With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s a nice reminder to spread the love – to others and maybe, if not more importantly, to yourself. Practicing self-love is so important and crucial to our well-being.
Until I discovered yoga in the early ’90s, I wasn’t too in love with myself, to be honest. I would nitpick everything on me and never felt "good" enough or "perfect" enough. I discovered yoga when I was studying acting at NYU Tisch School, and I fell in love with the practice; with yoga, I learned to fall in love with myself.
Yoga starts by connecting us to our breath; when we breathe fully, we allow space for the universal energy to enter through us, which oxygenates every one of our cells; we begin to feel alive and happy – this signals a chain reaction. When we move in a way that opens us up and releases negative energy, we can let go of the self-doubt that we cling to for false security. We tap into our internal strength and build confidence through balance and movement.
I’ve returned to my mat time and time again through different phases of my life when I’ve wavered or felt insecure or self-loathing. It can be easy to get disconnected when we have so many things going on in our lives, careers, and home life. 'Yoga' means to 'unite' and helps us reconnect and find our center – when we connect with ourselves, we can’t help but feel the love.
There are certain yoga postures that specifically help to open up the heart center and allow us to be open and receptive to giving and receiving love. Try the following poses any time you need to infuse a little more self-love into your life. Remember to practice breathing deeply in each pose and incorporate the mantra if you feel comfortable.