This month our themes link or carry over with the topic of Self Care. Have you noticed how this unprecedented time keeps inviting us to find a steadiness of mind and kindness of heart? Not so easy these days!
There's so much opportunity to be reminded how precious our health and inner state are when changes seem to happen at hyper-speed recently.
It's really important to recognize that self care can be easily twisted into a concept for shaming, and beating ourselves up internally, for not taking care.
There is a subtle expectation that after a long day of work, taking care of family or kids, or after finishing your second gig job, that any real yogi will also take time, lots of time, for self care.
Then, when self care doesn't happen the stories start going internally. You know, that voice that creeps in and sabotages any forgiveness for all the best intentions to take a nice long bath with flowers steeping, take time for an extended meditation, or do a face mask that never happens? With all the popularity of self care, we end up feeling inadequate, or somehow like we're under pressure to...take a soak in the bath?!
So, where's the balance point? How do we make sure that all the hype about self care isn't a subtle put down that grinds on our inner state day after day? How do we ensure that we are being taken care of on a deeper level, where the outer world doesn't get the upperhand and veil the light within?
We start by recognizing that self care is ultimately a pathway to presence. And, in perfect form, presence leads to self care. It is a state of being. Then we start with baby steps that will naturally and spontaneously build upon each other, just like a toddler who is learning to walk.
5 Tips for Quickly Experiencing Self Care
Choose any one of these tips, or add in another here or there to get started:
1. If you can't get to a yoga practice or class, take 2-3 minutes to stretch your limbs. Start with the morning, but also try some calming stretches before bed.
2. Inhale. Pause. Exhale longer. Pause. Repeat 3 more times. (Like, right now!) The longer exhale sends a signal to your brain to relax and slow down.
3. Ask the question, "who shows up when I take time for self care?" See if you can gently coax that version of yourself to show up. When that version of you Self arrives, expand that experience, and let it take over.
4. Whether you're washing the dishes or walking from the car to the grocery store, allow the moment to be in open-eyed, moving meditation. Allow the rhythm of scrubbing the dishes, or the sound of your feet hitting the ground to draw you more deeply inward.
5. Carry a crystal in your pocket, or spritz some hydrating spray and take a deep inhalation. We often offer items like these in your BuddhiBox. Take a brief moment to let them be the vehicle that leads you to pause, become present and deepen into your heart.
So, you can see that there are many ways to interpret self care. Sometimes we deny ourselves care, because we create big expectations and think that it takes a major time commitment. Instead, why not let it be an integrated part of even the toughest and most jam-packed day? Don't hurt yourself further by thinking mean thoughts because you didn't get a chance to have a major self-care moment.
Do a little something from the list above and relax, rejuvenate, and connect with the joy that exists in every moment. That's yoga. That's the true meaning in the phrase "yoga everyday."
With love, Jennifer
Read more about Being in our blog post about Three Supports for Being Well in Extraordinary Times.