WHAT IS SELF CARE?
What does self care mean to you and can you allow time for yourself without self judgement? Self care crosses into many different areas of life – it can be about how you talk to yourself, learning to slow down and honouring your time, adding meditation into your day, or as simple as your morning cuppa ritual of quiet ‘me time’. Andrea Ferretti, host of the Yogaland Podcast defines self care as “the conscious act of taking care of your needs so that you can best serve your purpose, or dharma, in the world’. With this definition in mind self care is not just an inward journey, it is also about being of service to the world around us – this is why self care should never be considered self indulgent. Another way of looking at it is putting your gas mask on first before you tend to others. Speak kindly to yourself and you paved the way for kindness to others.
START YOUR YEAR WITH SELF CARE
I’m currently doing a ‘Start your year with Self Care’ online course with Andrea and I’m absolutely loving it. This three week meditation and self reflection programme makes this sometimes tricky subject for some incredibly accessible and doable - in terms of the ability to accept the importance of self care and seeing that the time required to embed this in your everyday life is not overwhelming. Each week four meditations and a podcast with Andrea and Jason Crandell are unlocked for you to work through in your own time. There is the option to journal after each meditation and a Self Care Workbook to help you work out what self care means to you. As I finish off week three I’m contemplating how I can apply the principles I have learnt beyond the comfort and guidance of the programme. Naturally for me the best place to start is on my mat.
EXPLORING SELF CARE IN YOUR PRACTICE
The self care of yoga and meditation helps you stay present and tune in to self awareness – making conscious choices easier to tap into throughout your day. This sequence gives lots of opportunities to ask yourself ‘which asana nourishes me?’. Hips will be opened; spines will be flexed, extended and twisted; and the strong muscles of your legs will be charged. As you flow through this sequence notice which poses you enjoy and which challenge you physically and mentally. Build a picture of what is your unique self care through yoga is. After your practice ask yourself ‘what will I do differently today to take care of myself?’
Move slowly and pause in each of the poses long enough to register how they sit with you. The peak pose of this sequence is Camatkarasana/Wild Thing, which is a pose with nowhere to hide! Love it or hate it, it brings up emotions. It is a full body backbend, a strong arm balance and an inversion as the heart is higher than the head. Read through these alignment cues to get the most out of your pose and feel it ripple through your whole body.
From Vasisthasana/Side Plank, step your left foot behind your right leg with a bent knee, inhale here.
Exhale, ground into your right foot to lift your hips up and arch your upper back.
Rotate your left palm to face the front of the mat, sweep your arm up and over your ear.
Arch through your whole back, lengthen your neck and softly reach your head back, expand through the collarbones and open through your heart centre, gaze up.
I highly recommend Andrea Ferretti’s wonderful online self care meditation course. The course is a real time three week session with interaction with Andrea and an optional Facebook group, which is the type of online course I find I get so much more out of. Pop yourself on her waiting list to be notified of the next session.
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Ruth Delahunty Yogaru