Ways to Practice Self-Love
Posted on May 13th, 2017
It’s easy to equate happiness with perfect looks with so much image based social media. There is so much emphasis on perfection and staying ‘forever young’ that getting a wrinkle or even a gray hair can petrify anyone. Allow yoga to relieve these societal pressures!
In yoga, we recognize that attachment to the body creates suffering. The body is not permanent and it is inevitable that it will eventually deteriorate. Instead, stay connected to the soul, our true self that that knows peace, good vibes and contentment. Connecting to the soul requires self-love.
It’s not enough to practice self-love only on the days you are feeling negative or under pressure from society. Self-love requires continual effort and dedication. When practiced daily, we gain mental strength and endurance to help overcome external fluctuations and negative moments. Here are some ways that help me practice self-love:
Time is not unlimited
It may seem morbid but life doesn’t last forever. I try to think of life as a game and the quality depends on how we play our cards. If you focus on the negative or superficial such as appearance, ask yourself if it will matter in the long run. The hard truth is that looks fade but what really matters is what you cultivate on the inside. Redirect negative energy and transform it into a source of good vibes!
Eat good food
Unhealthy junk food manifests physically and emotionally. You may not be your ideal weight but eating good foods with nutrients is a form of self-care that helps you love where you are in that moment. Self-love doesn’t begin when you reach your ideal goal. Thinking only of the goal prevents you from living in the moment. It will only result in happiness on a superficial level. Real beauty comes from within. Eat well and appreciate the moment wherever you are in your journey.
We cannot change society’s pressures. We can, however, change our reactions to external stimuli and meditation is the ultimate superpower. It reconnects us with our true self and bypasses the ego that causes suffering. Breathe through the discomfort until you reach a state of peace. Remind yourself of the trillion cells in your body and view this little meditation as a self-love that makes each cell shine brighter.
Stagnation is considered toxic in yoga and Ayurveda. Move your body and increase that circulation! Try different classes and do activities that make you feel alive. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park your car further away than usual. Maintain good posture when you’re sitting so that energy can flow properly and you won’t feel lethargic and down.
Social media detox
Take a mini social media break when you begin to compare yourself to others on the internet. Make it a point to turn off your phone and do something that recharges your soul. Remember how present you felt when you were little? Reconnect to that inner child! Go to the beach or a park and really look at the waves or flowers. Less social media means more playful curiosity to explore the moment.
An amazing self-love practice is abhyanga, an ancient Ayurvedic practice which involves massaging oil onto the body. Abhynaga releases toxins from the body and keeps the body limber plus it dissolves emotional stress. Sesame oil is recommended for Vata types as it is calming for anxiety. Coconut or sunflower oil is recommended for Pitta who do best with cooling oils. Mustard and sesame oil are recommended for Kapha. Abhyanga is more than just applying oil to your body. It’s a meditation. Close your eyes and go inward. Connect to your soul and reconnect the mind-body relationship which often gets fractured during the day.
Don’t wait until feeling self-conscious to practice self-love. It should be done on a regular basis. The stronger and more consistent the practice, the more we can navigate the rough of waters of life feeling confident and happy. We all deserve to live our best lives so let’s work together to keep moving forward in a positive direction!