We're in a time that self-love is more important than ever. The entire planet has been affected and changed by the pandemic, and we're starting to realize that life won't be back to normal anytime soon. That's a lot to process in our human experience, to release an old way of living and fit ourselves into a new one.
Self-love can also feel harder to connect to as well. We don't have as much motivation to take care of ourselves in the same way as we did when we were more often in the public view.
It also can feel like we're not getting as much alone time, a lot of us are in close quarters with spouses and kids more often than before, which leads to a difficult time connecting to the self in more nurturing ways.
This blog is a reminder that self-love is always possible and always important. If you don't take the time to love and nourish yourself, it makes it terribly hard to share your love and kindness with others.
In other words, when we don't feel like our best selves, it's hard to put our best selves forward. What's interesting is that no matter how good our intentions are to give to others, when we are not kind to ourselves first, not aware of the importance of nourishing our inner and outer beings regularly, we end up feeling drained or worse.
Here are a few Vedic Techniques to Balance the Self in more supportive and nurturing ways. When we take even a few minutes to adjust our routine and add in tools to enhance our well-being, it changes the way we approach our day and our day begins with more grace and ease. If you would like more on this, you can find it in chapter 17 of Making Room for Mr. Right.
1. Purifying the Tongue
There's a reason why most of us wake up with bad breath. While we sleep, toxins accumulate on the tongue from poor or improper digestion. How do we avoid allowing our body to reabsorb these toxins? We tongue scrape! Here's how....
• Gently hold the tongue scraper (there are several varieties that can be found online, or possibly in your local grocery store) and scrape it from the back of your tongue to the tip. Use a light pressure to avoid gagging and any discomfort.
• To begin, scrape the tongue three to five times until the coating on your tongue is removed. I personally do this motion seven times.
• Rinse off the tongue scraper before repeating.
• When finished, rinse out your mouth then rinse and dry the tongue scraper.
• As with a toothbrush, do not share your scraper.
You want to do this as soon as you wake up, before drinking any liquid. Tongue scraping can help eliminate bad breath, prevent gum disease, throat infections, and even heart disease!
2. Abhyanga - Self Massage
Essentially, Abhyanga is an oil bath that moves energy into the body and pulls toxins out. It also improves blood circulation, eliminates tension in the body, assists the immune system, while also moisturizing the skin.
Generally, you would use sesame oil when performing this massage, but you can also substitute a conditioning oil such as olive, coconut, or almond.
There are a couple of suggestions on how to do this in my book Making Room for Mr. Right, but below is one of my favorites, used to wake up the body.
Mary Jo Cravatta’s Abhyanga:
• Begin with three circular strokes on your shoulder, then stroke up and down five times on your upper arm, being sure to get the outside and inside of your arm.
• Next, do a circular motion three times on your elbow and up and down five times on your lower arm.
• Use a circular motion on your wrist and up and down on your metacarpal bones (bones of the fingers).
• Massage your chest five times in a back and forth motion with the palm of your hand.
• Then, massage around your breasts with a circular motion towards
the breastbone five times with the palm of your hand. Then, reverse the circle in the opposite direction, again five times.
• Next massage your abdominal area clockwise (in the direction of your colon: up the right side, then across the stomach and down the left side) three to five times.
• Work your way down your body – thighs, buttocks, knees, shins, calves, ankles, feet (tops and bottoms), and toes.
Remember that the more focused and intentional you are while giving yourself this massage, the more beneficial it will be, both mentally and physically.
If you're reading this blog, it's pretty safe to say that most of you practice or have either tried yoga in this lifetime. The power of yoga is no secret, whether you're looking to tone and strengthen or relax the spirit and mind -- yoga is able to provide you both.
Yoga lubricates the joints, tendons, and ligaments of the body, tones the inner organs, and creates a feeling of strength, confidence, and lightness.
Before you dismiss it and believe that you're too old, too stiff, too anything, I'm here to tell you that yoga is for everyone. There's a style that suits you and meets where you're at. The options run far and wide, from gentle yoga, chair yoga, power yoga, ashtanga yoga, yin yoga, the list goes on and on.
We suggest Youtubing, buying an online package, or connecting with a teacher to start your journey and experience the benefits of this physical and mental practice.
The above suggestions are a few small yet effective ways to take care of yourself during these especially difficult times. They won't be the cure-all to your problems, but they can allow you to face them with a clearer mind and relaxed body which is half of the battle.
Again, if you want to learn more tips, again, you can find them in Chapter 17 in Making Room for Mr.Right.
Our next Mantra Mondays will be focusing on self-love as well, so please make sure to join us on Facebook or Instagram Live this upcoming Monday, February 15th at 11am PST.
We'll be chanting a few mantras we've chanted before with you and introduce you to the Ganesh Mantra. In Indian mythology, Ganesh is considered the remover of obstacles. He is one of my personal favorites. Ganesh gives us strength to make big changes in our lives and feel supported in doing so. He brings us wisdom and enhances our journey with a feeling of effortlessness. I think we could all use an ally like that!
Mantra: Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha
Phonetic: Om Gung (rhymes with "rung") Gana-pat-ta-yay Na-ma-ha
Gift yourself with a little extra love this weekend, and always!
With love from me to you,