Being Kind to Myself—Through Yoga

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, December 11, 2014

yoga tree pose

Being Kind to Myself—Through Yoga

It has been a busy week. Rushing to and fro, getting ready, hustle bustle. I almost talked myself into skipping yoga today. Am I glad I didn’t!

My yoga instructor Ine is marvelous. She has been doing yoga for more than thirty years. And does she know how to instruct! She tells people that they should try their best, but not to get upset if your particular body doesn’t want to or isn’t able to do some of the yoga positions. And not to worry about it! Even if I am not able to do several yoga poses and positions this week, I am encouraged to continue to try. To strive to improve, but to know my body. And, not to cross the point of pain, of hurting when I stretch and move.

Ine’s wise words are applicable in so many areas in my life! If I need to improve in healthy eating, or in regular prayer and meditation, or in practicing patience, or any one of a dozen other areas . . . I can apply Ine’s simple yet effective idea.

I was talking with a newcomer to yoga today, after class. He’s fit and healthy, but had never done yoga before this month. I believe today was his third class, and he likes it very much. He mentioned to me that an hour and a half of hatha yoga makes him as worn out as a strenuous hour and a half bike ride. We both laughed at that.

But, isn’t that the way? I need to stretch and bend and do poses regularly. And as I do these poses and work on my core strength, cardio-vascular training and flexibility, it’s one of the kindest things I can possibly do for myself. Good health, better circulation, stronger core, easier mobility. What’s not to like about that?

Plus, if I look at things from a more Godly, spiritual perspective, it pleases God when I keep my body fit, in good health. Again, what is there not to like? And, God, thanks especially for Ine, a caring, loving instructor who is interested in every single person, no matter how “good” or “bad” they are at yoga.

@chaplaineliza

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Showing Love? Self-Care, Of Course!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, February 17, 2014

winter_glow_-_etsy

Showing Love? Self-Care, Of Course!

The last few days have been tough. Really challenging for me, in several ways, including what I suspect is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Makes me hardly feel like slogging through the day, right now. In addition, what do I think of the continuing wintry weather today and the snow coming down almost all day? It’s the cherry on top of an ice cream (or, if you prefer, an icy) confection. Or perhaps, the icing on top of an ice cream cake, with extra snowy sprinkles.

I met with my marvelous therapist this afternoon. (And yes, our conversation was private and personal, and I’m not sharing it with anyone in a public forum like this. Sorry about that.) What I would like to focus on is the self-care aspect of seeing my therapist. As soon as I walk into his home office, I feel myself begin to unwind and become less tense. Today was no different. Today, he and I together dug up some interesting and potentially valuable insights into my life and experience.  And yes, I felt cared for at the end of my session, both by my therapist as well as by me. Self-care.

I started thinking about possible verses in the Bible that might refer to self-care. Lo and behold, I found several! One that really hit home today was Matthew 11:28, where Jesus says “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Check, and check. I do feel weary and burdened. And, I also feel like hibernating and not coming out until spring. When I feel this way, acts of service to others are not the first thing that leaps to the forefront of my mind. Gosh, it’s a good thing I have that invitation from God to come into God’s presence every day.

But my day of self-care wasn’t over. After the session with my therapist, I went to the YMCA. For the past two months, I have started to go to a gentle yoga and stretching class. (That’s what it’s called—Gentle Yoga and Stretching. Not quite euphonious, but certainly descriptive.)  A major difficulty was the weather. Because of the blowing snow and the snarled traffic on the streets, not too many people came to the yoga class. But I was there! And, so was the teacher, and a handful of other students. The simple and straight-forward yoga poses we were urged to try made me feel alive and invigorated. And the teacher’s calm, soothing voice made me feel welcome and comfortable.

As I finished changing in the locker room and left the Y, I was much more centered and content. And just imagine, I am invited to access that same contentment and peace that I felt at the end of yoga. I can feel the same welcome that I did just be coming into the home office of my therapist. Self-care! And You’ll help me with that, too, God.

Dear God, thanks for the reminder that I need to slow down each day, and perhaps even stop outright. And try a little self-care, too.

@chaplaineliza