February's Theme: Love Yourself

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha

There’s more to self-love than feeling good enough to spoil yourself with lavender bubble baths, luxurious massages, and generous spending sprees on organic/non-GMO foods. As a matter of fact, self-love is more of an active process than it is a “feel good” state.

To love yourself means to appreciate your growth potential from the actions you decide to take in the current moment for the good of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Everyone loves themselves at the very core of their being because it’s simply nature, but the beliefs we form throughout our lives about ourselves based on social conditioning tend to draw us away from our natural state of self-love.

Anyone can practice self-love. It might not lead to instant good feelings, but it certainly has the power to affect your thoughts and feelings about yourself with regular practice over time.

Here are three big tips to always remember and prioritize in your self-love journey.

 

Practice Self-Compassion Until It Becomes a Habit

When it comes to self-love, the old adage “fake it til you make it” isn’t necessarily the fastest or most effective strategy. In fact, focusing only on what you like about yourself while ignoring what you don’t like about yourself could backfire on your self-esteem levels.

Research has shown that self-compassion—the practice of stopping all judgment of yourself, accepting yourself fully, and being kind to yourself regardless of what you do or don’t like—is the real key to feeling motivated to work on improving yourself. It starts with noticing that critical voice inside your head and consciously replacing it with a voice that sounds more like a caring friend.

 

Make Your Own Rules About What It Means to Show Yourself Some Love

There are countless books, articles, videos, and even courses you could use to learn how to love yourself more, but when it comes straight down to it, only you can know exactly what you need to truly cultivate more love. When it comes to self-love, there are no rules—only the rules you make uniquely for you and your needs.

Self-love can be cultivated in activities as basic as showering and making time to eat or as extravgent as going on a cruise and buying a whole new wardrobe. Just because certain actions work for one person doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily work for you, so be open to experimenting with various self-love rituals and take note of how they make you feel afterward.

 

Follow the Universal Law of Exchange to Cultivate Even More Love

When you love yourself a little more, you’ll naturally feel compelled to share it. The law of exchange states that the energy you put out into the world will flow back to you, so spreading the love that you’ve cultivated for yourself among others will undoubtedly help you cultivate even more love for yourself.

Simple actsof kindness like a smile here or a thank you there definitely count. Of course, the greater your acts of kindness and generosity that you genuinely feel compelled to express, the greater love you’ll feel for yourself not just as a separate individual existing in society, but as a unique expression of life connected to everyone and everything else around you.


September's Theme: Rooting to Transcend

The word Yoga beholds various connotations. Ultimately it is derived from the Sanskrit root yuk meaning to control, to unite or yoke. Yogis walk many Yoga paths yet ultimately, these paths all lead to the same destination. Yoga is an inward journey, expressed outwardly through practice to remember our true nature and connect with our deepest divine selves.

Once more, let’s look to Mother Nature for inspiration: a tree, perhaps one of the most commonly used metaphors and visuals in Yoga (and for noble cause). A tree's life support lies hidden beneath the earth. When the struggle of her being is tested she can retreat to her humble beginnings. Her roots provide nutrients, they are sheltered from autumn's bluster and winter's frost. It is only when the heated light of spring has called to her and the kiss of summer has loved her, that a tree bears her fruit for all to see.

 

Our roots are our life stories

Since the dawn of time, we have pursued spiritual quests to transcend above human consciousness. Our hearts beat with a deep longing to connect with something deep inside to find a sense of belonging and meaning.  By understanding and accepting your roots, you can grow your sense of self, yielding strength to go through life with a sense of meaning. Even those whose carry little knowledge of their roots or experienced a troubled beginning will continue living. Let’s not forget that storms make roots run deep and it is by exhuming these roots that problems are unearthed and tended to. The choice to connect with your roots is ultimately yours. Needless to say you wouldn’t be exactly where you are right now without them.

Roots define us, even in their darkest earthy depths, they provide nourishment, warmth and offer the prospect of growth.

 

Roots provide grounding

Roots are an organic aspect of life. A magnificent tree cannot grow towards the sun without a strong foundation. In the practice of Yoga asana, one needs a solid base in order to root down and grow. How you cultivate your foundation is the key to creating a sagacious stable asana where you can simply be there and be still in your space. This is why “Rooting to Transcend” is a fairly common expression in Yoga classes. Off the Yoga mat, a strong sense of grounding can stem into all aspects of life; setting intentions, starting anew, making simple and large decisions. The art of mindfulness is about creating a sense of grounding and basing your actions on a firmly rooted belief. Before any decision, if you take time to ground yourself and connect with your core you will be able to see the wood through the trees and the right outcome will arise.

The value of being grounded will grow your sense of direction on this earthly journey. It will turn the wheel of your Muladhara, root chakra and provide a sense of balance and creative energy.

 

Roots are connections

Although the expanding roots of tree lay hidden beneath the soil you know they are there, for her trunk grows tall and her leaves unfold and flutter. When the right moment arises she flourishes to bear delicious fruit. This is only so, because her roots are many and sturdy. Just as the trees, sun and moon belong to the universe, so do you. It exists within you and the principle that one thing leads to another, whether it is clear to you or not, is a comforting notion.

We are all connected, attracted by energy and from time to time, the small things grow into bigger things to change the fortunes of our lives.

[tweetable alt=""]“I'm planting a tree to teach me to gather strength from my deepest roots.”
- Andrea Koehle Jones[/tweetable]

To celebrate the theme of the month, The Yogi Surprise team are going root deep unearthing the kernels of Yoga. Keep your Drishti, focused gaze on new journal entries and social posts on the roots of Yoga and our latest Yoga Sequence; Rooting Down.

Join us on Instagram to participate in our September yoga challenge on becoming rooted, inspired from Tao, verse 26:

The heavy is the root of the light.

The unmoved is the source of all movement.

Thus the Master travels all day

without leaving her home.

However splendid the views

he stays serenely in herself.

He stays poised and centred

in the midst of all activities.

Why should the Master be amused

at the foolishness of the world?

If you let yourself be blown to and fro,

you lose touch with your root.

If you let restlessness move you,

you lose touch with who you are.

Tao, verse 26

 


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