The Importance of Self-Love

Posted in self care |
The Importance of Self-Love
Photography by Cecilia, Yoga and Photo

 

February is the month of love, so let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of what it means, why it’s important, how we can apply it to both ourselves & to others, and highlight a few yoga poses that embody feelings of self-love.

I’ll start by being straight-up, while February is called the month of love, the truth is, every month should be about love. Love is not seasonal. Furthermore, love is not just an emotion that is projected outward onto others, it also needs to be directed inwards at ones self.

What is Love?

In its simplest form, love can be split into ‘like’, ‘love’ and ‘in love’. To ‘like’ is to have positive thoughts and feelings, to ‘love’ is more intense as it draws in a deeper sense of care & commitment, and finally to be ‘in love’ encompasses the latter two, as well as, feelings of sexual attraction. Love creates bonds between people, and even with ourselves, it is the glue that holds us together and makes life worth living.

Ahimsa: Practising Love

The Sanskrit word Ahimsarefers to non-violence, non-harm and love. It is the first of the five Yamas, which are the yogic principles of social discipline. We can apply ahimsa by maintaining self-awareness & compassion towards other people and ourselves.

Towards other people, it means being kind and treating them with care, whether they are our family & friends, or even the person who serves us at the market or our taxi driver. We should avoid making judgements or jumping to conclusions with them.

Towards ones self, it means treating ourselves with the same amount of love that we reserve for the people who are closest to us. This can be through daily self-care routines, practising yoga to nurture our minds & bodies, and indulging ourselves with whatever it is that makes us happy. Loving ourself is important as it reaffirms our self-worth and helps us to become comfortable with who we are. It also helps us to stay positive and make healthy choices in life.

Yoga Poses for Self-Love

Heart opening poses are a beautiful way to foster a sense of self-love and promote feelings of openness, here are three of my favourites.

Wearing Manduka Apparel Collection - Essence and Presence yoga sets.

 Manduka Self Love Yoga

Viparita Virabhadrasana

Reverse Warrior pose

This pose stretches and opens up the front & side of the body, releasing tension and allowing for a deeper breath. It strengthens the legs and shoulders, and stretches the hips and inner thighs.

Getting into the pose:

1. Start in downward facing dog. Step your right foot between your hands, come up to standing, keeping a deep bend in your right knee and your left leg straight.

2. Lift your right arm up towards the ceiling and lower your left hand onto your left thigh for support. Look up at your right hand.

3. Engage your core, lift your chest up, relax your shoulders and lengthen through your spine.

4. Hold for five deep breaths.

5. Repeat on the second side.

 Manduka Self Love Yoga

Parivrtta Utthan Pristhasana

Half Twisted Lizard pose

This pose stretches the quads, hip flexors and opens chest and shoulders. It improves spinal mobility and can help to alleviate lower back pain.

Getting into the pose:

1. Start with your right foot forward and your left leg behind you (in a low lunge stance).

2. Roll onto the outer edge of your right foot, allowing the right knee to drop out to the side.

3. Place your left hand on the floor to support yourself, and lift up you left foot, holding it in place with your right hand.

4. Lengthen through your spine and lift your chest up.

5. Hold for five deep breaths.

6. Repeat on the second side. 

Manduka Self Love Yoga

Vajrasana with Anjali Mudra

Kneeling with Prayer Hands pose

This pose stretches the thighs, knees, ankles and feet. It opens the heart and chest, and helps calm and stabilise the mind.

Getting into the pose:

1. Start kneeling on the floor and place a blanket under your knees if required. Tuck your toes under. Lengthen your spine, broaden across your collarbone and relax your shoulders.

2. Place your hands in prayer position in front of your face and drop your head back. If this isn’t comfortable, continue to look forward.

3. Try to keep your weight balanced and running through the centre of your body.

4. Hold for five deep breaths.

 

More About Sarah:

Born in Hong Kong and based in London, Sarah Highfield is the founder of Yogagise Yoga. She has taught at prominent studios including Bodyism London & Yogabambam Hong Kong; she teaches on Yoga Teacher Trainings, as well as at high profile events including Om Yoga Show London and World Yoga Festival. Additionally, Sarah has led yoga retreats in Mykonos for Helios Retreats, alongside collaborations with Lululemon, London Fashion Week, Mortimer House & Catherine’s in Antigua.

She has featured on the covers of Om Yoga Magazine and Liv Magazine Hong Kong (wearing Manduka in both cover photos, no less!), was voted by London Evening Standard as one of London’s Top 10 Yoga Teachers to follow on Instagram, and has appeared in The Times, The Financial Times, Daily Mail, BBC News, Vanity Fair & Marie Claire UK magazine. Sarah believes there is a style of yoga for everyone and encourages students to discover what works for them.

Visit her website for more information: www.yogagise.com or follow her on social media: @yogagise

Photos by London based photographer www.yogaandphoto.com @yogaandphoto


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