Yoga Can Be An Amazing Form Of Self-Care And These Poses Prove It
Most of us know that a yoga practice can be immensely beneficial in helping us unwind at the end of a long day and de-stress at the end of an even longer week. But thinking of it as an integral part of your self-care ritual? Well, that isn’t as common.
However, we think it should be. After all, you can’t take care of others until you meet your own needs first, and treating yourself with loving kindness — like with a gentle yoga practice — can be one of the most natural and soothing ways to achieve that kind of balance.
We spoke with Carolan Hoffman, a Washington, D.C.-based yoga instructor and the founder of Hot Spot Dupont and she gave us some insight into her favorite yoga poses for self-love and self-care that can be practiced whenever you need a little personal check-in.
“I’ve seen a lot of my students over the years become more grounded and more balanced, and people are constantly seeking that. They want to be more present, feel more in harmony with who they are inside, and they can start to see it in themselves how they’ve changed,” Hoffman told Swirled. “There are many postures that you can do, but these are just a few of the poses that I think help you to connect with who you are and allow you to be more joyful about who you are on the inside.”
So take a few minutes each day to move through the following five poses, and just see what happens to that little voice inside your mind and how its dialogue begins to shift.
“Eagle pose is an interesting posture because it’s calming the nervous system, so it’s a pose that calms you,” said Hoffman. “You’re grounding yourself, so as you breathe in that posture, it’s tuning you into your inner harmony and inner balance, and those are some things that help you connect with loving yourself and give you that sense of being true to yourself. And you’re wrapping yourself, so it has that self-expression on the outside and on the inside.”
“In a forward bend, you’re releasing out of the lower back and letting a lot of stuff go,” said Hoffman. “So it’s calming the nervous system, accessing that quiet place on the inside, which is really what we’re trying to access in yoga. You’re really opening up that place of stillness, which is giving you access to the best within yourself. That’s the place. When I’m in it, I just feel very clear. There’s clarity, there’s enlivenment and the mind is quiet there.”
“It’s very heart-opening and stimulating,” said Hoffman. “It’s giving you a feeling of self-awareness because when you’re looking back in a backward bend, you’re totally vulnerable in the front of the body. You’re stimulating the nervous system in that way that you’re enlivening your inner self, and you’re actually uplifting your spirit in a backward bend, but in this one, because you’re on the floor, you can really ground and connect. You close your eyes, you connect with your loving inner world, and in that moment, it just feels like a celebration of who you are on the inside.”
“Sphinx pose is also heart-opening, keeping you tuned into yourself, “said Hoffman. “Your beauty is actually on the inside. Your grace, your joy, all of those happy particles within yourself — that’s your beauty. It’s also relaxing for the lower back and calming and soothing to the nervous system all while being a backward bend.”
“Savasana is a deceptive posture because people think you’re not really doing anything and that you’re just lying there, but it’s one of the postures that lets you access who you are on the inside,” said Hoffman. “And you can really love yourself because your eyes are closed, you’re looking inward, you’re tuning in to your inner beauty and that’s it. You have that stillness and you can see who you are.”