Valentine's Day is right around the corner! This Valentine's Day focus on practicing self-love regardless of your relationship status. The most important relationship you have is with yourself. How can you love someone else and be in a healthy relationship, if you don't love yourself first? You can't rely on someone else for your happiness, true and lasting happiness comes from within. I believe that until we love ourselves unconditionally, we will end up in unhealthy relationships, constantly seeking validation and a source of happiness and love from our partner.
Last year instead of putting my energy into dating or being in a relationship, I focused on myself. Through my yoga practice, meditation, reflection, journaling, and creating lists I was able to find, love, and accept myself. I am more confident, out-spoken, optimistic, happy, vibrant, and in-tune with my emotions. This was one of the best things I could have done for myself. I have done a lot of work on myself and am continuously striving to be the best person I can be. After a year of self discovery, I met my boyfriend. I can see the ways loving myself has helped me to be a better partner. This Valentine's Day consider cultivating a self-love practice. Treat yourself to some much needed love this Valentine's Day. Below are 5 ways to cultivate self-love. Try one or all of these ideas and see which ones resonate with you.
1. Create a positive mantra
A mantra is a word or phrase you can repeat during your yoga practice, meditation, or daily life. My first mantra was "I am beautiful on the inside and out" this mantra continues to help me feel positive about my body image and the qualities I possess. An example of a mantra for self-love could be "I love myself, I am a beautiful, unique spirit. There is no one else quite like me." or "I radiate love and respect and in return I get love and respect".
2. Practice heart opening yoga poses
Backbends open the front of the body and stimulates the heart chakra, which increases our sense of well-being, confidence, and connection to the world around us. Backbends help to open and balance the heart chakra, and release tension and blocked emotions. Some of my favorite heart opening poses are: camel, reclined hero, bridge, wheel, up dog, dancer, mermaid, and bow pose.
3. Create a list of qualities you love about yourself or a gratitude list
Before creating a list, meditate. Breathe and bring your attention to your heart. Listen to any messages coming from your heart. Your heart is the key to your life, when you listen to it effectively and take action your life flows in a harmonious and joyful way. After meditating, create a list of all the qualities you love about yourself. When you see all of your amazing qualities on paper it will make it that much easier to love yourself. Then create a list of all the positive things in your life and all of the things you are grateful for. Finding the positive areas in your life help to increase and sustain a positive outlook on life. You can practice gratitude and self-love everyday by finding 3 things you love about yourself and 3 things you are grateful for everyday.
4. Let go of what no longer serves you
Let go of the negative inner dialogue, toxic relationships, comparisons to other people, past mistakes and even clutter in your room. Make space for positive thoughts, emotions, experiences, and people. Whenever you are having a negative thought about yourself, repeat your self-love mantra. When you change your inner dialogue, you change your perception on yourself, your outlook, or even your life. Declutter on the inside and outside. Go through your closet, room, house, or apartment and let go of the things that are no longer serving you and create space for what really matters. Getting rid of old things will make room for new things to come in to your life! Sometimes letting go of clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. that remind you of a certain time in your life and links to a negative vibe can cleanse your mind.
5. Pamper yourself
Take time to nourish yourself and relax. Treat yourself to a message or give yourself a massage. Practice a heart-centered meditation by breathing into your heart. Cozy up to a book and a great smelling candle. Take time to indulge in a bubble bath! Do anything that will nourish your body and mind.