Have just received this little note from the Dru Yoga team …. many of you will know that I bring Dru yoga ways into my yoga teaching …. and I thought you’d like to read and try this:
As Valentine’s Day approaches, read these words from a Dru Yoga teacher about loving ourselves!
Using Dru Meditation to Love Yourself More
As I sit and reflect on love, it occurs to me that we almost always consider it in the context of ‘another’. We love our family (sometimes!); we love our friends; we love our partners. Valentines Day is all about being ‘in love’ with someone. But we rarely ask, ‘do we love ourselves’ or ‘SHOULD we love ourselves?’
Some people are shocked by the idea and say that even to consider loving ourselves is narcissistic and self-centered. But I am not talking here about a self-love that says we can never do anything wrong, that is full of puffed-up pride, that believes we are better than others, or that we are perfect in every way. That is not love, which is kind; but arrogance, which is not.
But consider what a lot of us do a lot of the time: we constantly criticise ourselves, beat ourselves up, get angry with ourselves. If we listen to the constant mental chatter of our minds, much of it is to do with thinking we don’t measure up to our rather high expectations of ourselves, often much higher than our expectations of those around us. Where we would show sympathy and compassion to a friend in difficulties, would we honestly always be as kind to ourselves in a similar situation?
I would suggest, perhaps controversially, that loving ourselves, in the sense of being KIND to ourselves, is a prerequisite to truly loving someone else, anyone else. Because if we are insecure in our own sense of self-worth, we are very vulnerable to criticism – from others as well as ourselves – and this means that we become dependant on other people being nice to us. When they aren’t – maybe because of their own insecurities – it can lead to conflict. This can apply on an individual or a global scale.
Loving ourselves does not mean believing we are perfect, but accepting that we have imperfections and being tolerant of those. It’s simply part of the human condition. EVERYONE has imperfections, everyone makes mistakes, everyone sometimes does or says things they later regret. There may be things we would like to change about ourselves, but let’s try to change them with kindness, with humility and with calm inner strength.
This is truly loving ourselves. And it is no different from truly loving someone else.
Today, try a Dru relaxation to accept and love yourself just as you are!
Relax body and mind
Dru Yoga is a powerful tool to help you relax. It systematically stretches and relaxes the muscles using graceful, flowing movements which bring calmness and increased energy. I often teach this relaxation at the end of a Dru Yoga class.
Do some stretches then lie down on the floor on a firm yet comfortable surface (a soft carpet or blanket is fine). Cover yourself with a blanket so you don’t get chilly. Make sure that your body is aligned in a straight line.
Starting from your feet, tense and relax each part of your body. Contract the muscles first in your feet, and then feel each of the toes relaxing as you soften the feet against the floor. Work up the body, through the legs, hips, abdomen, chest, back, neck and head. Then focus on your breathing, and each time you breathe out, let your body release tension. As you breathe in, take peace and calmness into the body. Repeat for 5 minutes.
To finish, gradually bring your awareness back to your body and feel how your body is positioned on the floor. Move your toes and fingers gently, then stretch and sit up without disturbing that wonderful feeling of relaxation.