Taking Care of Yourself with Yoga

Taking Care of Yourself with Yoga

A Self Care Routine to Guide You Through All Chapters of Life...

Do me a favor + try this, would ya? Place your left hand over your belly, then place your right hand over your heart. When you’re ready, (*after reading the remainder of this paragraph) close your eyes, slowly take a deep inhale through your nose -- when you’re ready, part your lips and slowly exhale. You can do this a couple of times if you’re vibing with it - gently open your eyes whenever you feel ready to continue reading.

Hey you - how are you feeling? I hope that breath brought you as much ease and relief as it tends to bring me :) Whether you are juggling a fast-paced lifestyle or experiencing uncertainty during these times, we learn to mold + adapt and many are turning to self care more than ever(which we love!). Yoga as a form of self care can help to promote overall well-being by means of strengthening your self intuition, encouraging healthy habits + a supportive routine, and keeping your mind + body lively. 

Strengthen Your Self Intuition
Has choosing what to have for lunch ever felt like you were making a life changing decision that you simply couldn’t decide? We often believe that making choices out of a rational mindset will ensure success and happiness. However, at what cost when deciding what is for lunch gives you crippling anxiety?(Lol, it me sometimes) Meditation is the most common and effective practice towards honoring your intuition or your ‘inner voice’. To prepare our body for meditation, we practice our asana (the physical and most commonly known side of yoga) and prana (intentional breath). With the combination of all of these practices we are able to further separate our thoughts from our minds and explore the space in between where our intuition lives. Once you gain this deeper insight of what your ‘inner voice’ is saying, the more freely you are able to make decisions without worrying of what the consequences may be. Trust yourself. The more that you encourage yourself each day to make this a habit, you will feel closer to your ‘inner voice’.

Healthy Habits + A Supportive Routine
How many times have you told yourself “Starting Monday - I’m hitting the gym 6 days a week”, then after a few days you throw yourself a bone and tell yourself you’ll do better next week. Building habits is tough business! Believe me, I know. I drink mostly water now, but years ago when I was thirsty mid-sleep at 3am, I’d go for a can of Diet Coke instead(yikes!) It has been said that when yoga is practiced with sensitivity and attention, you gradually gain more awareness. And with this new found awareness, you begin to further notice the impact of your behaviours. Once you’re more aware, you are available to facilitate choices that support how you’d rather feel. For example, maybe you notice whenever you get less than 7 hours of sleep, you feel cranky. Realizing this, you set an alarm to get to sleep earlier and support better rest. By holding yourself accountable to stepping on your mat, you will also encourage other habits of your life to shift and mold to your desires.  

Keeping your Mind + Body Lively 
The benefits that a yoga practice offers your mind and body are unlimited! Here are just a few of my favourites: 

  • Enhanced energy + overall happiness - being able to move more freely, you are encouraging more ease and joy in your day
  • Improved flexibility + strength - holding postures for a few rounds of breath you are inviting strength and length into the targeted muscles of each posture
  • Better posture - your resting posture may begin to correct over an extended period of time due to increased openness in your muscles 
  • Healthy heart - with the increase of blood circulation throughout your body, you help to strengthen your heart's contractions
  • Less stress - decreased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that influences levels of serotonin, helps you feel more relaxed and stress free
  • Speedier metabolism - getting your body moving/blood flowing, you improve your digestion and circulation 
  • Detoxification - compressing your organs in ‘twisting postures’ gives your internal organs a cleanse
  • Promotes relaxation + good sleep - physical practice stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system so you feel more relaxed in your mind and body for rest

There are many different styles of yoga and none of them are wrong! The most important things are that you’re open to trying and that you have fun with whatever you stick with :) 

5 Simple Ways to Jumpstart + Commit to Your Yoga Practice:

  1. Plan for it! Schedule time into your week that you will commit to your mat and stick to it. This will help you to create consistency! It’s ok to start small(maybe 2 days a week at first), then if you crave more you can always add another day and so forth! 
  2. Make your space comfortable! Move small furniture pieces to ensure you have space(get creative and maybe even try the kitchen). Burn your favourite candles/incense/sage, play light music, wear your favourite sweats, bring something yummy + hydrating to sip on, etc. Whatever it is - just make it yours! 
  3. Take care of yourself! Instill other habits in your life that support your practice such as drinking plenty of water,  getting ample + quality sleep, having a well rounded diet, journaling, meditation, etc. Really, just those simple but effective feel-good things. 
  4. Leave judgements at the door! Similarly to how we are constantly changing in life, your practice will do that too. Some days your practice may feel light + invigorating and others days slow + challenging, and everything in between too. Work towards a mindset of accepting wherever you may be when you step on your mat each time. 
  5. Unsure what to do once you’re on your mat? Find an instructor you vibe with! Yoga looks and feels different on everyone, so it’s important to find someone you feel connected to. And in these current times of isolation, you still have an abundance of options at your fingertips via the internet! 

{Some options: zoom private instruction, apps, online class services,

instagram lives, etc.)

If practicing yoga is something you are interested in implementing - I challenge you to hop on your mat twice this week! For however long you want :) Feel free to DM me (via Instagram @heyelleryder) photos/videos of your practice, let me know how you’re feeling and ask any further questions you may have! Until then, namaste {the light in me, honours the light in you} 

xo Elle

About the Author
Elle Ryder

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