Self-care requires you to know yourself- your strengths, weaknesses, and actions to help make you well rounded and the best version you can be. While the intention of self-care is clear, the path to actually arrive at the practice can be more of a winding, confusing road.
Self-Care through Yoga
Self-care is simply doing certain actions to help promote your mental and physical wellness. Yoga practice is often a great form of self-care, but knowing your limits is key to maintain a well-rounded practice and to practice self-care every day. Start by exploring these beginner methods to be honest and kind to yourself everyday through yoga.
Build your Breath in Sukhasana
Sukhasana, or Easy pose, helps to ground the low body while sitting tall and maintaining length in the upper body. It is a great pose to enter meditation and breathwork. Connect the thumbs and ring fingers to create Prithivi mudra, promoting focus, balance and a sense of grounding. Observe your breath- where it goes, how it feels- and make the inhales and exhales even and deep. Take time to sit with and observe yourself.
Practice Gratitude in Tadasana
Getting the mind moving is just as important as the body, as your mindset will frame your outlook for day. Come into Tadasana, or Mountain pose, building the pose from the ground up. Begin to breathe and note three things you are grateful for in your life right now. Notice how you feel when you think of these things, and keep that feeling with you as you travel through your day.
Observe Your Breath in Reclined Bound Angle Pose
Supine poses help you to feel the support of the ground, allowing the back to relax and the entire body to be quite literally grounded. Supta Baddha Konasana, or Reclined Bound Angle pose, will help you to focus on deep breathing to calm the mind and body. Bring the soles of the feet together to enter a gentle hip opener and place the both hands on the low belly, just inside the hip points. Breathe, sending the inhale toward the hands, and allow yourself to open and observe.
Breathe and Bend with Fish Pose
Matsyasana, or Fish Pose, allows for a grounded back bend while opening the chest. Once in the pose, close your eyes and focus on your breath, inviting in long inhales and exhales. It is a pose with intensity and support, allowing you to explore your ability to push and let go, ultimately find balance. Point through the toes to activate through the low body and keep yourself open to the shift this pose can create.
Build Strength with Warrior Flow
Warrior poses help to build strength in the body and focus in the mind, tapping into your inner power. Though self-care often includes softer, restorative yoga poses, we sometimes need to tap into our inner warrior and strength. Find grounding through the feet and reach through the hands in Warrior I, then expanding as you transition into Warrior II. Call on your courage and balance to launch up into Warrior III, holding the pose and breathing.
Make Time for Your Practice Everyday
One of the most difficult aspects of self-care if making in a daily habit, one that becomes part of your life vs. one you have to consistently schedule in. When you first begin a consistent practice, it is important to start small, practicing at the same time each day for a month. This will help you to make self-care a healthy everyday habit.
Like yoga, self-care is a practice. It takes time to understand your needs and explore what works best for you. Practice kindness, observation and patience, making time for not only yourself, but for your self-care every day. This is just the beginning!