Feeling stressed? Anxious? Struggling with body pain? These trying times call for “extreme self care” and for all of us to learn more about how to release stress and heal our suffering. Creative solutions could include simple things such as drinking more water, eating simpler home cooked food, quiet time away from screens, playing outside in nature and— a dedicated home yoga practice.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about dedicating some time to take care of yourself:
Need a visual reminder?
Designate a space in your home where you can leave your mat and other props out. If they are easily accessible, chances are better that you will use them. I am lucky to have an entire room, but if this is not possible, at least keep your yoga props in a tidy basket so they are visible and you don’t have to dig them out of a closet every time you want to use them.
Make your practice all about healing your body. Begin with simply giving attention to whatever part of you needs it the most and let your time on the mat evolve from there. I have small tears in my meniscus which sometimes cause pain, and when that happens I know to practice the actions in hip openers that relieve the pain and re-track my knee. When my body was healing from shingles, I had to back off of my physical practice, focusing more on myo-fascial release massage with balls and blocks to relieve the nerve pain. Use blocks, balls or blankets to release tight fascia and do simple poses with steady breathing for best results.
Here’s a secret for you – I do not take the time for a full asana practice every day, I intend to do an hour of some type of physical practice each day, but there just isn’t always enough time for a daily hour of yoga! Sometimes I choose weight training or cardio because all of those are beneficial and keep me in balance. If our aim is self care, then even riding a bike can be yoga, or body-mind connection. If you are tired or low energy, perhaps a simple restorative pose such as legs up the wall or savasana will be the perfect remedy. The ability to self-soothe is one of the greatest gifts of yoga and you are worth it! Take some time for extreme self care.
Need a little more enticement?
Play your favorite music or burn some incense if you like. Do whatever makes you feel nurtured and supported. Lately, I’ve been putting on some inspiring mood music such as Ayub Ogada “Obiero”, and sometimes I go for something like Trevor Hall or Nahko or just practice in the quiet with no music at all – I let my current mood decide.
Having a set routine is nice, and it’s ideal to set aside time for some type of practice every day, but if all we can squeeze in is 10 minutes of legs up the wall or meditation at the beginning or end of our day that is enough —— you are enough.