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Self-Love Meditation. A powerful practice that can ease a racing mind. By drawing our attention to our innermost self, we find our source of inner peace and acceptance. Stressful thoughts gently diminish as we gain the peace required to move forward with grace.
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If we do not allow the natural love for ourselves to be expressed, love does not reveal it’s beauty very often throughout each day of our lives.
Get into a nice relaxing position, removing any distractions for the duration of this session.
Take the very first action in self love RIGHT NOW.
Your ability to breathe at will, in all different kinds of ways.
Our breath has been there literally our entire lives, changing as needed to the demand of exciting circumstances and flowing effortlessly when we are resting.
Taking multiple full and deep breaths every day is proven to change our bodies and minds for the better.
Take in 5 full and deep breaths, holding it for a moment at the top, and naturally exhaling.
1 inhale a nice a big breath, expanding your belly and lungs as much as you can…..
Hold it….and exhale gently with relief.
2 inhaling fresh oxygen that will be supplied to your blood stream….holding it to soak it in….and exhaling without any effort.
3 inhale feeling rejuvenated and invigorated by this breathing….hold it….and exhale easily.
4 inhale noticing how breathing fully comes naturally for you….pausing to soak it in….and exhale any tension or worry.
And 5 inhaling fully is an act of self-love….pausing to feel this Love….and exhale into complete relaxation.
Let your breath flow at a pace without any effort from you now.
Good, by doing this you a proving you are capable of self-love.
Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, sometimes referred to as the ‘rest and digest’ system.
By breathing deeply and often, you are commanding your body to rest, which relaxes and rejuvenates you…
This is self-love in it’s simplest form, that anyone can do at anytime of the day.
Now let’s honor our self by relaxing the mind even further.
Notice now how your thoughts are rising in your mind, one after the other.
See them come, and see them go….
Some thoughts linger for some time, and some thoughts only come for a split second…
If you can really focus, you will notice even smaller thoughts, such as describing the world around you, or labeling the things in your surroundings.
Let your hearing become super alert now, and try to focus on some sounds around you…
Maybe you can hear the sound of your breath……….
Can you hear nature nearby?.........
Or perhaps cars passing by….…..or people talking with each other……….just go from sound to sound, focusing on only one at a time……..
Now stop focusing on any sound in particular and just allow all of the noises around you to come in equally, and when you hear them, they almost act as tiny waves of relaxation, calming your mind.
Good…Your mind relaxes when you activate your senses on command.
Let’s use the power of your amazing visualization abilities to induce self love.
Begin to imagine yourself full of an abundance of self-love.
See yourself now, choosing healthy foods, and cooking at home so you know all of the ingredients you are putting into your body…
Vividly see yourself eating well…
When you eat well, see yourself enjoy these moments, and you feel the nutrition that these choices bring you…
Imagine now you have a strong will to avoid junk foods and unhealthy drinks…
See yourself in great detail confidently saying no all these things, you feel very proud now, when you avoid eating something unhealthy.
Eating healthy is an essential component in self-love.
Another form of self-love is observing your mental chatter…
In order to have great self love, you must expand the good things you feel about yourself and challenge any negative thoughts as soon as they arise.
So hear yourself saying,
“When I fully love myself, I am able to fully love others.
Deciding to love myself is a wonderful agreement.
Each day, I allow my love for myself grow more and more.
I am worthy of love and I honor the joy that comes with it.
Deciding to love myself unconditionally, no matter what happens feels wonderful.
I deserve love and self respect.
My self-esteem grows along with my self-love
I love and accept everything about myself
I completely and always love myself.
Today I love myself even more than yesterday.
Truly loving myself is easy for me.
The more I love myself, the better my entire health.
I love every moment of my existence.
Every part of me that makes me who I am is encompassed with love.
I have unconditional love within me that overflows in abundance to those around me.”
Now gently opening your eyes, take a fresh breath and know that whenever you Love yourself, you will find Love.
How Can Mindfulness Help Us with Body Image
Mindfulness is the practice of developing greater awareness. This awareness can relate to our bodies and minds and how they work together or against each other. We’ve all felt disconnected from our body at times and felt resentment that we don’t look like we want to look or move like we wish to move. How can mindfulness help us in this area?
Watch what you say: Our words can either heal or hurt us. Notice how what you say reflects how you feel about your body. As a yoga teacher, I’m aware of how I use language to encourage students and am aware of language that could be construed as hurtful. Things like, “We’ve got to get to these crunches! Work your core! Bikini season is coming!” can reinforce harmful stereotypes about how one should look. Mindfulness is more than the practice of awareness; it’s also the practice of bringing awareness to our words and ensuring that what we say is intentional and clear.
Resist the trickery: I recently saw an article that showed untouched and re-touched photos of celebrities. It was amazing to see how much is done to alter the image of these public figures. The shape of their bodies, their facial features, their weight; it’s all altered to present an image that is “perceived” to be most attractive. We can use these images to inspire us, depress us, or we can simply see them for what they are: trickery. Even the celebrities in these pictures would admit their photos don’t look like them (ask Jennifer Lawrence). Be mindful of your reaction to these pictures. If you find yourself using them to feel less than because you don’t look a certain way, remember, neither do they.
Get to the root of it: Have you ever mindlessly munched on potato chips without noticing the taste? Or consumed a lot of carbs without paying attention? These actions are symptoms of the problem and until we acknowledge what’s underneath, we’ll always stay at the surface, being reactive rather than proactive. Use mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, meditation and yoga as well as talking to a therapist or spiritual teacher to help you uncover the root of your negative body image thoughts. Was it that time in grade school when your mom laughed at your outfit? Or the date that told you that you had a funny walk? These things can stay with us for years and our actions can reflect a deep sense of pain and hurt. Until we acknowledge this and release it, we may always be stuck in a negative body image cycle.
Notice the energy behind your actions: As a yoga teacher, I watch how people approach their practice and can make some assumptions about their feelings towards their body. When we love and respect our body, we approach our practice with a mindfulness that is expressed through steady breathing, focused gaze and intentional movement. When we approach yoga class as a punishment for that big dinner we ate, or merely as a way to whip the body into shape, our practice will be disjointed and chaotic. Before any exercise, yoga or otherwise, take a few deep breaths and note the intentions and energy behind your actions. If you catch yourself fueled by negative imagery, take a step back and look for something more mindful.
Practice Loving Kindness meditation: One of the styles of meditation that can be helpful in developing a more loving relationship with your body is called Loving Kindness meditation. It is focused on developing the quality of “loving self-acceptance.” Practice meditation with a focus on loving your body as it is. Meditate on the features you love about yourself and use that positive energy to develop a more loving attitude towards yourself.
By contributing editor Karen Fabian, founder of bare bones yoga
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