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I like to remind my students that yoga happens just as much off the mat as it does on the mat. The physical movement is just a tiny piece of the overall practice. So, how do you practice yoga #offthemat?
Here’s a couple of go-to tips and tricks for you to try throughout your day, no matter how busy you are!
Feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, stressed, upset? Block your calendar for 5 to 10 minutes and find a quiet place to sit—or put on headphones with relaxing music. Sit with your feet on the ground, hands in your lap, and close your eyes. Inhale slow and deep. Pause. Exhale slow and deep.. that’s one. Do this sequence up to 10 times and repeat. If you lose count (or focus), start from the beginning. Sometimes, I only get to three! That’s why it is called a practice. Once the timer goes off, take a moment to reflect on how you feel and then slowly open your eyes and tackle your day with a much calmer state of mind.
One of the five niyamas (the second limb of yoga dealing with self-discipline) “saucha” refers to cleanliness and clarity of your mind. In my opinion, a clear space can help keep your mind clear. Knowing where everything is and having a tidy space will also help you feel more centered and in control for when things in life become stressful or unpredictable. Protip: Feeling like you are in a rut? Re-organize your desk! Sometimes just moving things around can help bring a creative spark back.
Need a reset in the middle of the day? Block your calendar for 5 to 10 minutes and again, find a quiet place to sit—or put on headphones with relaxing music. Try scanning your body mentally from head to toe. You can do this seated at your desk (just make sure it’s quiet, and no one will interrupt you). Take three gentle, deep breathes in and out and then close your eyes. Imagine a wave of warm, soft, and relaxing energy is slowly moving down your body from the crown of your head, to your shoulders, arms, torso, hips, legs, and feet. Spend about three to five breathes in each area. Once you reach the bottom, slowly open your eyes and feel the relaxed and clear state you have achieved!
Last of all, practice gratitude daily—even on the toughest day. A bit of gratitude will remind you of the good things you have in life. Namaste!
When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do.
How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?
As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.
When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:
In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect.
Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.
When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:
In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.
Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion.
When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:
That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain.