Sometimes it feels like there is nothing harder than loving ourselves. Patterns and conditioning from our life events or environment can adversely affect our skills of loving who we are, right now, in this very moment. There are lots of different ways to help boost our self-esteem, or love of ourselves, and the internet is full of suggestions. Here are three ways I’ve learned to love myself more through yoga.
Keep Showing Up
No matter what I think of myself on any one day, I try to show up for my practice. If I don’t show up for my practice, I practice compassion for myself and reflect upon the reasons I missed it the next day when I get back on the mat or meditation cushion. I’ve learned that consistency is key – and that I don’t have to make it “right” to show up. When I first started yoga practice, I thought I needed to have the right amount of time, the right clothes, the right sequence of postures and many more impossible perfections to make my yoga practice worth it. What I know now, after 15 years of practice, is that the only important thing is that I show up. Some days are great – I’ve had enough sleep, I feel good and I rock it out. Some days SUCK – I feel terrible, I only have 5 minutes or I can’t do anything because of an injury or illness. The gift I keep giving myself is my own presence.
Listen To Those Who Love Me – and Laugh!
Ever have a moment when you pause and say to yourself, “You know, so-and-so told me that about myself years ago.” This has been happening a lot to me lately, and I realize that it’s because I’m getting better at listening. I am less afraid of hearing the things I’ve failed at – and a major component of that is a really good sense of humor. Those who love me deeply are the best people to tell me about exactly where I am at – and I’ve learned that friends who stick with you really do have a way of being able to hold me accountable to my highest self through rib-rocking, nose-snorting laughter about how silly & stupid we can be sometimes. Being human can be hilarious!
Take time to Nourish Myself with Self-Massage
This is a profound technique that I learned this year. Abhyanga, or warm oil self-massage, is a deep act of self-love. A few minutes a day of applying nourishing oils that contain beneficial herbs gives you a multitude of benefits: relaxation, quiet time, self-awareness, improved skin quality and much more. With the rhythmic patterns of massaging of your own body, another benefit is found: acceptance & awareness of who you are right now. Sweet, kind and loving feelings may arise from this practice naturally, with no effort on your part to change your own thought patterns. Doesn’t that sound worth a try?