Our body is typically reacting to stress long before we’re consciously aware of it. As we become more adept at observing ourselves, we cultivate our ability to identify the early signs of stress. Regular meditation increases our awareness of both physical sensations, and the ways that our mind and body interact.
We have more willpower available to us when we are motivated and determined. We are more committed when what we’re striving for is tied to our ideal identity, who we would like our future self to be. It’s important to ask whether our goals are actually ours. At times, we get caught up in what we feel we “should” want, or what others want for us.
Yoga isn’t, as sometimes perceived, “just an hour of stretching”. It builds strength, improves posture, aids in digestion, and yes, it will improve your range of motion. But that’s listing just a handful of the numerous physical benefits…
There are multiple layers of complexity within yoga. On the one hand, there are poses that are physically challenging to any yogi. On the other hand, the holding of poses for longer periods of time can be mentally and emotionally challenging. Poses may be physically difficult because they require a great deal of strength, balance, flexibility, or quick movements from pose to pose. The faster a participant moves through a sequence, the more demanding it is.
The mind can become more calm and still without being void of thoughts. In fact, there are many meditation techniques that involve focusing on specific thoughts, or noting thoughts but not getting tangled up in them.
Not to downplay pampering, but self-care is more than taking bubble baths and drinking hot tea. We often take a narrow view of self-care, seeing it as spoiling oneself or indulgence, perhaps even in ways that are counter to long term health.