How Do You Practice Self-Care?

Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it is about self-preservation.
— Audrey Lorde

A yoga teacher and acquaintance recently sent me this quote. Wham! It was one of those quotes that hit home immediately. I learned this lesson later in life; when I finally had to. As a woman and a mother, I was not so good at identifying my own needs, and feeling like I could fulfill them. I might run on empty and then feel anxious, resentful (okay, angry) and harried. It took me a while to get it; to ask for support from my family and then put practices in place. I am still learning how to put myself first. One of the non- negotiable things in my life is practicing yoga, which includes breath work (pranayama) and meditation. One of the most healing, nurturing yoga practices I know is restorative yoga.

Restorative yoga is about consciously choosing to take time to relax - a radical act for many. In restorative yoga, students use supportive props like bolsters (pillows), blocks, blankets and straps to move the body towards balance and health. Students remain in postures for longer periods of time to undo tension, giving themselves the important job of doing nothing!

I currently teach two restorative yoga classes a week, Monday evenings at 7:30 pm at 889 Yonge Street, and Thursday evenings at 7:45 pm at Octopus Garden. I see these classes as healing opportunities; a time for you to be with yourself and compassionately observe what emerges. It is important to me to create a safe environment for students to "just be”. I consider myself fortunate to be able to teach from what I have learned in my own life. I hope you will feel this. There are often themes to my classes. I may ask you to set a healing intention for your practice. I teach breath techniques and may include a short meditation. My teaching style has been described as mindful. I love poetry and inspiring passages and may share short readings. I have a particular interest in yoga for emotional well-being and will bring this flavour to my classes.

Anyone can benefit from restorative yoga and you do not need yoga experience to participate. You might particularly want to explore restorative yoga if you are feeling stressed, anxious, fatigued, if you are recovering from illness, injury or loss.

On another note, I have recently developed a handout of simple yoga poses that you can do at home. It is called Gentle Yoga for Emotional Well Being and be found on my website under Privates. People have been asking for a handout like this for a while. Research has shown that yoga's physical postures do improve anxiety and depression. What is paramount, however, is the way we gradually cultivate awareness within the postures and how we approach them. See if you can fully inhabit each pose.

Prioritize yourself this February and practice self-care. Who knows; it may become a habit.

My February schedule is as follows:

Monday:  7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
889 Yonge - Candlelight Restorative Yoga

Wednesday:  4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Octopus Garden - All Levels Class

Thursday:  10:00 am - 11:00 am
889 Yonge - Level 1 Flow
Thursday:  5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
889 Yonge - Yoga Clinic

Thursday:  7:45 pm - 9:15 pm
Octopus Garden - Restorative Yoga

Sunday:  10:30 am -11:30 am
889 Yoga at The Four Seasons Hotel - All Levels Class

I also continue to offer small group and private yoga instruction. This year I am moving further ahead with one of my special interests; working one on one therapeutically with individuals managing anxiety and depression. Please contact me if I may be of service.