Yoga + Self Care

The reasons why I came to yoga are so simple now that I think back to my very 1st day on the mat. I knew deep down there was something missing, didnt have a clue of what exactly but one thing was for sure each and every time I came off that mat I felt closer to whatever “it” was. Social media would have you believe that yoga is about being apart of Cirque Du Soleil or that you have to be this freaky thin contortionist. None of that is true. In its simplest form yoga means to “yoke” or bring “union”, yoga in all its glory is the practice of bringing the mind, body and emotions together as one.

“A true journey of the self, through the self to the self” -The Bhagavad Gita

Who knew that just a few minutes a day, this act of self love could pay such dividends on our constant journey to self-care.

Yoga as a form of self care is one of those things that you truly can not have enough of. As a mom, wife and business owner it’s not unusual for me to rush off from one activity to the next, run errands then rush home to make dinner, and the list can really go on. Long gone are the days of a slow paced society where we as people are able to really sit down and decompress or refocus before the next thing.

The real beauty behind yoga is the requirement. You are required to quiet your mind and focus on just you! I kid you not my friends, for however many days a week for 20/30/60/90 minutes your complete focus is on you bringing your mind, emotion and body into focus. If used properly, yoga can be an amazing tool to help ease anxiety + depression.

Why should you add yoga as self-care?

  • Great tool to calm the mind + release tension
    • Studies show that tension can be held in muscles, adding stretching and movement into your everyday routine can aid in releasing that tension. Spending time focusing on your breath and poses can help you ease your mind without even realizing that you are doing it. Perfect tool to strengthen mental health while increasing physical health.
  • Yoga should be viewed as you time
    • Time that you truly carve out for yourself. You show up for you and leave it all on the mat. Carve out that dedicated time and stick to that date with yourself.
  • It can be added to any portion of your day
    • A short sequence can be added to your morning routine to get you started and centered for the day. A different sequence of stretches can be added before bed to help you wind down and get ready for bed. My personal favorite is adding a few stretches mid day just to rejuvenate myself to tackle the rest of my day.
  • Yoga can be TAILORED
    • I love this the most! Yoga can be done ANYWHERE. Truly a take what you need type of practice that can be done completely at home, studio or out in the world. Classes typically have a set time the class is held and can vary from 60 min to 90 min. At home practice can be however long or short based on what you need.
  • There is more than 1 kind of yoga
    • There are also a ton of different types of yoga so if one doesn’t work for you, try another type. I find that I like different types depending on what I’m looking for. While there are many types of yoga here are the five that I practice interchangeable throughout my week.
      1. Ashtanga Yoga: Eight Limb Path, dynamic synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body. Five Sun salutation A’s and five sun salutation B’s followed by series of standing and floor postures.
      2. Vinyasa Yoga: Coordinate movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. Also used to describe a specific sequence of poses etc Chaturanga to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward facing dog). Example: Power Yoga
      3. Bikram Yoga: 90 minute class that consist of the same series of 26 postures including two breathing exercises. Hot yoga style and is ideally practiced in a heated room 95-108 F.
      4. Yin Yoga: Practice that is designed to help you sit longer + comfortably while in meditation and stretching connective tissue around joints such as knees, pelvis, sacrum and spine. Poses are held for 3-5 min and are typically seated postures and is a more passive practice.
      5. Restorative Yoga: Sequence is normally only 5-6 poses supported by props that help you relax and rest. Poses are held for 5 minutes or more. Light twists, seated forward folds, gentle backbends.

Home Practice Essentials

Although I go to my local studio to practice 3-4x a week, I do a lot of routines at home to center the start and endings of my day. Here are some great items that I would suggest for a home practice. Great Tip: If you have a local FiveBelow store, each of these things can be found there for a STEAL. I think its a great idea to start small and as you progress invest more in your tools to get the pricier items. Also, I’ve seen a few things here and there for great pricing in TJMaxx and Marshalls.

  1. Mat: It good to have a mat even if you do have carpet. The mat is more forgiving on the knees and joints and should add a little cushion between you and the hard surface.
  2. Blocks: Really great tool to have to assist with reaching the floor in certain postures. Also good if sitting flat or cross leg causes any discomfort, simply sit on the block.
  3. Blanket: Can be used to sit on just like the block. A nice item to have while meditating, I find sometimes when I meditate because Im lowering my blood pressure and slowing my breathing I can get a little chilly.
  4. Yoga Straps: Great tool to assist with stretches and to help elongate.
  5. Meditation Cushion: Pillow to sit on while meditating.
  6. Bolster: I use mine like a pillow if I am laying down for a guided meditation.

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