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In the wake of Valentine’s Day, we often focus on all the romance and forget the most important relationship we have—the one with ourselves. How can we honor this relationship? Practice self-love. Some think self-love is selfish, but it’s exactly the opposite. You see, when you love yourself, you begin to love others more deeply. And on top of that, others begin to see and love you more deeply. This romance season, begin your practice of self-love, and see how the world around you changes.
Here are some ways to start:
There’s no need to wait for someone else to write you a beautiful note and tell you how wonderful you are. You are wonderful. You are beautiful. And you are worthy of love. So, begin writing love notes to yourself.
There are different ways to practice this: You can write a letter to yourself as you are today. Or you can write to a younger version of yourself, who was struggling at the time. You can even write a letter to your future self. Sometimes, they’ll write you back—which is pretty cool.
This is a powerful and healing practice if you do it regularly.
This is a specific mediation to nurture positive feelings about yourself. Picture yourself, or a younger version of yourself. You can look at an old picture or even use a mirror! Look yourself in the eyes, and tell yourself: "I love and accept you just the way you are." Repeat this several times, and remember, there’s no one more worthy of your love than you!
I know. Here we are with gratitude again. But this time, it’s a little different. Instead of looking for things around you, begin to practice gratitude for you. Ask yourself, “What about myself am I grateful for?” And, “Why are these things important?” It’s this second question, the “why,” that allows you to feel gratitude. Remember, gratitude is not a thought, it’s a feeling. It’s the magical key to start feeling good about yourself.
There's nothing quite as powerful as forgiving yourself for past mistakes. Yes, you may have screwed up. Yes, you probably could have done things differently. But the reality is, you’re human. And you make mistakes like every other human on the planet.
My favorite definition of forgiveness comes from Dr. Jampolsky. He says that forgiveness is giving up hope that the past can be different. It acknowledges the past and frees us from having to live it over and over again. And while forgiving others is important, self-forgiveness is a missing ingredient. Self-forgiveness unlocks you from the past and allows you to create a new future yourself.
You can say anything, no rules here! Thank your toes for helping you walk. Seriously, when’s the last time you thanked your toes for anything? And think about what life would be like without your toes. Or compliment yourself on your smile, your artistic ability, or how great a cook you are. Anything, just start being kind to yourself.
As I’ve been getting older, I use this regularly when I look in the mirror. Almost every day I see new wrinkles and gray hairs. Of course, my first reaction is still, “What are you doing there?” And then I catch my myself, look endearingly at this changed part of me, and say, “Welcome to family.”
This one practice has completely changed my relationship with myself. And bonus, it’s helped me see others differently as well. We are all growing and changing.
In the end, self-love is about treating yourself as a friend. You accept your friends, you forgive your friends, you say kind things to your friends. Self-love is about becoming your own friend. Treat yourself as you would treat a dear friend. Because no one is more deserving of your friendship than you.
And you can be your own friend every day.
Want to learn more about practicing self-love? Join the Self-Love Revolution!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.