“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” ― Eleanor Brownn
I have been thinking about self care this week. I am participating in the Grow Yoga Intensive here at Sangha Space and we were asked to come up with a self- care practice and to make time to do things for ourselves each day. I thought it would be super easy to do. Duh, Yoga. That’s got self -care written all over it. And I practice lots! But, when I really started to think about it, it’s not as simple as that. Yes, my yoga practice is an act of self -care, but lately when I am on my mat in a yoga studio I am coming from it with my yoga teacher brain. I am in the practice but not entirely. I am often thinking about the wording a teacher uses and how they explain things or the way they link movements together. I am thinking of their cues and the general feeling of the class. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It helps me experience yoga in a different way. I think that once I am more experienced as a teacher it will not take me out of it as much. I have experienced this more lately. I just started teaching a few new classes and I am pretty sure that is why I am having a hard time shutting off my brain in that way. With this in mind I decided that I needed to take the self -care awareness as an opportunity to really do a few things for myself and my own pleasure.
Here are three things I did this week to honor myself:
1. Seated meditation for a few minutes each day. There was a time in the not too distant past that I sat in meditation every day. I would increase the time by a few minutes each day until I got up to 40 minutes. It was a great practice. Then I didn’t make time for a day. And then another day and then another day. Next thing I know I am so discouraged with myself that I just stop altogether. I decided to try to do it again. This time though I am not going to be so hard on myself if I can’t sit for more than a few minutes. That’s not the point. It’s okay if I miss a day. I can always go back.
2. “Little Bird” by the Weepies. I have apparently had the song Little Bird on my mp3 player for months and months and never listened to it. I often add music to my player that I think can be used for yoga play lists and then forget about it. I am sure this is how that album came to be on my player. I just never heard this particular song. I was on the train the last week and had the player on shuffle and on came the song. It immediately made me so happy and emotional at the same time. I listened over and over. Here is a sample of the lyrics from late in the song:
“Sometimes it’s hard to find a way to keep on/Quiet weekends, holidays, you come undone/Open your window and look upon/All the kinds of alive you can be/Be still, be light, believe me/Little bird, little bird/Brush your gray wings on my head/Say what you said, say it again/They tell me I’m crazy/But you told me I’m golden/I’m golden”
It’s a great song and I found myself going back to it all week anytime I had the urge. It was very cathartic as music always is. Go listen.
3. Cooking. Sometimes I get lazy in my cooking habits. I have some go-to recipes that I make because I know them well. I also make easy things like veggie burgers and peanut noodles that don’t take long to make. I decided to make an effort this week to add a few new recipes to the mix and also set aside time to make things that may be more complicated. I was so happy with everything I made. I shared dishes with friends and it was very therapeutic.
I also went to a yoga class over the weekend and made it my intention to take in all I could but only for myself. It was a super crowded class and the room was really hot and sweaty. It was beautiful. I was working so hard and every time my mind went into teacher head I brought myself back to the moment and to how my body felt in the pose. I came to realize that maybe that’s part of the work. Constantly reminding myself to be in my body’s experience might not be easy right now but it may be what’s necessary for my practice of self -care 🙂