Practicing the right kind of self-care to get to know the divine presence inside you can feel difficult. Especially if you don’t downward dog at the studio or chant with other devotees. Admittedly I do both those things sometimes, but I work with many of you who aren’t interested in that route, but still want to feel more peace and calm in your lives.
I think some grounded, physical actions are the way to go in this case.
Here are my top picks for Self Care and Inner Sanctuary for Non Yogis:
Bath with Salt, Coconut Oil and Lavender essential oil.
Epsom Salt or Sea Salt - Or a mix of both. 20 minutes. Feel the heat of the water softening your muscles. imagine the relaxing magnesium of the epsom salt being drawn into your skin while uneeded metabolites are being drawn out in chemical reaction that just happens. Inhale the lavender deep into your lunges and stretch out your diaphragm, exhale stress and tension. Arrive in your body every inhalation. Rub the oil into your joints and muscles. Know that your nervous system is benefitting from your own hands on your skin - where your nerves end. You may not realize it but you are adding to the relaxation immensely with this action. This is what your parasympathetic nervous systems responds to the most when getting a massage, according to the latest studies in Pain Management. Within 20 mins you will be refreshed and renewed and ready for the next thing. And perhaps you will also feel a deepened awareness of the stillness and calmness that resides beneath the everyday mind clutter of modern living.
Walk alone on the beach or a forest trail you feel safe in. Breathe in the ocean/trees and release tension and stress. Let Mother Earth take your troubles with the exhale and become more and more present with your inhales with how she lives. Sometimes walking through a forest is an enlightening experience if you can leave your thinking at the Trailhead… Noticing the trees that fall, and how Nature keeps growing around them, over them. Organically and peacefully. Or the waves that keep coming in, without any help from humans, needing nothing and giving everything. And taking the stress of the world away when they recede.
Choose to listen over speaking sometimes.
I volunteered on the Crisis Line when I was younger. It was a daunting task, but luckily when you sign up for this, you get 50 hours of empathic listening training. It seemed like common sense when I was learning it, but I doubt I did it before then. People need to be listened to and understood. Everyone has that need. When we practice giving this by actively listening for the feelings behind the words of the people we are talking to, we become more quiet in our own minds. And we become more of the change we would like to see, more present. Repeating back what you think you are hearing is always helpful. Staying aware of your own rhythm of breathing can help keep you grounded. Which leads me to…
Practice breathing fully.
Inhale - Abdomen, Ribs, Chest. Exhale - Chest, Ribs Abdomen. Set a timer on your phone at work. Every hour practice 3 Full Breaths. Release your jaw and facial tension with your exhales. Remember that we have a limited amount of breaths in our lifetime. And become more aware of the choices you make with these breaths.
I hope this leads you into a fantastic 2019!
love and light