Yoga teaches us to tune into the relationship that we have with ourselves by connecting our breath, body, and mind. As the awareness of this relationship grows, we discover our strengths and weaknesses, as well as ideas of success, failure, balance, and imbalance.
During this time of the year the subject of love begins to appear more and more. The days following the New Year are a great time to go deep and explore the different aspects that make up the world of love.
Self-love and Compassion
There will be times in life when you feel unloved or under appreciated, especially when you let the stresses of daily life take over. It’s times like this when it’s important to slow down and change the voice in your head from judgmental to loving.
When you embrace self-love and compassion, you are able to accept yourself and your flaws. By taking an hour or so out of your day to focus on your own well-being and happiness, you can create a healthier you.
Finding new ways to explore these feelings can sometimes be difficult, but with the help of these five self-love yoga poses, you can learn how to appreciate your mind, body, and soul.
- Start by grounding through your feet. Spread your toes and find equal weight in the corners of your feet.
- Keep your quadriceps firm and slightly rotate your inner thighs backward.
- Engage your core, lengthen your tailbone, draw your pubic bone up, and draw your hip points toward your naval.
- Take a deep breath in and lift your sternum.
- Root your shoulder blades against your back ribs.
- Lift your head up and soften your gaze forward. Hold this pose for two minutes.
Extended Hand to Big Toe pose
Sanskrit: Utthita Hasta Padangustasana
- From Mountain pose, place your feet hip distance apart and feel your weight shift to your right foot. Engage the thigh of the standing leg in order to support the knee.
- Gaze forward. Inhale and lift your left knee slowly, reaching for the big toe.
- Exhale, press the heel forward, and begin to extend the knee.
- Inhale and lengthen the spine, lifting out of your torso and drawing your shoulder blades down your back.
- Exhale and draw the abdominals in, lifting the chest.
- Hold this pose for two or three minutes.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Sanskrit: Prasarita Padottansana
- Start in a standing position facing one side of your mat.
- Widen the distance between your feet to a length wider than your hips.
- Extend your arms overhead and fold forward.
- Feel free to widen the distance between your feet for a deeper stretch and either let your hands rest on the mat or let them hang loose.
- Hold for two minutes, connecting to your breath and drawing in grounding energy.
- To get out of this pose, simply rise up slowly.
- Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-distance apart. Untuck your toes and press the tops of your feet into the mat.
- Inhale and tuck you tailbone under, lengthening the spine. Exhale and slowly lean your body back, rolling your shoulders back and expanding the chest. Bring your hands to the soles of your feet.
- Make sure your neck is comfortable and let it drop back slowly. Push your hips forward, aligning them over your knees.
- Hold this pose for a couple minutes. When you want to get out of the pose, exhale and slowly rise your body back up.
Fire Log pose
- Start in a comfortable seated position on your yoga mat.
- Bring the soles of your feet to the mat, hip distance apart.
- Next, you want to slowly stack the legs ankle-to-knee, ankle-to-knee. The right ankle should be placed above the left knee and the left ankle should be placed beneath the right knee.
- Take a moment to flex your feet. If you need a little stability, feel free to place your hands on either side of your body.
- Once you feel comfortable, fold the upper body slightly forward. Keep your hip bones on the ground and use your body weight to go deeper into the pose.
- Hold for two minutes, closing your eyes and drawing in compassionate awareness to all the thoughts and sensations flowing through you.
- Switch sides.
Humans are emotional creatures. Anger, fear, jealousy, and resentment reside in the heart and there is a very real connection between what you hold in your heart and how you interact with the world.
Self-awareness and time are essential when exploring our deeper feelings. It’s important to remain aware of the depth of your emotions—connect to your compassionate energy and grounding energy through the union of breath, body, and mind.
By practicing a few self-love yoga poses each day, you’re more likely to better understand the meaning behind each of your emotions.