4 Ways to Practice Letting Go of Attachments

4 Ways to Practice Letting Go of Attachments

“Dare to live by letting go.” — Tom Althouse

Many of us are attached to people, places, objects, habits, and beliefs that we don’t consciously know we’re so attached to. But it only takes a single thought or vision of the future to trigger a fearful sense of longing to remain forever attached to something.

Sometimes, our attachments get so intense that we actually become aware of the fact that they’re holding us back in some way. To detach from our attachments, we need to open ourselves up to the nature of change and uncertainty.

Detaching from something or someone is easier said than done, and there’s absolutely no guarantee that it will be a fast and painless endeavour. But if your intuition is telling you it’s time to grow past it, then letting go will be worth it.

Look Toward Nature

Nature itself is the purest example of the reality of impermanence, so it can be helpful to simply go out and walk among the trees to notice how everything in the natural world is constantly changing. No two visits to the same outdoor space will be the same if you take notice of the little details. Everything from the winds and waters, to the leaves and wildlife is in constant flux. The nature of change and a need or detachment can be made even more obvious by making a habit out of noticing the seasonal changes that take place in nature over a longer period of time.

Reflect on Past Personal Changes

No doubt you’ve already experienced lots of big and small changes in your past where you've had to let go of attachments, whether you were conscious of it happening or not. It can be really helpful to think about some of those past changes in order to become more accepting of detachment in the present. Changes like old family homes you moved away from, pets you said goodbye to, or breakups you went through may have been extremely difficult to detach from back then, but you’re probably okay right now without them. Realizing this can make it easier to accept that detachment is part of life, and that you will always be okay.

Flip Your “Loss Pain” Mindset

Motivational speaker Brendon Burchard says that one of the big reasons why so many people have such a hard time dealing with change is because we suffer from “loss pain” by focusing too much on what we have to give up to make change happen. But what if we focused on what we’re about to gain instead? This doesn’t mean that you have to deny that you’ll be losing something — it just means shifting your focus to what’s more desirable or positive. By detaching from something that’s holding you back, you’ll be free to move toward what you really want, even if you’re not sure what that is just yet.

Be Grateful for the Joy You Received

Whatever you’re attached to certainly brought you joy at some point in the past. It’s important to reflect upon those past joyful experiences so you can appreciate the value you got from that person, place, or thing. It also helps you become more aware of the fact that although you want to hold onto it, you’re probably not getting as much joy out of it in the present (or you won’t in the future), which will make it far easier to detach from. Over time, it’s only natural for us to outgrow the things that we once held dearest to our hearts.

Be gentle with yourself when you’re trying to detach from something or someone. Even though it’s fine to remind yourself that everything will be fine eventually, make sure you don’t suppress any emotions you experience along the way as you patiently work toward freeing yourself from attachment.

4 Holiday Eating Tips for Balancing Nutrition With Indulgence

4 Holiday Eating Tips for Balancing Nutrition With Indulgence

There’s a lot to be happy about during the holiday season, but losing all self-control to tempting holiday treats certainly isn’t one of them. According to a recent study that tracked the the weight of almost 3,000 subjects from the U.S., Germany, and Japan over a year-long period, not one of them was able to avoid gaining at least a little bit of weight from October to January.

While it would be pretty unrealistic to expect anyone to refrain completely from eating any foods that are high in fat and sugar this time of year, sometimes it can be really difficult to strike the right balance between staying healthy most of the time and indulging every so often. A lot of people tend to take it to one extreme or the other — depriving themselves of fun holiday events out of fear of losing control, or giving all in and letting themselves have anything they want whenever they want.

If you want to keep your sanity and your waistline happy, balance is key. And it doesn’t have to be difficult!

Meditate to Identify the Source of Temptation

Do you know whether your urge to eat is coming from your stomach or your mind? If not, meditation can help you identify where it's coming from.

All you need to do is find a quiet place to sit down, close your eyes, and tune into the sensations of your body. Focus your awareness on the body part that feels like it's trying to convince you that you need something sweet, fattening, crunchy, or whatever else. If it’s coming from your stomach, then that means you’re actually hungry — but if it’s coming from your mind (typically in the form of cravings), then that means your emotions are making you think that food would be a good way to cope.

Practice Restorative Yoga to Curb Cravings

So, let’s say that you discover through meditation that your desire to scarf down half a dozen Christmas cookies is coming from your mind and not your stomach. Hey, we’ve all been there!

Cravings arise from mental, emotional, or physical stress, so instead of trying to find a way to temporarily distract yourself from those cravings, a better idea would be to start implementing more stress-relieving activities into your practice to solve the root of the problem. Restorative yoga is perfect because it’s designed to slow down your pace and combat all forms of stress as you move through a minimal number of poses that you hold for a longer period of time, which helps soothe the nervous system and bring you back to a place of balance.

Plan to Treat Yourself

Everyone deserves to enjoy the flavorful feasts and decadent desserts of the holidays, and planning those big events that come with lots of tempting food around your regular healthy diet is really the secret to making it more of a flexible lifestyle than a strict rulebook you have to follow.

If you know that grandma is going to have an entire table of holiday baked goods this year, or that your workplace party is having the food catered from a really great caterer, don't deprive yourself from it — plan for it! Eating sensibly throughout the week in preparation for a big holiday party on Saturday would be a typical example of how to treat yourself right. If you think you might lose yourself to temptation and go overboard, try to eat something healthy before you arrive or sip on water constantly while you’re there.

Practice Mindful Eating

Even when you’ve done all that you could to beat stress and plan ahead, temptation can still sometimes show up when you least expect it. When one chocolate truffle quickly turns into 10 or 12, that’s a sign that you’re allowing your thoughts and emotions to automatically take over your actions.

Mindful eating simply involves placing your attention on what you’re eating — including everything you see, smell, taste, and feel during the entire process of taking every bite and swallowing it. It's the easiest and most effective way to stop overeating dead in its tracks, or neutralize it before it even begins! Here are some more detailed tips for how to practice mindful eating.

Don’t worry about being perfect. When it comes to maintaining balance, there really is no perfect combination of nutritious foods versus indulgent treats, so make it a priority to tune into your body regularly and do what feels right.

5 Easy Ways to Make Gratitude a Habit

5 Easy Ways to Make Gratitude a Habit

Thanksgiving may be just one day out of the whole year when we’re more conscious of what we’re truly grateful for, but what about the other 364 days of the year? Whether it’s April 2nd, January 31st, August 23rd, or any other day, there's no denying that gratitude is the quickest and most effective way to boost our happiness.

Making gratitude a daily habit as part of your own practice will help take your personal transformation above and beyond what you every thought was possible. Here are some easy ways to start embodying gratitude naturally in your everyday life, both on and off the mat.

Cultivate Gratitude Through Each Pose

You can tailor your yoga practice so that fits your intention to be grateful. For example, you can focus your awareness on your sense of balance in tree pose, the strength of your body in warrior II, or the rest you get to take in savasana. Allow yourself to feel these sensations in your body and recognize how they help you become stronger, wiser, and more authentic. Those are certainly some things to be grateful for!

Put Your Thoughts on Paper

Taking a few minutes to journal about your thoughts and feelings every morning or every night is the perfect way to make gratitude a daily practice. Just by writing about what’s going on in your everyday life, you’ll naturally find aspects to be grateful for that you otherwise wouldn’t be as conscious of if you just decided to let those thoughts and feelings flow through your mind in a weaker state of awareness.

Appreciate One Thing About Someone

Wouldn’t it be great if your mind didn’t default to thoughts like, “I really don’t have time to deal with this person right now,” or “I’m worried about what this person will think of me,” every time you have to make contact with someone? Instead, just start noticing one thing about every person you meet that you really admire or appreciate. Here’s a more detailed explanation on how to do this.

Give More

The more you give toward others — whether it’s a physical gift or a gift in the form of your time or energy — the more you’ll receive back. That’s how the universe works. When you receive more from your act of giving, it will be pretty hard not to feel grateful. If you can find one small way to give something to someone (or a group of people, an animal, or the planet) out of the genuine kindness of your heart, then gratitude will be a natural side effect. Here are some super simple ways you can give more on a daily basis.

Just Say ‘Thank You’

It’s not always easy to practice gratitude every day, so when you're having one of those days, just remember to say “thank you” quietly to yourself or out loud if you prefer. Those two words alone should hopefully stir something up inside of you to be grateful for. Your mind automatically associates those words with images, memories, and emotions that you love, so as long as your intention to be grateful is real at that time, saying “thank you” should be all that you need!

9 Helpful Tips for Keeping a Clean Yoga Mat

9 Helpful Tips for Keeping a Clean Yoga Mat

Any yogi with a regular practice knows just how fast a yoga mat can go from looking clean and new, to visibly dirty and worn. Discolored spots at the top or bottom of the mat where we plant our hands and feet for asanas like mountain pose or downward dog may become more noticeable over time as more dirt and grime makes their way from our bodies to our mats.

Yoga mats can serve as the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, and this is even truer for shared communal mats. Carpets, yoga mats, clothing, and equipment handles are the grimiest places in public fitness centers according to one particular study, where salmonella, staphylococcus, klebsiella and other pathogens have been known to thrive.

Making a habit out of cleaning our mats is critical if we want to avoid transferring harmful bacteria back to our bodies. Here are a few yoga mat-cleaning guidelines to consider following for yourself!

Cleaning Frequency

Hot yoga enthusiasts should definitely clean their mat after every use. All that sweating is just a huge invitation for bacteria to come make a home on your mat thanks to all that extra moisture, so it’s a good to give your mat a good wipe-down immediately after your hot yoga practice.

Yogis who take their mats to studios or outdoors should clean their mats often. If you’re rolling out your mat in a public place and stepping onto it after walking around barefoot, you’ll probably want to clean your mat at least every 1 to 2 weeks, but ideally more often than that if you practice every day. If there are visible stains or noticeable odors, it’s time for a cleaning!

Yogis who practice at home or don’t sweat much can probably get away with less frequent cleanings. While it’s still ideal to clean your mat every few uses or so at the very least, those who don’t track dirt and germs onto their mat from studio floors and other public environments can probably go a week, several weeks, or even months without a serious cleaning. Same goes for those who mostly stick to a low-intensity practice with little to no sweating, such as restorative yoga.

Cleaning Your Mat

Use an organic yoga mat spray. There are lots of different yoga sprays available, and if you’re a Yogi Surprise member, you may just get to try one in your next Lifestyle Box!

Make your own natural cleaner. It’s no biggie if you don’t have any yoga mat spray because it’s easy enough to make your own. Just add 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle with 10 to 15 drops of your favorite antimicrobial essential oil like tea tree or eucalyptus.

Take your mat to the bathtub for deeper cleaning. A wipe-down is a good, quick way to clean the easy stuff that comes off the surface, but to get to those more stubborn areas within the rubber, you’ll want to fill your bathtub up with warm water, throw your mat in, and probably take a washcloth, sponge, or brush to your mat.

Keeping Your Mat Clean for Longer

Wash your hands and feet. If your hands and feet are clean before your practice, you’re less likely to track lots of dirt and germs onto your mat. It only takes a few minutes to run to the bathroom to wash your hands or clean your feet with something easy and convenient like natural travel wipes.

Let your mat dry out before rolling it up. Regardless of whether you just gave your mat a good spray or not, it’s always best to leave it lying flat for a while to let any extra moisture dry out. If you’re practicing at a studio, rolling it up to take home is fine, but try to remember to roll it back out again when you get home.

Invest in an antimicrobial mat. There are lots of eco-friendly mats out there that are designed to prevent sweat absorption and bacteria growth, keeping them cleaner and more odorless than others.

Remember that cleaning frequency and technique depend on how often you practice, how dirty your practice environment might be, and how intense your practice is. Be mindful of maintaining a clean mat, and you should have no problems!

Image (edited) via bradleypjohnson

3 Mindset Tips for Facing Challenges

3 Mindset Tips for Facing Challenges

Challenges are scary, but without them we’d never grow. In childhood, we faced challenges all the time because everything was new, we had a lot to learn, and those who looked after us or taught us were there to push us to keep learning.

In adulthood, however, too many people allow their growth to slow right down or completely stop as a result of not being challenged enough. The challenges of the new get traded in for the routines of the familiar, and this is pretty much the general norm for most "busy" adults these days.

One of the biggest regrets people have at the end of their lives is that they weren’t brave enough to do what they really wanted to do, instead settling for what was safe and what satisfied others’ expectations. Don’t be that type of person.

Yes, diving into the unknown of a big challenge is scary, but you can train your mind in a way that encourages you to take action while helping you become more resilient along the way. Here’s how.

Seek to Better Understand Vulnerability

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” — Brené Brown

We avoid challenges because they make us feel vulnerable. The mind (or the ego), of course, automatically interprets vulnerability as something dangerous that it needs to protect us from.

When we dig deeper into understanding what vulnerability really is, which can only be done by raising our level of awareness, we see it for what it really is — uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. This may not make vulnerability any more pleasant, but it at least opens us up to recognizing that whether we choose to retreat and protect ourselves or take action and show our willingness to move forward, vulnerability is still there no matter what you choose to do.

Imagine a Future Where Nothing Changes

“The death rate for people who play it safe and for those who live boldly is the same.” — Patti Digh

Let’s say you have a dream of becoming a yoga teacher. If you kept putting off the challenge of working toward that, where would that leave you in 10 years? Possibly unfulfilled, working at a completely unrelated job.

If we can imagine the long-term consequences of not taking action toward a challenge as if it were happening right now, we might just be more motivated to go for it. Those 10, 20, or 30 years or longer are going to pass anyway, and the choices we’re making right now will influence where we’ll be at that time.

Turn Certainty Into Curiosity

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” — Albert Einstein

The trouble with facing challenging situations is that we let our desire for certainty get in the way. We want to know that it will work out, that our plan is effective, that something bad won’t throw us off, that we won’t be laughed at, and so on and so forth.

Start taking notice of how your mind tries to cling to desires for certainty, and remind it that absolutely nothing in life is certain so you can open yourself up to learning instead. If you can turn “I need to know that this will work out” into “I’m curious about this and want to learn about it,” then you’ll put yourself in a position where your personal growth will have completely unlimited potential.

Use these tips to challenge yourself in your yoga practice, in your career, in your personal life, and wherever else you feel you really need to be challenged. Never stop learning, never stop growing.

How Yoga Can Help Boost Your Immune System

How Yoga Can Help Boost Your Immune System

According to the CDC, cold and flu season peaks from December to March. If you find yourself frequently coming into close contact with lots of other people or spending lots of time in public places this fall and winter, it might be a good idea to start embracing your yoga and meditation practice now more than ever.

Combined with a nutritious diet, enough sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits, your yoga practice can help supercharge your immune system. In fact, there’s real science behind the effects of yoga and how it impacts the immune system.

That's right — getting on your mat regularly can actually help your body ward off nasty pathogens. Here’s how yoga works to give you an immunity boost.

Relieve Physical & Psychological Stress

If your body is already under a lot of stress, you’re more likely to fall ill should you come into contact with a virus because your body is not as well prepared to fight it off. In a study that looked at the immunity effects of yoga on a group of 60 students who practiced yoga over the course of a 12-week period, researchers discovered that yoga helped their bodies resist the autonomic changes and impairment of cellular immunity associated with stress compared to a control group that did not practice any yoga. This suggests that the stress relieving effect not only makes us feel better, but also has real physiological benefits that help protect us from potential illnesses.

Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is caused by stress, and yoga can help dampen or limit stress-related changes in ways that minimize inflammatory responses. In a comprehensive review of the effects of mind-body therapies like yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong on the immune system, researchers found links between these types of practices and reduced markers of inflammation. Another study involving 50 healthy women who did a combination of yoga, movement control, and passive-video control in three separate experiments didn’t show any differences in inflammatory or endocrine responses, but the yoga did boost their mood, which is something that could certainly help reduce the burden that stressors place on their minds and bodies enough to potentially influence inflammatory responses.

Trigger Immune Response

Cell-mediated immunity is an immune response to to an antigen (a foreign substance to the body) that involves T cells recognizing infected cells so that they can be destroyed. A 2016 comprehensive review found that mindfulness meditation had possible effects on markers of cell-mediated immunity (in addition to inflammation and biological aging), suggesting that your yoga and/or meditation practice may actually help your body respond better to antigens. The research is tentative and further examination is needed to better understand these effects, but for now the findings at least suggest that mindfulness meditation may be help benefit immune system dynamics.

While the above immunity benefits of yoga and meditation won’t give you any excuse to wash your hands less frequently or kiss anyone who’s super contagious right on the lips, you can at least do your body an extra little favor by sticking to a regular yoga practice to help it resist and fight off anything that could make you sick. Cold and flu season won’t seem nearly as bad when your body is healthy and well prepared to keep you that way!

Image (edited) via Robert Begil

5 Ways to Mindfully Prepare for the Festive Season

5 Ways to Mindfully Prepare for the Festive Season

As we gear up for the arrival of holidays like Thanksgiving in the U.S., Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, and others, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves feeling like we should probably take the time to plan way ahead of time for all these fun-filled festivities. Being intentional during the holidays (or anytime, really) starts with mindfulness, and now couldn’t be a better time to start implementing a few mindful habits before our favorite holidays are here.

Don’t wait until the day before to start deciding how you want everything to unfold. Here are some good, mindful habits to start working into your everyday routine now while there’s still time to plan for all the festive fun!

1. Incorporate poses that promote balance, calmness, and inward awareness into your yoga practice.

If you haven’t already shifted your practice in a way that synchronizes your mind, body, and spirit with the fall season, you may want to seriously consider doing it now that the you’ll have to find a way to balance your regular routine with the stress of the holidays. Balancing poses like tree pose can help bring your frantic mind back to a place of focus while poses that encourage you to turn inward, like child’s pose, will help you get back in touch with what you personally cherish and value most about the holidays so you can intentionally steer your actions toward those things.

2. Take a more minimalistic approach to your holiday planning style.

As you sit down to plan everything from decorations and parties, to gifts and baking, consider getting seriously honest about what won’t bring you or anyone else much joy or value so that you can scratch it off your list. Maybe skip the extra decorations this year, or kindly refuse to attend that friend of a friend's holiday party. A minimalistic planning style doesn’t mean doing as little as possible — it means planning to do only what's important.

3. Have a few stress-busting techniques you can turn toward.

Chances are things will come up between now and the end of the year that you didn’t expect, and your plan will run off course because of them. Make sure you have one or two go-to stress busters so you can avoid pitfalls like starting arguments with family members or overeating. Something like a mantra you say to yourself or an alarm set on your phone to do an emotional check-in with yourself can make all the difference.

4. Think about why you’re grateful for the people you have in your life.

During the holiday season, our desire to give toward others can often be overridden by feeling very pressured to give largely thanks to the extreme commercialism of the season. To get back to a more genuine state of wanting to give out of kindness and affection, identify what you’re grateful for about family members, friends, coworkers, and anyone else. It might just help you dig deeper into what makes them special so you can come up with great gift ideas.

5. Learn how to receive gracefully.

If you’re the type of person who feels uncomfortable with receiving gifts, compliments, or help from others, you’re not alone. Around the holidays, it can be especially uncomfortable when you’re programmed to think you have to do all the giving. To get more acquainted with the art of receiving, start taking notice of all the simple ways people generously offer things to you — like a smile from a stranger, or the space in a busy traffic lane that someone decided to make for you — and practice embracing your worthiness of that gift with kindness and gratitude.

Balancing Variety With Routine in Your Yoga Practice and in Your Life

Balancing Variety With Routine in Your Yoga Practice and in Your Life

There’s a lot of good stuff to be said about having a solid routine. Routine is what we need to build better habits, make progress in the direction we want to go in, and become the best versions of ourselves.

Without variety in our routines, however, even the most productive routine can start to feel pretty dull and boring. We're wired for novelty, and when we learn through exposure to new things, our brains form new neural pathways to keep it healthy and functioning at its best even as we age. Shaking things up in our routines by adding something new allows us think more creatively and also activates the part of the brain responsible for pleasure.

Combining routine with variety in a way that works best is a delicate balancing act. Add too much variety to your routine, and you might just end up sabotaging your progress or confusing your body. Likewise, too strict of a routine could eventually leave you feeling uninspired and inattentive as your habitual behaviours become more automatic.

Whether you want to strike the right balance between routine and variety in your yoga practice or in another area of your life, the following tips can help you do it.

Plan for the Future, But Stay Present

Routine is often all about making sure we’re on track with whatever we need to do next. When we have a proper routine in place, we know what we’ll be doing in the next hour, this afternoon, tomorrow, and maybe even next week or next month. Routine basically means always having a future plan of habits in place.

When we get caught off guard with something unexpected, our routines tend to be impacted, and this can be frustrating when we think we need to stick with them all the time, no matter what. Instead of clinging to it for the sake of your future progress, take a moment to be present.

Your routine must always be flexible enough to be able to take care of whatever happens in the moment. Something as simple as feeling bored or unproductive makes it okay to stray from your regular routine toward something different.

Practice Thinking Both Intuitively and Logically

For most logical-minded people, a solid routine is almost always the way to go. There’s no time to fool around, because there’s work to be done and progress to be made, no matter how uncomfortable it is to stick with it 24/7.

It might seem logical to stick to a routine for the sake of making great progress in the most linear way possible, but intuition will tell you otherwise when the time is right for a shake-up in your routine. Here’s how you can get more deeply in touch with your intuition so you can become more aware of what your spirit is trying to tell you.

Dream, But Keep Your Feet on the Ground

Intuitive thinking is really more about feeling, and then deciding what those feelings mean. While intuition certainly brings us closer to our authentic desires, without staying grounded and using logic, we can easily get swept into fantasy land where all we want to do is keep jumping from one thing to the next without any consistency at all — in hopes of magically making all our dreams come true.

Remember to stay grounded as your intuition inspires you to dream about all the endless possibilities each new experience might bring you. Variety can be seriously enjoyable, but even your intuition probably won’t want you to stray too far from your regular routine just to satisfy more of your heart’s desires.

The balancing act won't be perfect. Keep these tips in mind, do your best, and learn from everything you do so you can make tweaks to your current routine or discover more about the types of new and spontaneous experiences you enjoy most.

3 Simple Daily Practices to Live Less Distracted

3 Simple Daily Practices to Live Less Distracted

One of the biggest reasons why so many of us find it difficult to beat distraction and live our loves more intentionally is that we’re often totally unaware that we’re distracted while it’s actually happening. Eventually, we come back to the present moment and wonder how we allowed ourselves to waste so much time.

The key to beating distraction has everything to do with increasing our awareness as we feel the urge to indulge in that distraction. Either we’ll decide to do it while being fully aware of what we’re doing (which should help cut down on time spent being distracted), or we’ll decide that we don’t want to indulge in our distractive behavior after all.

When we’re completely aware of what we’re doing in the present moment, reality reveals the deeper truths behind everything we choose to do. Whether we’re distracting ourselves by watching funny cat videos on the internet or taking care of someone else’s problems, if our awareness is high, our bodies will make it clear to us that we’re doing something unimportant and avoiding something else we really ought to be doing.

So how can we become more aware of how distracted we are? The following three simple solutions will help a great deal. Start with one, but consider doing all three for the best results.

Meditate Daily

Meditation is all about reaching higher states of awareness. Even if you just made a habit out of closing your eyes, sitting in silence, and focusing on your breath for 10 to 20 minutes every day, you’d eventually notice yourself maintaining a higher state of awareness as you go about the rest of your everyday life.

If you want to exercise your awareness muscle, meditate. Distractions won’t seem nearly as appealing as they were compared to before you started meditating regularly because a higher state of awareness will naturally keep you from getting sucked into them.

Associate Mindfulness With Distractive Habits

You can actually train yourself to be more aware of your worst distractive habits by using them as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness simply involves being present in the moment — wherever you are, whatever you're doing, and whatever you're feeling.

For example, if you have a bad habit of checking your email multiple times a day on your smartphone and losing valuable time because of it, you could consciously select a "trigger" — like the visual icon of your email on your phone, or the feeling you get when you want to pick up your phone to check it — and use it to activate mindfulness during that very moment.

Listen to Your Body

Here’s a seemingly counterintuitive piece of advice you won’t hear from productivity gurus: Allow yourself to indulge in your distractive behaviors, if that’s what you really want to do. But — and this is a big but! — work on heightening your awareness and being mindful while you’re doing it.

Being mindful as you allow yourself to follow your natural desire to indulge in distraction will make you aware of the signals your body is sending you about what you're doing. It might be a physical feeling, an emotion, or even that little voice inside your head telling you that what you’re doing isn’t serving you, that you actually don’t even like it, that you really want to be doing something else, that you’re covering up your fear, or something else more specific. With little awareness, it's more difficult to get those signals.

These three simple practice are exactly what we all should be doing if we really want to master our actions and behaviours in the healthiest, most natural way possible. Forget maintaining willpower and focus on your level of awareness instead to beat distraction for good.

5 Ways Self-Love Inspires Selfless Love

5 Ways Self-Love Inspires Selfless Love

Self-love is often misunderstood by many as selfishness in disguise. Those who have been taught to always put the needs and wants of others before their own needs and wants have a hard time seeing how loving themselves more could benefit anyone else other than of course themselves.

In reality, self-love sets the foundation for what we need to wholeheartedly connect with others. It puts us in touch with the reality of how we are all the same and yet all so different at the very same time, and that we are all worth of love.

Confused? That’s okay! Here are a few good ways to start thinking about self-love and how it actually inspires you to be a more caring, selfless person toward others.

Awareness vs. Ego

Self-love comes from a place of awareness rather than ego.

Here’s the difference between awareness and ego: Awareness involves complete acceptance of both the good and bad about ourselves. This is often uncomfortable to do. Ego, on the other hand, makes love conditional by only accepting the stuff we like about ourselves.

Awareness comes from quieting the mind, which is why yoga can be of such great help to develop greater self-love. The ego, however, relies entirely on the mind and reveals itself in the form of that little voice that never shuts up, because it’s constantly calculating what it needs to do to inflate the perceived “good” qualities about ourselves while seeking to suppress, criticize, or fix the perceived “bad” qualities.


With greater self-love comes a greater capacity to take responsibility for how you influence others.

You can tell a narcissist apart from someone who truly loves themselves by what they do when they influence other people around them. Someone who has more narcissistic qualities might disregard other people’s negative reactions by either acting out, or considering it to be not their problem.

Self-loving people, however, know that they are responsible for regulating their actions and behaviors around others out of respect and empathy toward them. Even if they don’t like how another person reacts in response to what they themselves have said or done, a self-loving person will send them love and kindness anyway with complete awareness and acceptance of their differences.

Universal Compassion

Self-love requires self-compassion, which teaches you how to be more compassionate toward others too.

Self-compassion involves treating ourselves like our own best friend. To be compassionate toward ourselves, we have to be aware and accepting of all our emotions.

The more we become aware and accepting of all our emotions, the better we get at becoming aware and accepting of other people’s emotions as well. This is called emotional intelligence, and you can improve it in your very own yoga practice.

More Love to Give

When you truly love yourself, everyone you interact with benefits from the best version of you.

When you are happiest, and when you are embodying your most authentic self, the world gets to enjoy your gifts. Without filling yourself up first with enough love, you won’t have much to give.

This is why the types of people with more of a skewed view of selflessness are always running around trying to help everyone while they’re also always stressed out, anxious, drained, or even suffering from a number of physical ailments. They’re not aware of the love they need to give to themselves so that they can be their best versions first so they have more to share with everyone.

Embracing (Not Comparing) Our Differences

Loving your own uniqueness makes you appreciative of how unique everybody is.

People who are more concerned with their self-importance are blinded by their egos and are not really practicing true self-love. Self-love is an open-minded and fully accepting state not just of yourself, but of everyone else too.

When you realize how unique you are and that your uniqueness makes it impossible to compare yourself to any other person, you start to become more aware of just how much every other person you interact with is unique as well.

When you think about self-love in this kind of way, it makes a lot of sense in benefiting everyone else too. Sign up for our free self-love ebook (by scrolling up and entering your email address) for useful hints on how to strengthen your relationship with yourself.