Yoga for Self-Care

I’m a huge advocate of self-care and with this being self-care awareness week in the UK, I wanted to share my thoughts in this blog, on what I believe self-care to really be and the benefits of having a regular, if not daily self-care practice.

How often to you give to others, without much regard for giving to yourself? How often do you just keep going, even though you haven’t eaten, taken a break or are feeling stressed out.  How often do you not ask for help when you really need it, because you don’t want to trouble anybody?   How often have you ignored warning signals from your body to slow down, but just kept pushing on?

Having a nice bubble bath, facial or massage is definitely a form of self-care. It’s that and so much more!  Self-care is an important aspect of self-love.  It really means checking in with yourself, asking yourself what you need and giving that to yourself without guilt!

The danger of not giving yourself some self-care is burn-out, resentment and sometimes even illness. Stress is so prevalent in today’s world and is actually the root cause of a lot of chronic diseases and deaths.  So self-care is not selfish at all!  It’s essential for your health and wellbeing.

‘But I have no time for self-care!’, you might be thinking. I would really challenge that thought and try this re-frame on for size ‘my health and wellbeing is not a priority for me right now’ because that’s what you’re really saying!

I totally get the busy-ness of life these days, especially if you have a family and people to care for. Self-care really doesn’t have to take any great length of time though.  It could just be something as simple as pausing to just breathe deeply for few minutes, asking for help, having a cry when you need it or waking up 10 minutes early to just lie in peace for 10 minutes!

For me, Yoga is the ultimate self-care and my daily practice is my self-care routine. It allows me to check in with myself and my body to see how I’m doing.  It often brings things up to the surface that need my attention and I always feel so much better after practicing, even for a few minutes!  Yoga is much bigger than just the asanas (postures) and sometimes I just go into 1 pose and breath for a few minutes or skip the asana and just meditate.  That’s all Yoga!

Quick Daily Self-Care Ritual

Here is 1 simple little self-care ritual that only takes 10 minutes every morning and allows you to check in, connect with your inner self and set yourself up for the day in a caring and gentle way!

  1. Grab a journal and pen and have it next to you.
  2. Get into your favourite introspective and grounding Yoga pose. Things like forwards folds, pigeon pose or child’s pose work great for this.  I’m demonstrating baddha konasana (butterfly pose) in the picture above.  I’m doing a more Yin version where I’m taking my heels further away from me and just letting my head drop into my chest as I hang forward. You can do this in your PJ’s and even in your bed if you feel like it!!
  3. Get into the pose and breath, taking nice long slow inhales and exhales.
  4. Ask yourself ‘how am I doing?’ and ‘what can I do today to feel happy and healthy?’
  5. Stay in the pose for about 2 minutes and then grab your journal and write a page about what came up.  If nothing came up just start writing and see what come out.
  6. If you get any golden nuggets of advice – take it!

So there you have it! A short, simple Yoga based, self-care daily ritual, that you don’t even need to get dressed to do!  In practice the ritual can be anything that feels good to you.  As long as you are pausing to look inwards and taking heed of what you find.

I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy before when flying, where they tell you to put on your own mask first, before helping others with theirs. Self-care is really all about being the happiest and healthiest version of you, so that you can give to others from that space, which is so much nicer for them and more importantly, for you!

What do your mornings look like? What can you do to build in a self-care daily check-in?  Do you already have a self-care practice?  I’d love to know in the comments below!

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