Tag Archives: self love

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Mastering self love

{Photo of me at my most recent yoga training. Photo sent to my family at the time :).}

Hi gorgeous! I hope that you are taking care of yourself. I know it can be challenging sometimes. Modern life demands so much of us, doesn’t it? It can really feel like we are being pulled in a hundred directions.

Often, when we make a decision to slow down and start doing more for ourselves, we end up causing ourselves more anxiety. Living in a way that is more attuned to the cycles of nature and in alignment with our true nature is not an over night achievement. Often, we are up against years and years of unhealthy habits. Years of putting ourselves last that may have built up as resentment, anger, tiredness, pain in the body and even depression.

If you are wanting to heal your life, my advice to you is to take is slow. Make one change at a time.

Ayurveda does not advise making lots of changes at once. Yoga is taught in stages. We don’t just walk into a yoga class and stand on our heads in the first lesson!

We learn about our bodies, start building a relationship with our breath and each time we step on to the mat, we peel away another layer. I like to think of it as an artichoke. There are many layers that need to be peeled away to reveal that delicious heart.

And how many of us do not want to cook artichokes because it is so damn hard to get to that heart?

We are so accustomed to living in an instant society that when we decide to make changes for ourselves, we are surprised when things don’t work out  immediately. We get discouraged when we take a perceived step backwards.

Today, I would like to encourage you to reflect on your life up until this time. Sometimes, when we look at how far we have come, we can relax into our journey.

Ask yourself: What do I know now that I did not know 10 years ago? How am I living more in alignment with my true nature than I have ever been? What am I really proud of?

Marvel at the progress you have made in your own self development. Perhaps you eat healthier than you have ever eaten. Perhaps you value your sleep now and you didn’t before. Perhaps you are more patient and kind with your children and your family.

Remember, we are not looking for perfection here. We are looking for perspective. We are always, always growing. Nothing is ever complete. Just embrace where you are in your journey right now.

Now, think of one thing, just one thing that you would like to focus on improving for a while.

Perhaps you would like to start going to a yoga class. Did you know that the cost of a yoga class is less than the cost of a movie? Yoga teachers have so much wisdom to impart. We don’t think twice about going to watch a movie, but we have to budget for our own self care in the form of a yoga class.

Really think about how much you value yourself. Don’t your children deserve to receive the best of you?

Perhaps you can make a commitment to be in bed by 10pm. Did you know that Pitta dosha is active between the hours of 10 and 2? If we are still awake after 10pm, we have entered the element of fire, which is why we have a renewed burst of energy at 10 o’clock. Lots of fun at 10, but not so fun in the morning when our family needs our attention.

I would love to know about your journey. Have you made positive changes in your life that deserve to be celebrated?

Mastering self love is a daily practice. There is no destination. There is only the journey.

What can you do today, that can bring you more peace and joy?

Blessings to you.

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In praise of the afternoon nap

Hi gorgeous!

How are you doing? If you are reading this and it also Autumn for you, I hope that you are managing to slow down. When I wrote about Ayurveda’s take on Autumn in this post, I mentioned how Vata time (the quality that is most prominent in this season) makes us a bit heady and spacey. This is because the qualities of air and space are prevalent, so we naturally amplify those qualities within ourselves.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is how different times of the day are also more prominent. These are rough guides and they can vary based on the time of year and your latitude, but, generally, Vata is most active between the hours of two and six. This is applicable in the afternoon and in the evening.

Do you ever wake at two in the morning? Ha, ha, that is Vata time! Meditation is recommended before six a.m. because Vata is the most “airy” time of the day, so we are very receptive.

But, this is a post about afternoon naps, I digress.

Basically, if you have Vata in your constitution, a Vata imbalance or it is Vata season (windy, cold, dry) outside, you need to take extra precautions at Vata time to stay balanced.

Vata needs warmth, grounding, sweetness and routine.

An afternoon nap (20 minutes or so) is a perfect way to ground Vata, since it slows down the movement that is inherent in Vata. If we don’t consciously slow down at this time of the day, we can get a bit frazzled and feel really worn out by the end of the day. Do this for a couple of years and you start waking at 2 a.m. (I know because I have done it!)

When I first started working on balancing my constitution (My Vata was out of balance), I would nap every day if I could. On the days that I couldn’t, I made a point of sitting and having a cup of tea.

Now that I feel much more grounded, I still have a nap if I feel like it.

Or else, I make myself a cup of chai with a cookie (remember I said Vata needs sweet – I have just given you permission to have some cake in the afternoon!). I also read or watch something inspiring, sit outside, or just lie in bed. I do this between two and three p.m. before I pick up my children from school. When they come home, we have some more afternoon tea, all together. (You can’t have too much afternoon tea, I say!)

My husband has a job in the city and does not have the luxury of lying down for an afternoon nap, so I have encouraged him to go for afternoon tea with his colleagues and to eat something sweet (fruit is really good to have at this time) between the hours of two and six. He says that it really makes a difference to his day and he also doesn’t come home ravenous.

I hope that is helpful to you. Give it a try and let me know if it makes a difference to your day.

Blessings to you.

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A special love note for you

Hello gorgeous!

I hope that you are having a wonderful day.

I have been wanting to do a video for you for a looooooooong time.

So, I did!

It is really, just a love note to you. Telling you that you are amazing. And that you matter. And that your children think that you are the best thing in the world.

And that I love that you come and visit me in this space.

I hope it brightens up your day!

Blessings to you.

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My manifesto

Self abhyanga – Ayurvedic self massage

Hi gorgeous!

Today I would like to share something very special with you. It is something that I have discovered is crucial for mothers, especially us mothers in the West. It is called Self Abhyanga, or Ayurvedic self massage. It is the most incredible thing that you can do for yourself.

In India, this is part of the culture. Unfortunately, most of us have not been taught how to really, really nurture ourselves. Especially as mothers. We give so much to our children and if we do not replenish ourselves, we end up functioning from a depleted space. Not good for our wellbeing in many ways. Our health suffers and our spirit suffers, we end up with a depleted life force.

The reason this is so special is because it pacifies Vata Dosha. In Ayurveda, Vata is the element of air and space. Think of the wind blowing on a cold day. Vata is cold, dry and changeable. Most people in the West are dealing with too much Vata. Do you ever get cold? Have creaky joints? Live too much in your head – with the fairies? Can’t make up your mind, go from one idea to the next, all the time?

This is Vata being overactive.

The way to balance any element is to give it its opposite. So, if we are feeling like we have too much Vata, we do not help ourselves by eating raw salads and not wearing warm enough clothes. We need to give Vata warmth, stability and mostly LOVE.

Lots and lots of love and nourishment.

We can perform the self massage with warm sesame oil.  This is particularly beneficial for Vata imbalance as sesame oil is very warming and nourishing.

(You can use other oils like coconut, but coconut is very cooling, not what you want for Vata imbalance)

It is a practice that you can perform before you have a bath or shower. You start with your feet and move all the way up towards your head. It is a really, really nourishing practice and I really, really, really recommend it! My children LOVE doing it before bed, they are so peaceful afterwards and sleep beautifully.

It is good to use black sesame oil if you can get it at the supermarket.

I personally love the Vata body oil from Rasasara. You can get it here.

The reason oil is so good is because Vata is dry. And that is why we need to increase our essential fatty acid intake and not be afraid of fat (the good kind, of course). 

Here is a beautiful video from the Mudita institute where you can watch someone perform a self abhyanga. My children get me to put it on for them.They do their own self massage and I clean up the kitchen after their dinner.

I highly recommend watching the video to get a real sense of how to perform it and to understand how profoundly simple it is.

I would love to hear if you do this practice and whether it has benefitted you? I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It is exactly what this mama needs to soothe her soul and to send her off to dreamland.

I normally run a bath, put on my oil and climb into the bath while I listen to a guided meditation for about 20 minutes.

Bliss, I tell you!

Wishing you a beautiful day, wherever you are and here is to more and more mothers modelling how to nurture and honour ourselves. It is how we change the world, one oil massage at a time!

Blessings to you.

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The one thing you need to do to be a better mother

I have just spent a whole day at a women’s yoga and meditation workshop. A whole day to come home to myself. I have a wonderful husband who made dinner and spent the whole day with my children. I came back to a happy home and I put the children to bed with a full tummy and a happy heart.

It wasn’t always so easy. When I first started going to yoga on a Saturday morning (for an hour and a half), Annie would cry at the door while I was leaving. Sohail was supportive of me going, but didn’t really “get” why I had to go and do something on my own. The yoga brought up so many things that had been accumulating in my body for years, that, for the first year, I would come home and sleep for the rest of the day. I would feel very tender, I hated relaxation. I didn’t notice a difference in my life for a while, but I kept going –  because I felt better after each class, and that was enough.

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This morning, when I was getting ready to go, Xavier (4 years old) was upset that I was going. “Please don’t go mommy, I will miss you!” As he was hanging onto my leg.

Me: “But Xavier, doesn’t mommy always come back much happier when she goes to yoga?”

Xavier: “Yes.”

Me: “And don’t you want mommy to be happy?”

Xavier: “Yes.”

Me: “So I will see you later. Maybe you can send me a rainbow while I am there and I will send one back to you.”

Xavier: “I don’t know how to send you a rainbow, but I can draw one. Bye Mommy, I am going to go and draw you a rainbow!!”

Often, our children just need someone, or something to help them with the transition of us leaving. That, along with us knowing that we are actually serving our children by us taking some time to do something that brings us deep pleasure.

Sometimes we need to take a leap of faith. Even though it may be hard to stand in front of our family and say that our needs are important, we do it anyway. We don’t know how it will make our lives better, but we intuitively know that it will make a difference. We brace ourselves for a bit of an uncomfortable ride as we change the rules about how available we are. Our partners and children start to juggle their expectations and home responsibilities.

And, all of a sudden, it just works. It is expected that mommy also has needs. I know it is hard to do. As mothers, we are wired to take care of everyone else. And when we start taking care of us, we sort of don’t know what to do. And our families sort of freak out in the beginning. One of the women at the workshop today is entering her menopause years. She was listening to me talking about the importance of self care, even when we have small children.

She looked at me and said that she wished that she had made herself more of a priority when her family was young.

So, I encourage you to take the step in the direction of your heart. What is your heart’s deepest yearning? What will give you the greatest pleasure? Start doing it. Our nature as women is to receive pleasure.

Look for pleasure in your life wherever you can find it. Start planning your day, based on how it can nourish you, instead of basing it on a to do list.

Watch your life transform overnight.

Blessings to you.

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