The Dalai Lama once said, “one must be compassionate to one’s self before external compassion.” Even the Dalai Lama knew the importance of practising self-love, it would seem.
Yoga is an internal journey of self-discovery, an opportunity to connect with your true self on a deeper level. Resident yogi and wellness guru, Mays Al Ali walks us through a few ways to incorporate self-love into your every day with the power of yoga.
It is an internal practice that helps cultivate the union of consciousness connection between your soul and every living being around you, through an unfolding journey of self-awareness and self-love.
Through yoga, you can focus your mind and emotions to find a gentler, more loving way to be comfortable in your own skin. Yoga allows space for deep internal healing and can be a beautiful practice for those who suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression as it slowly and lovingly allows a holistic way to heal these emotions from the inside out. Of course, the process of releasing many layers of unconscious critical self-talk can take time – and more than one yoga session. The good news is that the more you bring yourself to the mat with loving acceptance of yourself the more your sense of self-love will grow.
Yoga shows you how to honour your uniqueness by helping you to realize that you already have everything you need inside of you.
Friends, relationships may all come and go but you will always have your higher self, higher power, god, angels or whatever you feel comfortable calling it, within you looking after you, and the stillness of yoga helps you connect to this nurturing feeling. You will realize that your relationship with yourself is the most important of all relationships you will have in your lifetime. It is your foundation on which all your other relationships grow. When you love and take care of yourself, you have more love to share with others.
How can you make self-love a priority every day?
If you feel those old feelings of self-criticism and doubt creeping in, you may need a helping hand to turn those feelings around and feel your whole body filling with love, light and abundance.
Embodying abundance will bring abundance directly to you.
Yoga is just like any practice and the more you commit to bringing yourself consciously to your mat the more you will see the shifts in your thoughts, emotions and body. You will feel your physical body getting stronger and more flexible, your mind will start to think clearer and you feel more serenity and joy on a daily basis. Most importantly you will start to feel a very grounded sense of acceptance of self, rooted deep in the awareness that you are the love you’ve been seeking. I have had my ashtanga yoga practise for nearly a decade and I get on my mat most days to practise with self-love.
Ashtanga teaches you discipline to get on your mat to practise every day and slowly day by day you can notice your body and mind open up. I encourage you to find an ashtanga yoga shala near you and try this life-changing daily yoga practice that can often be described as a moving meditation. If that proves tricky, you could try making some space to lay your yoga mat right next to your bed and every morning when you wake up to see if you can make time for 10-15 minutes of stretching, whether it’s a cat-cow stretch or some sun salutations or just moving your body in any way that makes you feel good, it’s a truly wonderful start to your day.
Empower yourself through meditation
Another important tool that’s essential for cultivating self-love is a daily meditation practice. Once you’ve had a stretch you can add an extra 10 minutes to your yoga mat time to sit quietly and focus on your breath and allow peace and stillness to fill your mind, body and soul. Apps like Calm or Headspace are also great tools for guided meditations which helps cultivate a meditation practise if sitting in total stillness sounds daunting at first. Read more about meditating every day here.
Affirm what you believe in
Affirmations are also wonderful tools to use. You can write down a set of positive affirmations like the examples below or make them more focused on certain areas of your life like relationships, career or exercise. Once you have them, spend a few minutes reading them out loud with proper heart and soul meaning. You can even sing or shout them out in the shower, the more you verbalise them with positivity the more they enter your subconscious.
I am energised and full of self-love and excited for my day today
The universe will love, support and guide me today
Today will be filled with love and light
I spread light and love and positive energy wherever I go today
I love and accept every part of myself today.
The power of visualisation
Visualisation is also another powerful tool I use during my meditations where I visualise all the things I want to manifest in my life. I also use prayer in a way where I feel as if I have all the things I want in my life and give thanks for them as if I am living as the future version of myself with everything that my heart desires. Sometimes if things aren’t going so well, I pray and ask for help and guidance from my higher self or I ask for a sign if I’m going in the right direction and I always get an answer! Try it for yourself, it’s truly magical!
Discover Your Highest Purpose in Life.
We all wonder what our purpose is in life, and in many ways finding our purpose is the key to happiness. Many of us plod along in mediocre jobs that don’t make us happy struggling to find inner peace. Connecting to our higher selves and to what brings us joy in life, to our passions and making them our reality is the key to true fulfilment. As well as that being of service to others is hugely important. As we embody love and share love and acceptance to others so they can also live from a place of self-love and giving love, the universal energy will direct that love and peace right back to us. Life becomes so much more joyful and richer when you live from a space of love…. and it all starts by loving yourself.
I encourage you to try some of these tools I have mentioned and the next time you settle yourself onto a yoga mat, bring in the intention of self-love to your practice. Treat this as a sacred space for you to ground yourself in a moving meditation of self-acceptance and self-compassion. And you will see how much more fulfilling and transformative your day becomes and your life will be filled with even more joy and bliss.
If you’d like more Healthy Mays nutrition, lifestyle or yoga tips get in touch to book in for a 1-1 consultation, Mays can offer 10% the first consultation for anyone who reads this article and gets in touch: www.healthymays.com
Another wonderful way to destress and boost energy levels is to escape from it all and attend one of her yoga, meditation & retreats – Mays has three coming up in London (Hackney), Kent and Ibiza – information here.
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Healthy Mays has been teaching & studying yoga for the last 8 years spending years travelling & learning deep spiritual practises from enlightening masters around the world. As well as teaching ashtanga, rocket, vinyasa & yin yoga styles, Mays is also a reiki master & offers deep yoga Nidra meditation & pranayama teachings. Healthy Mays’s other passion lies in nutrition. She is a qualified Nutritional Therapist specialising in naturopathic healing based on a functional medicine perspective with a clinic in East/Central London. Mays loves to help individuals find their inner health with a personalised diet and lifestyle plans, incorporating the latest clinical research and of course beautifully healthy food, as well as hosting retreats.