A Gentle Yoga Practice for Self-Love
Valentine’s Day feels like the perfect time to share a gentle yoga practice for self-love.
Self-love is essential to our wellbeing and overall happiness. It can help us to develop a better understanding of ourselves so that we can be more mindful of our thoughts and feelings.
Taking the time to be kind and gentle with ourselves can help us to create a safe and nurturing environment within, which can ultimately lead to a more positive and balanced relationship with ourselves.
There are many ways to cultivate self-love, such as taking time for self-care, learning to practice self-compassion, and developing a sense of gratitude for who we are.
Taking the time to nurture our relationship with ourselves can help us to find a greater sense of peace and contentment in our lives.
A great yoga sequence for opening the heart and hips and strengthening feelings of self-love and compassion is a combination of heart opening and hip-stretching poses. As you flow through this sequence, focus on your breath, connecting with the sensations in your body, and cultivating feelings of self-love and compassion.
Benefits of Heart Openers for Self-Love
Heart-openers are a wonderful way to cultivate self-love. By creating space in the chest and back, these postures can help to relieve physical tension and stress that often manifest as emotional blocks in our lives. They can also be used to open our hearts to new experiences, allowing us to break through limiting beliefs and create a greater sense of self-acceptance. Physically, heart-openers can help to strengthen the heart and lungs, increasing circulation and improving overall health. Mentally, they can help to shift our perspectives, allowing us to see our lives from a more positive space. On an energetic level, heart-openers can help to open our heart chakra, improving our ability to receive and give love. When practiced with intention, heart-openers can be a powerful tool for cultivating self-love.
Benefits of Hip-Openers for Self-Love
Practicing hip-openers in yoga can be a great way to cultivate self-love. These poses help to improve flexibility, reduce stress, and improve overall body awareness. When we open our hips, we allow ourselves to be more open and accepting of our feelings and emotions. This can help us to be more in tune with our bodies and better understand our needs. Additionally, hip-openers help to stretch and release tight muscles, relieving tension and creating a sense of ease in the body. This can lead to an increased sense of self-love, as we become more aware of our physical and emotional needs. Lastly, hip-openers can help to create an energetic balance in the body, allowing us to feel more connected to ourselves and our environment.
As with any other new exercise, if you’re new to yoga, please check with your doctor before practicing.
A Gentle Yoga Practice for Self-Love
Please dress comfortably and roll out your yoga mat or a blanket. You may want to have extra pillows, blankets, and/or yoga blocks nearby. Feel free to put on some soothing music while practicing this sequence. Always remember to listen to your body and only do what feels good for you.
Reclined Bound Angle
Supta baddha konasana
Begin lying down. Bend both knees and drop your knees to each side as you bring the soles of the feet together, allowing the hips to open. Support under the knees as needed with a blanket, pillow, or yoga block. Soften your eyes. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Connect to the natural rhythm of your breath. If it resonates with you, repeat this affirmation “I am love.” Hold for anywhere from a few breaths up to 5 minutes if it feels good.
Knees to Chest
From reclined bound angle, bring the knees together as you place your feet on the floor. Hug your knees into your chest, wrapping your arms around your knees. Keep your back flat on the floor. Hold for several rounds of breath. Repeat the affirmation “I am love.“
From knees to chest, place your feet back on the floor with your knees bent. Reach your arms up overhead and mindfully roll to one side. Use your hands to support you as you press your way up to all fours. Align your shoulders over your wrists and your knees under your hips. To come into cat pose, press into your palms and round your spine as you exhale, tucking your chin in towards your chest, creating space between the shoulder blades, and drawing the belly button in towards the spine. Flow from here into cow pose as you inhale by dropping your belly towards the ground, widening across the collar bones, and lifting the tailbone and the gaze. Flow back and forth for 5-10 rounds of cat/cow with your breath. On the inhale, affirm “I am” and on the exhale “love.“
Come down onto your belly. The legs are extended back and the tops of the feet are flat. Place your palms flat on the mat as you guide your elbows right below the shoulders. On an inhalation, lift the sternum and extend the neck away from shoulders with the elbows, palms, and pelvic bone firmly rooted to the mat. Say to yourself “I am love.” Hold for a few breaths.
From a kneeling position, bring your toes together to touch. You can either separate your knees as wide as your mat or keep the knees about hip-width distance apart. Send your hips back towards your heels as you release the front of your body over or between your thighs. Rest your forehead softly on the ground or a pillow or yoga block. The arms may extend to the front with the fingers spread wide or rest back towards your feet. The gaze is down and the awareness is inward. Say to yourself “I am love.” Hold for a few breaths up to 5 minutes.
Mindfully press back to a kneeling position and focus on your breath. As you do, remind yourself of your affirmation: “I am love.” This can help ground you and bring a sense of peace and self-love. You are loved, and you are enough.
Practice with Me
Check out my full yoga and event schedule at www.rachelhupp.com/yoga or practice with me on YouTube at Yoga and Wellness with Rachel.
If you enjoyed today’s sequence, you might also like this Restorative Heart Opening Practice: