In the love month of February where there’s lots of heart balloons and chocolates floating around and we traditionally celebrate romantic love with a partner. This month can also be an opportunity to master the art of self- love. The practice of self- love can go hand in hand with the niyama of svadhyaya, which is the practice of self -study. With yoga at Shree there are many ways we can practice self love on the mat.
First of all, set your intention for your practice. Setting an intention brings attention to a quality or virtue that you want to grow in your practice in the studio or out in the real world. Examples of intentions can be patience, gratitude, forgiveness, being present, releasing negativity, or building inner strength. Self love comes through the intention coming to fruition and the understanding of the power that is inherent in our thoughts. The niyama of svadhyaya plays a part in intention setting for self love, in that when we set an intention and the intention is realized, then we have the experience of discovering our true nature of mind, which is essential to an exploration of self.
The next method for finding self-love during our yoga practice is to listen to your body and modify when needed. We all have different bodies and we all intuitively know when it’s time to back off. Don’t ever feel like you have to do every pose. Find what’s accessible to your body. You may even want to deepen a pose. Use props. Often a prop, such as a block, will enable you to get into a pose in a manner that provides the body with better alignment, rather then trying to push it, which often throws the body into contortions that are just not yoga, not good for the body. Performing what your body is telling you without being ashamed, because you’re not doing the full expression of the pose or you feel like you can take it further by doing a more challenging variation of an asana, is showing self-love. Offer yourself patience.
Finally, expressing gratitude through positive affirmations about your practice while on the mat is another path to self-love and self-study. Instead of letting our monkey mind (the continuous chattering thoughts that go from one negative thought to another) take over when wyouare moving through your vinyasa, remind yourself of your own power. Love every part of your body. Transform your difficult poses where you struggle into positive confirmation of your ability to love yourself. At the end of yoga class always give thanks to your body for its ability to take you through your practice. Congratulate yourself for showing your body self-love by going to yoga.
Transform the spirit of the love month of February to give yourself the gift of self-love. Setting intentions, listening to your body, and expressing gratitude are all techniques in yoga where we can further our love for ourselves. Thereby, we will also practice the niyama of svadhyaya (self-study). Self-love leads to self study. Look forward to seeing everyone showing themselves self-love on the mat at Shree.