I’m just back from an overdue massage and boy do I feel great. While I was on the table it became clear that this good topic to write about. To me, the act of yoga is one of self-care, but in my experience, it is not enough.
How do you self-care? Take a moment to think about the things you do that help you with your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. I hope you have a nice list of things. If not, perhaps now is the time to consider how you can do more for yourself.
In regard to yoga practice, remember it is much more than physical activity. While asana gets all the press, I hope you are doing more than the physical practice. What does that mean? To me, a comprehensive yoga practice includes meditation and regular Yoga Nidra. The act of stilling the mind and the body in a systematic way is essential to your self-care regime. I’m my membership you can access practices that focus on meditation and dozens more Yoga Nidra practices with specific focuses. It really is a treasure trove of self-care!
When I did my certification training for Yoga Nidra it was some of the most powerful yoga I’ve ever done. I encourage you to explore these and other self-care-focused practices. Not yet a member, why not sign up now?
Reflecting back on my younger years I see how much time I spent socializing which included imbibing and not necessarily making choices that were healthy. I started with regular massage around the same time that I deepened my yoga practice about 20 years ago. It was also at that time that I stepped away from alcohol, going to bars, and caffeine consumption. A huge shift that I am grateful for. I also made somewhat radical changes to my diet.
I was definitely starting on my path of holistic living which included more self-care. I was learning how to experience yoga in a more complete way, dabbling in Reiki and spending less time socializing, learning how to be a vegetarian, and more time was spent on my inner journey. I consciously stepped away from people whose energies no longer aligned with mine. These early years were more focused on healing.
In the last decade, I’ve mellowed a bit. I do drink my black tea. I enjoy a bit of red wine. I participate in activities that align with my values. I’m totally at peace with doing things solo because a huge part of my healing and self-care has been learning to love myself. Completely!
My massage therapist has been working on me for 20 years. I’m so grateful for his unique skills. As a competitive cyclist who became the soigneur for the nation’s cycling teams, he really knows the body well and I believe brings spiritual energy to his work. Simply lovely.
My massage today was interesting. I had somehow let three months pass without one. It was one of those massages where I didn’t do much talking but allowed myself to be still as my muscles and tissues were manipulated by his skilled fingers. Yoga breathing really helps with the intense spots. I use a smooth and controlled breathing technique as some of the long and slightly painful strokes occur. It’s amazing to me how potent the breath is in this regard. Those of you who’ve given birth know this power well.
When the massage was over I felt a deep mind-body connection. The stillness of the 90 minutes always takes me to a place of equanimity. The bliss of a good massage is more than just a physical thing, with the right therapist it can be a spiritual experience as well.
You may be exploring self-care modes. I know a few people who are working with healers to address diet and eating patterns that no longer serve them. These changes have profound impacts not only in regard to feeling better physically but positively impacting mental well-being.
Other self-care I'm doing include getting into nature and heading out for regular walks. Thank you, COVID-19!
If you’re deliberating on what to do for self-care and want to chat about it, why not book a free 30-minute consultation.