Y is for Yoga


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Yoga is the one kind of meditative exercise where I am not constantly thinking, “are we done with this stretch?” Or “what exactly is this doing for my body?”

I can even meditate at the end of lengthy sessions and let my mind just occupy my body. Meditation has always been a struggle for me. Only once outside of yoga have I successfully calmed my mind.

The hour-long free yoga classes at college are what got me through the stress of some projects and many a finals week.

I remember going to the yoga sessions feeling the weight of the my classload. Leaving, I felt calmer, stronger and rejuvenated to approach my tasks.

Besides doing it for stress relief, I have done yoga with children. This fun and amusing because they tend to question every pose and admit the silliness of it all.

Doing yoga with my neices was the most fun, after I said agreed they got very serious about it. By the end of it we had a contest of who can stretch the furtherest and who can hold the tree without falling. Auntie Kat didn’t win against the six and ten year olds of course.

I hope one day to take more classes. I have a silly dream to lead my own yoga classes someday, but for now I’m having fun with doing the warrior for my bathroom mirror.

Valentine’s Day: Self-Compassion

Some people love this holiday and some people hate it. Who is forcing you to celebrate it?

If you feel socially obligated to do something special this week then do this, work on self-compassion.

Self-compassion is a way of treating yourself with kindness instead of criticizing yourself. It has all of the benefits and none of the pitfalls of self-esteem.
I’m no expert, watch this video. This speaker, Kristen Neff, identifies the failings of self-esteem, three main parts of self-compassion and its benefits.

I followed some links and found her website. There is a book, if you want to spend money. There are videos, exercises for increasing your self-compassion, meditations and more.

If you’re skeptical like me, then it may sound like some hippy-dippy faith you must believe blindly. I am not asking you to do that. Watch the TEDx video and just keep an open mind. She makes some good points.

She has various exercises to help you work on your S-C and specifically mindfulness, common humanity and self-kindness.
One thing I love is that she encourages journaling and has a guided format for those shy about writing their feelings.

So maybe you’re not with your it man or woman on this made up holiday. So what!? Work on loving yourself, do random acts of kindness for people who need a smile, pamper yourself.
Pamper doesn’t mean spend a lot of money. Do something for yourself. You survived another year.

At the end of her exercises she offers some ways you might treat yourself. Who deserves a special something more than you?

Here are her ideas to treat yourself. Ultimately, do something you enjoy.
°Get a massage, a pedicure, or other form of pampering.
°Take a nap in the middle of the day.
°Go to a comedy club.
°Rent a tear-jerker DVD and let it all out.

°Listen to relaxing music while lying on the sofa with your eyes closed.

°Practice loving-kindness meditation or do yoga for a half-hour.

°Hang out with a friend for an evening.

°Go dancing (home, club, informal group). Or, do the self-compassionate body scan (guided meditation on her site).

°Have that oh-so-compassionate glass of red wine, accompany it with a large glass of water to help your body cope with its dehydrating effects.  Or, if you find you are drinking too much and it’s starting to harm rather than to enhance your well-being, have some dark red juice (cranberry, pomegranate, or cherry) mixed with sparkling water in a wine glass. Often just the sight of dark red liquid in a wine glass will trigger a relaxation response.

Who says you have to do it on the 14th. Chocolate goes on sale February 15th.

What do you think? Too far out or worth a try?