Yes, it's that time of year again: Happy Valentine’s Day people!
But before you begin rolling your eyes and muttering under your breath about what a useless celebration this is, give us a minute! Because this year, we invite you to take a different approach altogether...Forget the red roses, expensive gifts and cheesy cards. Instead, it's time to give some love to the person who matters most in your life…YOU!
In yoga, self-love is a vital part of our personal practice. Every time we step onto the mat, we must remind ourselves to honor our bodies, to respect their limitations and to unconditionally love every part of ourselves…the good, the bad and the ugly.
But for many of us, the road to self-love can be rocky. Here are a few things that you can try to make the journey easier; and if you feel you're already there, there's no harm in a little reminder.
1. You're simply the best
Set the tone of your day by waking up to a positive self-affirmation. How about: “I am awesome and I am going to crush this day!”
2. Every breath you take
Take five minutes to sit and meditate. Be it lying in bed or sitting in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground - just close your eyes, relax your body and focus on your breath and the feeling of it travelling through your body. We all have five minutes, and meditation brings us right into the seat of a loving heart.
3. Do anything for love (but not that)
If you are feeling over extended, set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Learn to say 'No'! Don’t feel bad if you skip a walk or can’t take that extra project at work. The same applies on the mat; don’t force yourself to take one more Dhanurasana (bow pose) in yoga class just because someone else is doing it. Saying 'No' once in a while is saying 'Yes' to self-love.
4. I would diet for you
Watch what you eat…self-love is hard to find when you are living on a diet of coffee and crisps. Try adding some mood-boosting foods to your diet, like omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, flaxseeds and hemp) which also reduce inflammation in the brain. Yes, sometimes self love is tough love!
5. It must be love
Do something that you love every day. Whatever it may be…running through the park, catching up with a great friend, taking an amazing yoga class, taking 10 minutes out to read your favorite author or dream about your next amazing vacation. Doing the things we love with the people we love keeps our hearts open to love!
6. Can you feel the love tonight
End each day with a moment of gratitude. Count your blessings, no matter what kind of day you have had…you'll be surprised how many you can come up with and how good it feels.
Put yourself and your own needs first this Valentine’s Day, and you’ll be amazed how it can help you accept and love others!
This article was written for Warrior Addict by the amazing Monaco-based yoga teacher: Alicia Anka. We wuld like to give credit to Irish Health, Shopfy and Guy Counselling for the images used in this article.