We’ve all heard the phrase that you have to love yourself before you can fully love someone else, right? Likewise, by fostering love and compassion for ourselves, we will create energy to share thiat love and compassion with others, putting it out into the world. Yoga creates amazing opportunities for us to show love and compassion towards ourselves.
First, just getting to your yoga class, rolling out your mat and committing the next hour or so for YOU, is nothing short of amazing and a huge act of self-love. With all the demands in life and the number of things competing for your time and energy, it’s important you make time for yourself and do something that enriches your soul, every day. Whether that’s making it to a yoga class or maybe taking time for a short flow on your own, reading, journaling, listening to your favorite album, cooking or whatever you need for yourself, that day, show yourself love and compassion by carving out some time for you.
Second, there’s this thing in yoga we call Santosa, or contentment, meaning non-compete. One of the yoga philosophies is that yoga should not create competition, whether that be with your neighbor in class, a yogi-celeb’s instagram account or most importantly, yourself. I forget this all the time. It’s easy to want to push yourself, achieve more, go further, etc., but sometimes (okay, often) we need to take a step back and remember this philosophy. You see, every day is different. Your patterns are different, your movements are different, your schedule is different, what you eat is different… I could go on, right? So, why should your yoga class and poses not be different? Yesterday, I nailed my handstand, so now I should always nail my handstand, right? But instead, I should show myself love and compassion by acknowledging my success from the day before and allowing today to be what it is. This is tough. I know. But it’s a good lesson to learn and something to come back to the next time you’re trying to push yourself to do what you did the day before when your body is telling you today is not the day.
Lastly, we give you Savasana. For many of us, those 5 minutes at the end of class lying in Savasana are the only minutes we will be still, thoughtless and awake during the day. Your body needs these moments to recharge. This is sometimes the hardest pose of the class, because you’re asked to do nothing. Literally nothing. And think of nothing. And just be. This is self-love at it’s finest. Allow yourself this time to just be. Thoughts will creep in from time to time, but be conscious to quiet them and let yourself have the remaining time free from everything.
During the month of February, focus on fostering love and compassion for yourself and see if it transcends externally in your world.