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Yoga as Self Care

Not long ago, I was preparing to head into my busiest teaching schedule of the year. The preparation included foreseeing the future a bit, pre planning meals, planning classes, delegating tasks and asking for some short term help at the studio. I knew I’d need every ounce of energy possible to be fully present in the upcoming trainings and classes. I was fortifying the reserves of my body, the studio and my mind in anticipation for the near future.

Two days before it all was to begin I received personal news that rocked me. It was the kind of news that plunges you into a state of shock and despair so dark that only the basic of human necessities gets you out of the pajama clad, curled up position on your bed. I rehashed the past and grieved the future. My life fell apart.

I had no idea how I was going to pull it together to be in a position of service to others when I couldn’t even help myself.

Yoga continues to save my life. The tools of yoga are specifically designed to clear out what is no longer needed in the body, mind and heart so that your energy isn’t bogged down by bodily tensions and frivolous thoughts. Through the practice of yoga, you have more energy for what really matters.

So in response to my world crumbling, I recommitted to using the tools of yoga (poses, breathwork and meditation) and once again yoga became strong medicine. It reminded me of my own self worth and what I need to nourish myself with in order to feel balanced.

In my past life as a flight attendant, I learned the value of applying the oxygen mask to yourself first in an emergency situation so that you are better able to help those in need. This is the premise of self care. We are of no use to our families, friends or work when our batteries are depleted. Yoga can be that battery replenishment if you let it. The simple act of showing up on your mat- carving out some time in your life to dedicate to your own well-being- is a proclamation that your health and sanity are important. Every time you go inside to feel a stretch or watch your breathing, you chose to pay attention to what is happening in the present moment rather than rehashing old thoughts or telling stories to yourself about the future. Happiness research shows that those who spend more time in “present momentness” enjoy higher levels of happiness.

You spend time and energy on that which is of value to you. Time on the mat breathing consciously, moving consciously and being discerning about your thoughts, adds quality to life. It affects the way you see and relate to the world. When I can be fully present for friends and family or immerse myself into the activities and work I love, my life feels juicy and rich. Self care: the backbone of a succulent life.


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