16 Sep It’s Time To Change Your Life With The Love Yoga Challenge
Posted at 15:02h in Mindfulness
Tell us one thing you truly love about yourself? It’s not that easy to answer for most of us, in comparison to when asked to name something that you don’t like about yourself, that’s when it comes pouring out. Why it is that we’re not really into ourselves? It seems super easy to love others, but loving ourselves with all our flaws looks rather tricky.
Hands up if you are up for a challenge? Great. Let’s start a 30-day yoga challenge on self-love. You’ll be amazed at how much love you have to give to yourself.
“The only monogamous, long-term relationship we’ll ever have is the relationship to ourselves,” says Krissy Jones, co-founder and yoga director at Sky Ting Yoga in New York City. Self-love is merely cultivating a healthy relationship to all aspects of yourself: how you talk to yourself, how you treat your body, and the choices you make, she says. Treating yourself with love and respect, and striving to be a better human, will translate into every relationship you have outside of yourself, Jones says. We all know that saying, your vibe attracts your tribe.
We, yogis, know that one of the best self-love practices is yoga. The practice helps you self-soothe during stressful times and regulates your nervous system. Furthermore, you don’t need to go to a 60-minute class at a studio to reap the benefits; just five minutes a day of restorative postures at home can have a profound effect.
Get ready for a month-long journey of serious reflection, compassion, and love. In this challenge, we’ll show you a few easy techniques on how to mindfully begin your mornings with breathwork and meditation. We encourage you to not pick up your phone until after, we know it’ll be a difficult habit to break but wait for the benefits to unfold. We encourage you to switch your phone into aeroplane mode before you settle into your bedtime routine and switch it on after your morning meditation. Trust us; you’ll not even miss it after a while. For your bedtime routine, we have picked different restorative yoga poses for more self-love.
We’ve broken the 30 days down into digestible daily bites to ease you into your self-love gradually. You can follow each day as below and after completing your first full week, mix them up as you feel like or start from Day 1 again.
Let the love challenge begin, yogis.
Begin your morning with five minutes or more of meditation. Remember, no phone, social media peeking or emails checking until afterwards.
Set yourself a timer, so you don’t need to peek at your phone for how long you still have to go. Now sit down cross-legged, on a cushion or your shins, ideally with your hips higher than your knees. Think comfortable over super-yogi-pose; you should be able to sit comfortably for five minutes in stillness. Let your hands rest on your thighs, either palm facing up to openly receive or palms down if your mind is busy and you need to feel grounded. Meditate on your breath for five minutes, watching the inhale and following the path of your breath until the exhale. You should feel calm and overall, ready to start your day. End your day with switching your phone into aeroplane mode again. And before you blissfully drift off to sleep try a few minutes of legs up the wall. You can lie in your bed for this pose, making it as comfy as you like and then all you have to do is roll over and drift off to sleep.
Start your morning with no phone, again, and instead practise your deep breathing and meditation for six minutes or more. Before you go to bed, do 3-5 minutes of legs up the wall pose and half-pigeon pose. Remember to change your legs over in your pigeon. You can use as many blankets and pillows as you wish to make your pigeon as comfy and restorative as you want.
Your morning starts the same way as it did for the first two days: seven minutes or more of meditation and deep breathing, and no phone. Try to avoid turning to your phone on for the first 30 minutes of your day. You can gradually extend that “no phone” period each day, so perhaps one day you don’t check your phone until you’re on your way to work. This evening start your bedtime routine with the half-pigeon pose, and rounded plough pose, focusing on directing your breath to the lower back and kidney region. Hold each of these poses for a few minutes. Focus your attention on the inhale and exhale of your breath.
Wake up and meditate on your breath for eight minutes or more. Do you even miss your phone now? Most likely not. End your day with a wide-legged forward fold and rounded plough pose. Hold each posture for a few minutes to deepen into the stretch. How good does yoga in your PJ’s feel, right!
Start your morning with deep breathing and nine minutes or more of meditation. As you sit, focus on your breath and any other sensations you feel in your body. Acknowledge your thoughts but not get attached to them. Before bed, prop yourself up in a restorative fish pose, and restorative bridge for a few minutes. Use as many pillows and blankets again to get you comfy and to relax.
Wake up and meditate for ten minutes. Meditation time should not be a that much of a challenge for you at this point compared to your first few days. You can sit in meditation even after your timer goes off and you have the time. End your day with half-pigeon pose and rounded plough pose. Hold the poses for up to five minutes if possible. You can also start to create your rituals, like burning your favourite candle or incense for your restorative yoga. If five minutes seems a long time to hold a pose, you can start to count your breath or create a yoga playlist with your favourite chill tunes that you can listen to while in your poses.
Welcome the day with 5 minutes of “box breathing,” a technique that involves inhaling for four counts, holding the breath for four counts, exhale for four and then pausing again for four counts. This amazing breathing technique slows your breath, increases internal awareness, and soothes your mind. After your “box breathing” exercise, meditate for eleven minutes. To end your day practice legs up on a wall, restorative fish pose, and therapeutic bridge. Again, make these poses as comfy and relaxing for you as possible. Take this time to unwind before sleep.
And just like that week, one is already done. How great does it feel to start and end your days with just focusing and tuning into you? You wouldn’t have it any other way now that you experienced it first hand, now would you? Hand on heart, do you even miss your phone at all? It was challenging at; first, we admit, but it’s so easy to break a habit and create new blissful rituals for just us.
After your first full week, you can start to add journaling, a gratitude practice, extended meditation time to 20 minutes in the mornings and even adding in an extra meditation in the evenings.
Start your mornings by adding some time to log your dreams in a dream journal: write down any images, symbols, or figures you can remember. You can also start to extend your meditation time for another five minutes each week. We’ve got some meditation inspiration for you so that you can try a few different ones every week.
In the evening, increase your yoga time to 10 minutes before bed. Try to add journaling before your yoga as well. Write down places in your day where you felt at ease, connected, and times where you felt distracted, frustrated, and cynical, this practice will help you to navigate your mental space, and you’ll be able to identify places where you get stuck and where you’re centred and grounded.
And to sweeten the love challenge bedtime routine for you, we at yogaholics have created a bed yoga sequence for you. Yes, you read that right: yoga in bed, how good is that? Let Duncan lead you through a restorative sequence to get you ready for a night of blissful sleep. Try it; you seriously have no idea what you are missing.
Now spread the love, yogis.
Always remember, love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye!
Written by Cory Stieg for Refinery 29