YogiTunes is exploring the subject of self-care and maintaining your optimal lifestyle as a yoga teacher. You have your toolbox, and you’ve been filling it with excellent knowledge and skills for helping others care for themselves.
Are you making time to use these tools to serve your own mental and physical health as well?
If not, it’s time to practice some radical self-care…
The word ‘radical’ comes from the latin root ‘radix,’ which means ‘root’, while the word ‘maintain’ is ‘manu tenere’ which means ‘hold in hand’. Therefore, radical self-care or self-maintenance can literally be interpreted as holding one’s own hand; returning to tend your own roots and ‘radically’ taking care of yourself. This practice is vital and essential to sustainable growth, but it’s so very easy to forget as we get caught up in the rapid pace of day to day life.
A very wise person once said to me that once you become a teacher you have to pray twice as hard. Another taught me that if I didn’t have time to meditate, then I should make a point of sitting for three times longer than usual.
When I started making profit from writing and performing yoga music, the thing I loved most became very hard to access for a period of time. I was often distracted from the creative process by logistics and basic necessities which at times took me away from deepening into my craft through self-care and practice. The result was that I started to feel like a poser on stage… I was on auto-pilot. It is in these moments, the busy moments, that it’s vital to be mindful. To breathe. To have self-compassion and become fully present in your reality.
For me, radical self-care comes from stillness and involves breathing, relaxing, meditating, exercising, resting,
contemplating, self-reflecting, connecting, and being vulnerable. These practices help tremendously with my focused tasks and provide my body with enough attention to sustain high energy output over time.
Of course, even when we can list our self-care practices as I have here, the survival crazed ‘monkey brain’ inside keeps pulling us off course and into the chaotic and fragmented sea of distraction. For myself, it is through heightened compassion and care that I hold my hand and bring myself back to the light each time I stray. Remember, every journey simply serves to strengthen your resilience to return home inside.
The deep truth is that as I have learned how to become still, my natural way of being at ease in this world has strengthened. As I learn to become more vulnerable and transparent, the focused light of my soul breaks through and reminds me where I come from, where I’m going, why I’m here.
There are of course very real logistics to managing your career, your environment, your community + all of the other daily demands you encounter. The secret is, taking the time for radical self-care is what truly delivers us into the realm of being able to naturally and successfully attend to whatever it is we’re here to do.
Beyond my self-care practices, I try to remind myself every day that it’s not about me. I do this by practicing gratitude, generosity, kindness, humour, self-acceptance and compassion. Reminding myself that I’m here to be of service, which requires great care of the vessel that is my being so that I may sing and resonate as a clear and open channel of peace and loving kindness. I look inward so that I may look outward.
We hope that this month’s discussion of self-care and maintaining your lifestyle will inspire the gentle holding of your brilliant being 🙂
Written by Alex King-Harris