4 Yoga Principles That Will Boost Your Self-Care Routine
You may have heard it before but yoga is a holistically beautiful and legitimately effective daily routine to add to your self-care regimen. The simple applications of the emotional, mental, and spiritual rewards tethered to physical aspects of yoga can help boost your self-care strategy for a better life in between poses. When practiced regularly, yoga has been shown to encourage people to apply what they have learned about themselves during the process to other areas of life.
The overall wellness that ensues from the practice of yoga is not something to be underestimated. It connects us to ourselves and allows us to truly see what our body craves physically, spiritually, and mentally. Through understanding the beliefs of yoga, you will find improvements in many areas of your life.
Here are four yogic beliefs that can help shift your perspective and transform your life on and off the mat.
1. Practice Ahimsa—or self-compassion—on yourself.
The definition of yoga’s ethical principle of Ahimsa is not causing pain to any living being—including ourselves. This principle was set in place to encourage going vegan but this should be applied first and foremost to ourselves. How can we take an approach not harming others if we are harming ourselves?
When you hear that voice in your head that is negatively attacking your looks, the way you behave, or your past, practice Ahimsa on yourself by recognizing self-criticism as harm. Treat yourself as compassionately as you would another living being.
2. Recharge your batteries with Pratyahara routine.
The period of deep relaxation at the end of a class known as yoga Nidra is a time to leave space for a quiet sense withdrawal once you bring awareness to all the koshas (body, breath, mind) and connect to your deepest self. It is a time to let the nourishment of the practice that you just completed set into your body.
When this time comes in your practice, try incorporating Pratyahara to bring awareness to your senses within.
Lie down with a rolled blanket or bolster beneath your knees, a folded blanket under your head, and an eye pillow to shut out the light. Most importantly, make sure your phone is on silent and out of reach during this time. This is for you, no one else. Bring awareness to your body by tensing and then relaxing your muscles; to your breathing by not trying to control or change it; and to your mind, by observing your thoughts without judgment. Once you are all set up, enjoy your own personal sacred space in stillness.
3. Replace the negative with the positive using Pratipaksha Bhavana routine.
When you are having negative thoughts try the yoga thought-swap trick, A.K.A. Pratipaksha Bhavana. Pratipaksha Bhavana is a part of yoga philosophy and is from Sutra 33: “When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite [positive] ones should be thought of.” Essentially If you have repetitive thoughts that are causing you harm, swap them out for more positive thoughts.
This may sound like a no brainer, however, at the moment, when thoughts are really bad, this is not so easily done. Thinking of things you are grateful for is a great way to combat negative thoughts with positive ones. Try making a list of all the things you are grateful for and repeat these to yourself when you are feeling down. You can even try taking time in the morning or before your yoga practice to write a new thing you are grateful for every day. This will elicit a constant flow of positivity daily for you.
4. Create positive change with Karuna.
Karuna is the practice of compassion. There are many things in this day and age that are hard to forgive or empathize with about our world. It can get very frustrating. Practicing Karuna as you would practice yoga daily will help you find more compassion in your day to day life. The practice of Karuna fuses compassion with taking action. It lets us mindfully contemplate situations without judgment before we act so that when we do take action it is with consideration and forgiveness.