First, my sincerest apologies. As I write this month’s newsletter I am acutely aware that it is 23 days late. It is not my style to be late like this, and it’s even so late that I considered simply sending a June newsletter. I cherish this as a vehicle to stay connected with you, and so although it is late, I did not want to wait any longer. Please accept my apologies for the delay. Once you make your way to Janati Yoga School – you will see why I have been pre-occupied 😉
This year has been crazy busy for me… new puppy, new Yoga School, new group of 200-Hr YTT graduates, new 500-Hr YTT modules, Ayurveda School, a trip to Las Vegas (where I went with the intention of relaxing – yes, I get the irony!), a new kitten, teaching classes and the beginning of the summer YTT. Yep, busy.
At our open house on Saturday someone kindly asked me how I was “holding up”. I guess my soft insides are pretty obvious to most folks. I was really happy to be able to say “I’m doing great!”
And the truth is, I am doing great 🙂 Being able to say this got me thinking… how am I doing so well despite all the busyness and longest to do lists ever?
In January I took an Energy Medicine Workshop with my student, Karuna Reiki Master and friend Cheryl Hiebert. At the workshop Cheryl talked about how important our self care practices are – and I could not agree more!
Our self-care practices are the little (and sometimes not so little) things we do every day for ourselves. In yoga, there is an entire limb of practice dedicated to this known as the niyamas. Sometimes the niyamas are translated as observances or self-control, however I like Nicolai Bachman’s translation of self-care.
There are five parts to the niyamas according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:
- Cleanliness (Saucha): This is keeping the body-mind clean by making choices that nourish us, instead of choices that poison us. This includes everything we ingest or take in, known as ahara; what we eat, read, watch, do, and the company we keep.
- Contentment (santosha): Being happy with where we are, what we have, and cultivating an attitude of gratitude. This allows us to tap into the flow of abundance. We bring to us what we focus our attention on (hint hint) 😉
- Purification (tapas): Acting in ways that create positive change in our lives. The literal translation of tapas is “heat”. Sometimes this niyama can get uncomfortable. Yet if there’s anything I learned in therapy, it is that getting comfortable with discomfort is a skill well worth acquiring.
- Self-Study (svadhyaya): It is about turning inward, getting to know ourselves and the world around us. Again, I will quote Nicolai Bachman, “As we become aware of our strengths and weaknesses we can use intention to reinforce our positive qualities and let go of the ones that no longer serve us”.
- Surrender to something greater than us (ishwara-pranidhana): This means trusting in the universe, God, or nature. It allows us to cultivate humility, and let go of the things we cannot control. I find this latter part really helpful in terms of focusing my energy productively.
And so over the past few months as the universe has been rocking me with opportunities and newness galore – I’ve been able to stay standing thanks to my dedication to my self-care practices.
For me this means getting enough sleep (7 to 8 hrs/night), regular yoga practice (breathing, meditation (especially yoga nidra!), postures, and mantra – some days it’s in 10 minute spurts, one thing at a time), good food (resisting the temptation of sugar!), letting go of needing things to be perfect, asking for help (thanks Kristie!), body work, reiki and laughing every chance I get.
I invite you to consider your self-care practices… What are they? How often do you do them? Do they help when the stress levels go up (sometimes we forget that great happy things can also be stressful – like weddings, new puppies/kitten/babies, and opening yoga schools)?
Om Shantih and Prema (universal peace & love),
ps. Here’s a pic of our puppy LB and his new kitten sister Dharma for your enjoyment. The story behind this photo is that I was trying to savasana (yes, the irony of my words is not lost on me) under the Mexican blanket they are lying on, and they were doing everything in their power to distract me. When the timer went off and I got up, this happened 😉