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Yoga as a Self Care Strategy: Slow Down and Set Your Intentions

Healing | Health

In today’s world of instant gratification, it can be quite an undertaking to invest time and energy into a long-term self-care practice. 

Without a doubt, yoga falls under this category of transformative, long-lasting self-care. It is an ever-evolving art that anyone can use, offering us sustainability and the motivation to follow through with our body/mind/soul goals. 

Here are some tips to slow down and take care:

1. Breathe!

It’s sad but true: in our busy lives, breath is often an afterthought. Nothing slows us down like being still and sitting with the breath; observing it and working with it rather than taking our inhales and exhales for granted.

Yoga helps us find the breath by guiding us to be in the body, fully present and completely observant. Once you understand the natural flow of your breath, it’s easy to pinpoint your current mental and physical states. For instance, shallow or rapid breath is often indicative of distress, lethargy, anxiety, and other cues that we tend to shrug off. Through yoga, we can breathe more fully, feel more deeply, and learn how to make important adjustments in the interest of self-care.

2. Write it out

When you’re not sure what you want out of your practice, it can be extra difficult to attract it. Clear intentions create a strong foundation, offering your desires fertile ground on which to flourish. 

Journaling is another peaceful, timeless practice that slows the mind and strengthens intention. Keeping an account of your overall wellness goals and aligning them with your yoga goals is a great way to stick to them. Outside of a list, you can be as creative as your heart desires – tucking inspirational images throughout your journal, peppering each page with a motivational quote, etc. Make it fun!

3. Be gentle with yourself

Although this phrase sounds like a no-brainer, it’s actually a very mindful mantra. Many of us are held up to unrealistic standards and berate ourselves when we fall short. Whether verbally, emotionally, or physically, we could all benefit from the soft touch of compassion.

Taking a long bath after your yoga practice is a great way to express appreciation for your hard-working, miraculous body. Make bath-time into a soothing ritual, cleansing the mind, body, and soul of all leftover tension, and extending the benefits of the yoga. 

4. Drop the comparisons

Are you aware of the concept that we’re “all on a different path”? Sure, some of us may end up reaching the same spot, generally, but our journeys always differ. This especially rings true when it comes to yoga and wellness practices.

Remember that you are exactly where you need to be right now. It’s time to let go of the comparisons and focus on the self as a whole. And remember – if you feel like you’re learning the same lessons over and over, trying and trying to master your yoga level, it’s for good reason; we return to what we need to work on until we learn everything that we can from the experience.

5. Give yourself credit

You don’t have to fix everything at once. Be patient! Ease into your self-care practice and take note of everything that you’ve accomplished so far on your wellness journey through yoga. Returning to our second point, regarding the importance of lists, keeping a journal of your practice offers up convenient benchmarks to chart your growth.

Quite often, we’re so concerned with the have-nots that we forget to take inventory of the haves! What poses can you comfortably fold into that were a challenge yesterday? 6 months ago? Last summer? Perspective is key.

Self-care through yoga should be considered more than just a luxury; if you treat it as a daily occurrence, and truly look forward to this sacred time, your intention-filled actions will become purposeful habit.

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