Love yourself. Yes. But how?
You've heard this phrase in yoga class, in Pilates, in meditation, in your conscious book club, even at your juice bar. You've heard this phrase so many times that you would think by now you'd get it. And yet you don't.
Just love yourself.
But what if you've spent years and years judging yourself, wishing you could change parts of you so you'd look like more like someone else, and just generally not loving yourself? What if you're just not sure how to love yourself? What if it's just not that simple?
Self love is a practice. Just like yoga is a practice. You don't gracefully float back into chaturanga in your first class, no, it takes years of practice and discipline and discovery to be able to do that. But they don't offer too many self love classes. Just the command. Love yourself.
Where do you even begin? How do you start to heal the years of loathing and judgement? How do you train your mind to choose compassion over comparison? What does it even mean to "love yourself"?
Start with self care. Start with treating yourself like you would treat the person you care for most in this world. Because the only person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with is you. Make it a lifelong romance.
Self love is cultivated. Practices like abhyanga, or self massage, are enormously helpful for cultivating self love.
Abhyanga can be done every day, or as many times a week as you can. It takes about 20 minutes and should be done before you shower. Use sesame, coconut, apricot, or any other oil that won't clog your pores. Add essential oils for aromatherapy benefits if you'd like. Massage your entire body from scalp to toes. Take your time. Repeat a self affirming mantra. "I am content with who I am", "I am proud of me", "I love myself", or anything that resonates with you.
Eat things that make your body feel good. Refined sugars give you a massive crash hours later and make you irritable. Too much caffeine does the same. Eat whole foods. Eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. Things that help your body run at an optimum level. Eating well is a form of self respect.
Take baths. Or any type of water therapy that you love. Take a bath with Himalayan pink salt, lavender essential oils, and chamomile tea bags. Repeat your self love mantras. Listen to your favorite yin yoga playlist or chill out to some Krishna Das or Wah. Words and music can alter the molecular structure of water. Listen to something beautiful and that water will become truly beautiful at a molecular level. Water therapy has been around for as long as humans have. It is healing and calming and the perfect way to practice self love.
When you catch yourself in old patterns of judgement or comparison, remind yourself to be compassionate. Remember to care for yourself; mind, body, and spirit. And yes, love yourself.
About the Author
Adriana is a yoga teacher and YogaClub Tribe Leader. Her yoga journey began at a young age and continues to inspire her every day by healing mind, body and spirit through the breath. She received her 200 Hour RYT through Frog Lotus Yoga's center, Suryalila, in Adalusia, Spain. She also trained an additional 50 hours with Heba Saab at Body Heat Hot Yoga in Las Vegas, NV. She continued training with Heba by assisting and acting as a mentor to her 200 Hour trainees. She trained with Cameron Shayne in Miami and received a 50 Hour certification in the Budokon Yoga system. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and a Reiki Level 2 practitioner. Her yoga practice has brought sweetness and authenticity into her life and her intention is to share that sweetness and help her students strive to be their own authentic selves.