimes tough love, so it may be that you need a few difficult or demanding postures or techniques thrown into the mix to create a necessary physical or emotional response within yourself that could not be found on a bolster. It is not about doing the most advanced poses, it is the fact that you made it onto your mat. If your mind is calm, you have done everything right. When you are doing a yoga workout, you will literally feel your brain quieting down. It is a beautiful thing!
Find your YOGA for self-care practice. No one style, tradition, or technique of yoga is the most effective form of self-care. Everyone is different and requires different approaches to meet their needs. Find what works for you. Stay curious. Keep practicing. Prepare to feel great!
For more tips on Yoga as Self-care, contact Salem Fitness Center.