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Self-Care & Ahimsa

Hand holding key in palm

Happy February!

This month I’d like to dedicate these love letters to ahimsa (“ahh-him-sa”) and its application to self-care.

First, what do I mean by self-care? At its most basic, self-care refers to the care of oneself. Simple, right? But it can also refer to health care provided by oneself without the consultation of a medical professional.

To me self-care is doing the practices to maintain and optimize our personal well-being on a spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical level. Secondly, it’s knowing ourselves well enough to discern what we need and when we need external support, guidance and help.

Phew! That was a mouthful!

The good news is we are the most qualified person to be our own EXPERT, to know ourselves better than anyone else. Who else has 24-hour access to all things ME? And yet that it NOT the same as being an expert in all the things. Knowing the difference is key.

Then we have to advocate for ourselves by finding the practitioners and community to support our BEST living.

The concept of self-care is definitely a BUZZ word in the Holistic Wellness community, and yet it ranges in application from indulgent remote island retreats to extreme asceticism, from nutritional supplements to ethics-based diets. I’ve even seen it used to justify and rationalize destructive habits and self-talk.

Ahimsa is a yoga term meaning non-harming or often translated as compassion. In the Hindu and Buddhist doctrine, ahimsa is defined as the refraining from harming any living being, for example the practice of vegetarianism & veganism. From their shared roots, Yoga teaches ahimsa as the foundation of the practice of yoga. In practical simplicity, ahimsa as a yoga practice is committing to learn every day how to think, speak and act without harming ourselves or others.

And yet, even in the Yoga community there is a lot of miss-interpretation and even flat out abuse of ourselves and each other.

It breaks my heart when I hear students who attended a yoga class (or ANY community event, for that matter) and didn’t feel welcome. It’s one thing to feel “comfortable “ (that comes with familiarity), but to not feel welcome, to not belong, to NOT feel worthy, that is another thing entirely!

As a wellness provider and educator, my goal EVERY DAY is to provide safe space for authentic connection in the practice of intentional self-care. I aspire to enhance self-care practices through the services I offer in an effort to increase vitality within a community of imperfect, compassionate human beings. This goal provides the foundation for everything I do.