Practicing Unconditional Self-Love

When one begins to practice unconditionally loving them self, they are also nurturing a positive relationship between their mind, their body, and their being.

Unconditional love is not something that can be obtained, or a goal that is to be reached. Unconditional love is something that we as human-beings are constantly learning how to practice and cultivate within our own lives. 

So many of us often create limitations for ourselves by reinforcing self-constructed negative belief-systems, like patterns of self-doubt and self-judgement. In my personal experience, it feels much better to work towards letting go of such a mentality, and to give yourself a break.

One thing I have learned is the importance of making myself aware of the fact that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as I am able to perceive these mistakes as a lesson to learn from instead of a grievance with the power to hold me back from growing.

Instead of holding such high exceptions for ourselves, as if we’re not human-beings with imperfections, we should work towards being more compassionate and understanding towards ourselves, as we can then more genuinely express compassion and understanding towards others.

It is not selfish to prioritize yourself; if anything, once one practices loving them self unconditionally, they can then radiate that love to others,  and share it with whomever they decide to share it with.

You are already complete as you are, you don’t need any external validation to determine your self-worth, and that is truth. ♥

Patience, forgiveness, nourishment, making peace with being alone, a nice warm bath; self-love takes many forms, but at the end of the day, it simply comes down to what works best for one personally, based on their own personal life-experiences.

Trust in whatever feels right for you, and everything else will begin to fall into place.

Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)

IN THIS POSE: Gravity is working to increase blood flow throughout the body as well as draining the lymphatic system. This pose also helps to strengthen the core and triceps.

Parts of the body to focus on as you practice this pose: 

  • NeckWhile doing this pose you want to make sure to not apply pressure to your neck, you should not be feeling any pain or tension. This is where the support from the hands and arms comes in; cup your hands around the back of your head for support, keeping your forearms resting firmly on the ground. Your weight should mainly be resting on your arms; at no point should the weight of your body be resting on your neck or spine, as this can result in pain or injury.
  • Triceps – In this pose, the triceps are mainly used to stabilize oneself, and as a means of control as you transition from the ground into the air. Along with the core, the triceps are also used to maintain balance and prevent oneself from falling backwards.
  • Core – The core is very much at work in this pose, the stronger your core is the easier it will be to stay balanced while in the air.
  • Spine – The spine is what controls the alignment in this pose. When the spine is kept vertically aligned, it will prevent one from falling while in the air.
  • Hamstrings and Glutes – The hamstrings and glutes are also at work when one is transitioning from the ground into the air. They are also at work when one is adjusting their legs in order to become in alignment with the spine as a means of balance.

The goal is to eventually be able to lift yourself up into this pose without jumping, by walking your legs up towards your torso and extending them up slowly.

If you are just starting out, it would be helpful to place a pillow or something soft on the ground behind you as you lift yourself up into this pose as a precaution in case you fall backwards.

It would also help to have someone else present to assist in lifting you up, and to be there to hold your legs in the air in case you lose your balance.

It is okay to jump off of the ground in order to extend your legs into the air, but it would be beneficial to work towards walking your legs up towards your torso and slowly lifting them up into a bent position before extension, as well as bringing them down slowly when coming out of the pose instead of allowing them to drop down abruptly.

Don’t forget to breathe and release tension through each step.

It is important though to not push oneself too far, as this can result in an injury such as compression. Only ever go as far as is comfortable for you, you should not feel any pain when doing these poses.  

And as always, try not to make perfection the enemy of progress.

Becoming Aware of Internal Thought Patterns

Anyone has the ability to become the observer of thought instead of identifying with thought.

When one is able to see thoughts for what they are, a programmed belief system existing only within one’s own mind, they are then over time able to reprogram these thought patterns in order to initiate a positive shift within themselves. If one does not become aware of their negative thought patterns, then these same thoughts continue on as a cycle of ego-based suffering.

Real positive change for oneself always begins on an internal level; but one can only make the decision to change for themselves, not anyone else. If one does not want to create change for themselves, or is not truly open to change, then they can never achieve this positive change until they make the choice (on their own) to create that internal switch.

Our egos love to convince ourselves that making such an internal switch is an impossible feat, when in reality that is not the case at all. Yes, it may take time to understand your negative  patterns and to form new positive ones, and I can personally tell you now it’s not always easy to dedicate oneself to such an internal change, but this is something that any human being can achieve; if they are willing to place enough importance on it.

So if you are contemplating a change within yourself, allow me to ask you this one question, the question that was at the root of all of the positive change I initiated within myself:

Do you think you have suffered enough?

(With all my love, this post was inspired by Eckhart Tolle)

 

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

During these chaotic and unpredictable times occurring in our world right now, it would be beneficial for anyone to have some kind of practice or routine to ground oneself, instead of allowing oneself to gravitate towards and feed into fear and negativity.

Every individual has the power to make a difference in this world simply by living from a state of higher consciousness, and being a conduit for peace, love, and positivity for all of humanity. We all have the choice of whether we want to bring healing or suffering into this world, but in order to radiate positive, loving, and healing energy towards others, we must first love and heal ourselves.

Yoga is a simple and efficient grounding technique that has been around for ages.

I do a series of simple stretches every night before I go to sleep to ground and align myself, and because it helps me to release any tension being held in my physical body.  One of my favorite poses that I do every night is Standing Forward Bend, as well as West Stretch Pose (or what some would call Seated Forward Bend) which has made doing a full Standing Forward Bend much easier for me.

STRETCHES: Hamstrings, Spine, Calves, and Glutes

WEST STRETCH POSE (Paschimottanasana): West Stretch Pose is basically the same pose as Standing Forward Bend, except one is sitting down, so gravity is not the main focus as it is in Standing Forward Bend. Practicing this pose every night will help to stretch out one’s hamstrings and glutes, which can often be a tight area for most people. Stretching these areas will also help to make it easier and work towards doing a full Standing Forward Bend.

STANDING FORWARD BEND: Like most poses, Standing Forward Bend has variations so anyone can practice this pose and receive the benefits. With daily practice, one can eventually master doing a full Standing Forward Bend, which is not always an easy pose to do for people who are just starting out.

But mastering a pose is not the goal here, the goal is to feel good and take care of one’s body. Mastering of poses is just something that you obtain through the process.

In Standing Forward Bend, gravity is doing most of the work; lengthening and releasing tension in one’s neck and spine while simultaneously stretching the glutes, calves, and hamstrings. Although you probably most often see people in this pose with their hands on the ground or pressed against the calves with their legs straightened, there are also variations where the legs are bent, or where one just allows their head, torso, and arms to hang down while  extending their spine and keeping their legs straight.

Continue reading Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

The Power of Presence

Guide your attention towards being within the present moment, be content with what is.

For me personally, nothing is more important than being content within the present moment. Once one learns how to be satisfied with what is, or in other words, once one learns how to simply be, then awareness and inner peace have room to move in.

It may sound simple, but bringing all of your attention to the present moment is not always an easy task.

Like anything that can be mastered, it takes practice. Our mind consists of many thought and reactive patterns that are constantly playing through our heads on a daily basis. Sometimes we become so used to these thoughts and ways of reacting that we don’t even realize they’re there playing in the background.

We often forget that these thoughts are just thoughts, not who we are. When we take on thoughts as our identity instead of a passing production of our minds, we’re allowing our egos run the show and therefore slip into a negative cycle of judgement towards a part of ourselves that doesn’t even really exist (except as a mental construct within our own head), which often leads to more unnecessary suffering.

When one becomes conscious of the present moment, they simultaneously become aware. If you practice meditation, one way you could identify this awareness as a reference is as “the space between,” that calm and peaceful sensation that arises between each passing thought.

To forgive and let go of the past, to cease placing so much importance on the future, to be here now at all times, to be content and satisfied with all that is, there are many different paths to presence, but the goal is all the same. 

This post was inspired by Eckhart Tolle, one of my greatest influences.

We Are In Control

The only suffering one experiences is the suffering that they allow.

One is in control of how they react to any situation, as well as how they react to their own thoughts. We all have the ability to observe and change our own reactive patterns. These reactive patterns are often linked to some type of emotion, which can sometimes cause one suffering (although not always!).

By changing the way one reacts, one can stop allowing thoughts and situations to have power over their emotions.