We are all definitely spending a lot more time with ourselves...
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These days, we live in a world where self-love is literally everywhere. It’s all over your Instagram feed. It’s in your workplace when chatting with coworkers. It’s present at your yoga practice and most importantly; it’s within you.
Is self-love a face mask at the end of a stressful day? A soothing bath to wash away the insecurity you felt on that first date? Or maybe it’s heading into a therapy session ready to discuss your triggers. Self-love takes on many forms. It can be all of those things—or it could be none of them. But what all these activities have in common is care. The act of self-love is proving to yourself that you’re worth the effort and time that goes into your rituals, whatever they may be.
Finding self-love hasn’t always been smooth for me. I spent the majority of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough, allowing my insecurities and anxiety to swallow me whole. My journey to self-love is still constantly evolving. I have days where I wake up feeling so free, so content with myself, so real. Other days, I wake up shrouded with self-doubt and swarming with insecurities. But now, it’s all in how I handle that anxiety throughout my day, and that’s where self-love comes in.
Whether you’re searching for a way to turn down the volume of that overly-critical voice in your head or want to start 2019 on an authentic note, here are some of the go-to lessons I’ve learned about navigating self-love.
Around this time of year especially—oh hey 2019—there is an overwhelming pressure to quickly change ourselves for the better. In years past, I’ve found myself directing energy to what others were doing—like committing to be more fit with a new gym membership—and it caused me to compare their goals with mine. They were always doing more, and I wasn’t doing enough.
2019 is the year of breaking that pattern! The more you focus on what others are doing, the less attention you give yourself. And here’s a little piece of advice: whatever you are doing is enough. Whether it’s taking five minutes out of your day to go for a walk outside and meditate, signing up for weekly classes at your favorite yoga studio, or making the choice to start therapy, these decisions are yours and no one else’s. You don’t have to accomplish anything according to any timeline, so give yourself permission to move at your own pace.
What if your “weaknesses” were actually your strengths? For me, I had been living most of my life thinking that my sensitive nature was “too much.” A burden for the people around me. It wasn’t until I made a choice to start therapy almost three years ago that I was introduced to the idea that vulnerability is my superpower. It’s how I express myself and connect with others, so why would I hide it? Instead, I leaned into it. The world needs more of us softies, let’s show them how compassion is done.
Just like self-love isn’t always a walk in the park, setting boundaries can be challenging, too. Establishing healthy boundaries is a way to make space for your authenticity to shine—and it’s at the core of self-love. For me, setting boundaries always seemed like a negative thing until I started actively doing it. It’s not fun to put them in place, and you need to get honest with yourself as to why you left those doors open for so long. But in the end, it’s worth the growth. Remember that bringing these boundaries into your life is about you. You have all you need to experience your authentic self, so start trusting the lines you’re creating.
We all fear the dreaded “F” word–failure. This whole “self-love” train feels smooth when things are going well—you’re in a healthy relationship, you just got a promotion, etc.—but when we mess up, it’s not so easy.
It’s a revolutionary act to not only make mistakes, but to talk about them. How will I learn if I don’t delve into why I made that decision? Failure is the fire that fuels my growth; it teaches me how to turn right instead of left, and where I should shift my focus for the future. That’s why self-love is something I consistently practice.
It’s not an accomplishment, a gold star, or something you finish. I’ll be learning how to love myself all my life. It’s essential to keep pushing, keep working at this ritual of self-love for the moments when I’m anxious, worried, or things don’t go as planned. This healthy habit acts as the roots of my inner self, helping me to steer clear of negative self-talk when times are tough.
Creating a safe space for your authentic self to flourish takes time, effort, and investment. Whether it’s something small like leaving a party early, or a big decision like setting a boundary with someone close to you, make the art of self-love part of your daily practice and remember that you are worthy of loving yourself fully.
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.