On the very first day of our Beginner’s Yoga Course, we sit in an open circle and introduce ourselves. We share our personal big why for starting Yoga now. When asked what self-care looks like for each person, many (surprisingly) smirk and share “I showered before I came today” or “Went to the beach last summer and that felt good” and “sleeping in whenever I can” is a popular response.
Some are hilarious to hear and hard to believe but it is a big reality for many working, parenting, highly committed and very dependable adults these days. There are many reasons why Self-care is not a conscious item on our To-Do lists and one major reason research has found is the person’s unconscious belief system on achieving success.
Have you recently asked yourself how success feels and looks for you? What might you eat, think, feel and act like if you were successful? How close are you to feeling like the best version of yourself? Do you regularly stop and check-in on how you are feeling?
Many adults believe sacrificing attention to their own wellbeing is a greater demonstration of their love and commitment to others. Although self-sacrificial, this is how majority of us train ourselves to be “better performing" people in our careers and personal lives. Albeit, mostly unconsciously, this way of thinking also becomes a major reason for failure in performance and enjoyment of success in life.
Self-care is probably commonly associated with signing up to a gym to get "stronger", eating healthy to keep "extra weight off" or enjoying a remedial massage for "pain relief". However self-care is a lot less reactive to health problems, and concerns more with the person’s current state of being. Self-care in fact does not worry about the look, but it delivers better physiology, greater mental clarity and self-awareness that helps navigate through stressful experiences of life. It helps us generate positive states in mind and body to enable better or best overall performance and enjoy the successes of life on a long term scale. Self-care is a tool for perpetual wellness.
If this resonates with you, and you are ready to learn how, we have some useful tips for you to get started right now. We want you to go to the gym and the day spa and we also recommend you spend 10minutes every hour of your day to stop and notice your breath. If you notice that you’re breathing through your chest alone, shallowly and fast we recommend you do this: 1. Sit up straight, 2. Relax your shoulders, 3.Take very slow and long breaths using your abdomen and chest. 4. Mentally say “I am relaxing”.
Do this for 10 minutes every hour of your day for at least 3 days in a row. And check back with us to let us know how you went. One of the fundamental pillars of a Yoga practice is consciously taking deeper breaths giving immense benefits to all its students.
So, self-care ultimately boils down to taking small steps to develop lifelong skills which give you time and energy back with greater appreciation for what really matters. With regularity, each time you practice your self-care routine, you create a perpetual change toward positive emotions and a physiology that gives you a sense of success, regularly and naturally.
Here at Seva, service begins with service to ourselves.
Supriya Roy (Adv. Dip Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Founder of Seva Yoga)