Honoring the body is the cornerstone of cultivating self love. Often we express self love through practices or habits of self care. When thinking about self love it is important to recognize the self care that is already present. This care is inherently provided by our body, freely given without our asking. Our bodies are built to take care of us; right in this moment our hearts are beating moving blood throughout our body, our lungs are filling up with breath, generating life with each inhale. When we recognize that selfcare is an inherent part of being alive we can soften any notion that self care has to be another task we add on to our day. Rather we can continue to cultivate the natural need for self care by honoring what is already unfolding.
It can take time to develop the space and trust to listen to the messages that our body sends us. We can build a practice of checking in at set points each day to cultivate an active listening relationship with the body. This can be done at any time, it does not have to be a complex or long activity.
An example of this is the check in we do at the beginning of our practice. We turn our gaze internally, feeling into the body from the feet up. We spend a few moments connecting into the breath, feeling the rise and fall of the chest. Then we take a moment to feel from our toes to top of our head the aliveness of our whole being. This simple practice can generate the space we need to listen. We can even incorporate a moment to give thanks for the care that your body is providing.
When we make space to really listen into what the body is asking us we are practicing self love.
Self love also means accepting where you are in any given moment. Cultivating self acceptance can start on the mat. Starting with checking in with the messages the body is sharing. Then adjusting our practice to meet the needs of our body. (This means our practice will look different day to day.)
Making adjustments to our practice:
- Days when our body’s need more rest – We can soften our movement, choosing to rest longer in child’s pose or simply sitting with our breath when needed.
- Days when you feel energized – We can harness our energy into the breath, creating a deep steady rhythmic pattern. To burn up some of this energy you can try jumping into your transitions and choose the more activating variations of the postures that are offered.
Self Love takes many forms and takes time to cultivate. We can use our internal listening skills as a starting point to deepen our connection and love for ourselves.