Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
~ Eleanor Brownn ~
With the onset of fall and the hint of cooler weather, we begin the slow march into the “Giving Season.” We start by handing out candy in October, providing meals in November, and then bestowing presents in December. Those, however, are just monetary gifts. Many of us give of ourselves tirelessly and year round to our families, jobs, friends, and communities. Yet, we feel guilty or don’t value giving back to ourselves. Ironically, this mindset actually hinders us from providing to others to our full potential. If you are tapped out, you will have nothing left to offer. To be the best possible giver to those people and organizations that you love, you must take care of yourself first.
It becomes even more difficult to take care of yourself when faced with a crisis like divorce, loss of employment, or a sick loved one. These are the times that it is easiest to neglect yourself, however, it is the time when you need the most care. To put your best foot forward in challenging situations, you must be connected to your highest self. This requires self-care, self-attention, and self-love. The problem is that in these situations we are often faced with the barriers of time and/or money as well as simple emotional exhaustion. When the things you usually do to unwind, reset, and reconnect are not possible, you have to find space for self-care in the small places. For example, if you normally regenerate by cooking a healthy meal, taking a yoga class, or meeting a friend for coffee, instead take a moment to drink a glass of water, stretch, or close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes. Taking just a small amount of time for yourself will in no way diminish the attention you give to the crisis, and will probably make you more lucid while simultaneously making you feel at least incrementally better.
Thank goodness times of affliction are few and far between. Mostly we battle with the balance between home life/work life, obligations/pleasure, taking care of others/taking care of ourselves. These struggles, although nowhere near as serious as a crisis, can be troublesome nevertheless. Yoga is a fantastic way to care for yourself physically and emotionally and thereby empower you to find stasis in the rest of your life. Yoga not only helps to keep your physical body strong and supple, but the meditative quality of the practice helps to calm the mind. When you are in this higher state of physical and mental equanimity, you will be in the best place to care for your loved ones and your obligations while simultaneously caring for yourself.
With the best intention of meeting all the varying needs of our students, Harmony Yoga has added a number of new classes to our schedule. Led by our owner, Najla Barile, a Gentle Stretch class now meets on Monday and Wednesday from 2:00-3:15pm. This is the perfect way to care for your body and rest your mind when you are not physically or mentally prepared for a Vinyasa Yoga class, or you just need a little delicate self-love. Too tied up on weekend mornings to get to a yoga class? To help you out, we have added a Deep Flow class on Saturdays with Julie Mason from 4:00-5:30pm (starts December 5th) as well as Sundays from 4-5:30pm, led by Oona Barry. Also the new graduates of the Harmony Yoga Teacher Training will be leading free community class on Tuesdays and Thursday from 2:00-2:50pm and on Saturdays from 2:30-3:30pm (starts November 3rd). Finally if you really want to give yourself a gift, check out one of our many upcoming workshops this fall and winter! Whether you are giving back to yourself in a small way like sitting quietly for 5 minutes, or making a commitment to take a certain number of yoga class a week, remember that every little bit can makes a difference in how you feel about yourself and will indirectly benefit those around you.