As Valentine's day approaches we may be excited to celebrate the day, for others it may be an eye rolling moment. Regardless of what day it is we can celebrate our bodies, our minds and our relationships, whether this is shared with a partner or on our own.
The biggest relationship we will ever have in our lives is with ourselves.
Within our yoga practice we move our bodies into all sorts of poses to stretch, to strengthen, to create space and to calm the mind. How can our physical yoga practice boost our mindset and uplift our spirits? When we attend a class the teacher often has an intention or an area of the body they want to work with, the hips and in particular the psoas are areas that are linked to emotional discomfort, trauma and self protection. When we feel we need to close from the world our body responds by becoming smaller and can lead to contracted psoas muscles. As we become smaller and withdraw into ourselves the shoulders round, the chest becomes tight, our breath becomes shallow, our lower back aches and our hips become uncomfortable. By exploring postures that allow you to be open and use the full surface area of the mat you start to find space physically and emotionally. You stand tall, you feel open enough to face the day with awareness and beauty, you are truly happy from the inside out.
Butterfly (especially reclined)
Supported fish pose (delicious)
Cobra or Sphinx pose
Here's a blog post with 5 heart opening postures for you to enjoy:
When we think of massage we often think of someone else doing it for us, but what would you say if I told you that self massage is just as beneficial. Not only does it boost circulation, improve elasticity of the skin & muscles it can also be an incredible way to induce relaxation.
Self massage is a beautiful way to get back in touch with yourself, it can be done any time of day and is a really nice way to start or end a yoga practice, it's also a lovely way of 'seeing' your body with your senses rather than visually.
+ Take 10-20 minutes to sit with yourself, clothed or unclothed and slowly guiding the hands towards the heart, it can be a light stroke, a firm squeeze or a slow rubbing technique. Start from the feet and slowly work towards the head and scalp.
+ In Ayurveda there is a practice called Abhyanga, it includes warm oil, the benefits of the oil can penetrate deeper into the skin and can balance about the bodies constitutions (Doshas).
The massage (with or without oil) can increase blood flow to certain areas of the body and aid in healing, lubricate joints and reduce physical tension and discomfort.
Ayurveda honours the skin as a major organ which passes everything through to the internal organs, what we put on our skin is incredibly important for our health and well being.
+ Warming oils are almond oil or untoasted sesame oil. (Sesame oil link)
+ Cooling oils are coconut oil or ghee.
Dry brushing is also a practice that can be explored along side self massage, have you tried it? https://www.wildloveyoga.com/post/benefits-of-dry-brushing
Working with the Sacral chakra can release a lot of stored emotions, your body has an amazing ability of HOLDING ON, much like our memories, whether they are good or bad, you body doesn't forget them. We can use meditation to process and release thoughts within the mind and we can use our yoga practice to do the same with our emotionally stored physical discomforts. The sacral chakra is all about movement, freedom and sensuality, really learning to LET GO of physical rigidity and boundaries. Visualise the ground, the earth and the solidity. Now visualise the sea, the tides, the constant rhythm that doesn't hold a form, which of those makes you feel calmer within yourself? Fluidity allows us to accept and adapt where we are and continue exploring out of curiosity, nothing stands in our way because we have the freedom to flow.
+ Read more on the sacral chakra here:
Being honest and respectful towards yourself is one of the most valuable things you can do in your life. This starts by creating healthy boundaries, ask yourself right in this moment do you have them? Healthy boundaries are where you honour yourself, where you can identify what is and isn't good for you. It's very easy for us to fall into cycles of habitual behavior until we ourselves learn to put a stop to it, we need to take the time to understand what we will and won't accept in our lives.
+ Stop saying yes when you actually mean NO!
+ Give yourself permission to feel your emotions.
+ If you don't want to do something, don't do it.
+ Be open and honest, even when you're at fault.
+ Be clear with your intentions or actions.
+ Reflect on the past and present moment.
+ People can't mind read so be clear if you feel hurt, misunderstood or unhappy.
Allow yourself to show up every day as your authentic self. It is one of the most empowering things you can do, and it can profoundly enrich your relationship with yourself.
Affirmations have an impact on our day to day activities, rather than waking up and looking in the mirror and telling yourself something negative start telling yourself something positive! The energy you put out, the energy you will get back.
Don't hide! Speak them aloud as you go through your morning routine, in the car, on your walk, before bed. If you're in a relationship you may get a few laughs but it will also start shining into other areas of your life, even your children!
I am kind and loving. I am compassionate and truly care for others.
I believe in myself.
I love who I have become.
I am authentic and true.
I am free to express my emotions.
I can overcome any challenge life gives me.
I respect myself deeply.
Being confident in myself comes naturally to me.
I am a unique and a very special person.
Mistakes are opportunities to learn.
I hope you can take many things from this blog post, that love isn't just about those butterflies in your stomach or a lust for someone. It's also about how you're moving through life with a connection to you, as your true self, what you want in life and how you can be incredibly happy with your journey to self love!
“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” - Jean Shinoda Bolen
All my love,