photo by Melinda Parrish
Yoga isn’t about pushing, forcing, exerting, or trying to achieve the posture.
In fact, these are the very things that get in the way of you and your practice. A good instructor will tell you that monitoring your breathing is the way to tell if you’re pushing too hard. If your breath is strained, forced, or constricted, you’re not realizing the full benefits of your practice. Yoga is about allowing your body to go as far as it can on a given day, as a way to show your body love through movement.
A lot of us think of self-care as splurges—that massage you have been waiting for or a big night out with friends. But for the most part, the way we treat ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis has the power to affect our state of being.
Our daily rituals have the potential to nurture a sense of ease that renews us in a life of adventure and challenges. The more moments we take to honor ourselves with love and kindness, the more we can give to our passions and loved ones every day. Here are six acts of self-care that require little commitment and almost no money. They will leave you feeling rested and ready to take on the world.
Though all types of yoga offer similar physical and psychological benefits, certain types also have their own unique twist. With Bikram (or hot) yoga, you’re experiencing the added benefit of detoxification. With power yoga, you’re getting a focus on burning calories. So what about the latest craze in the industry—laughter yoga?
I’ve been sitting with this idea all week long and it’s been a little challenging. You see, the idea of connection came to me when I sat at San Dominican University last weekend, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, to pay tribute to a special young man I had only just begun to know.
When it comes to our bodies, we as women tend to place a great deal of pressure on ourselves to achieve certain results. We deprive ourselves and push ourselves in order to whittle down, tighten up, drop dress sizes, and increase our level of attractiveness. We exalt uber-thin (sometimes, dangerously thin) bodies through images of “thinspiration.” We put these images out on social media and tell the world, “This is what I’m striving for.”
Diet and exercise. We’ve heard for years that those two habits are important when it comes to weight loss. Most studies say that your diet is more important, but exercise helps. But does it really help? And if so, how much?
A guest post from Two Fit Moms.
Four years ago, we began sharing our love of yoga on Instagram by posting snapshots and picture tutorials of some of our favorite poses. With young kids at home, we rarely made it out to attend classes at yoga studios, but we loved to practice at home. We had a passion for connecting with others and sharing whatever we learned on our mats, so we posted photos often and helped build a virtual yoga community. We hoped to be able to reach a larger audience one day, and seeing that dream come true through our relationship with Gaiam has been a surreal experience.
Disclaimer: I’m a hardwired introvert. As a child, my solitary tendencies were so severe that they led me to avoid school events, birthday parties, and especially (gulp) team sports. Fast forward 30 years, and my reserve has eroded into a softer, more socially acceptable version. I’ve still been called “distant,” “hard-to-know,” and—one of my personal favorites—“pleasantly reserved,” but I now traverse the meandering path between poised conversationalist and social escape artist.
It’s mid-morning and I’ve just finished a client’s photo edits. Light pours into our living room through south-facing windows, tiny dust particles dancing and defying gravity in the rays. I place my meditation cushion in the center of the rug, my brass singing bowl sitting off to the side. I turn my phone’s ringer off and set my timer for 20 minutes. With one swift tap of the velvet-covered stick, the singing bowl chimes a long, unwavering sound that slowly fades. I close my eyes, inhale through my nose, and exhale through my mouth. “Hello,” I say.
If you’re a fan of social media, you’re probably getting used to seeing frequent stories about people innocently posting photos of themselves, only to find that “body-shamers” have come out of the woodwork to make negative comments about their looks, their hair, their clothing choices, their weight…you name it.