Self-Care Challenge Day 7: Yoga
By: Amy Maricle
Welcome to the seventh day of the 7-Day Self-Care Challenge! I’m so curious to hear from any and all of you about your experiences. How has your week of self-care treated you? It’s been such a privilege to share this journey with you. My hope is that you have found some ways to make self-care a part of your daily routine, a given, not something that happens, “when you get time.”
Tomorrow is the day that I randomly choose a winner from amongst all the commenters, so be sure to comment before midnight tonight on today’s post. The winner will receive a portable art kit or free entry into my Art Journaling 101 workshop. Keep those comments coming, and here’ s the prompt for day 7.
Yoga for Self-Care
Whether I am in a class or doing yoga in my living room, I almost always find that if I can let go and relax into a pose, I feel more integrated, calmer, and happier.
Yoga has been a good friend to me through the years. I began my practice back in 1999 at the Willow Street Yoga studio. Suzie Hurley and her team focus on alignment and “heart-centered” yoga. Teachers instruct and correct your form, while also calling you to pay attention to how you “show up” on your yoga mat.
Is your mind busy?
Are you comparing your “performance” to everyone else’s?
Are you leaning forward or back in your pose, or are you able to come to the center and stay in the moment?
The practice calls you to pay acute attention to your form, while also letting go of the need to be perfect. If it sounds like a contradiction, it is. Life is full of contradictions and opposing forces that we have to work to bring into balance, such as work and play or planning and letting go. When a pose is very challenging, and trying to correct my form while also just letting go and being present feels impossible, I hear Suzie’s voice in my head, saying “surrender to grace.” This always helps me to let go, request help from a power beyond myself, and tune into the beauty of the moment. That brings the joy and relaxation into my yoga, and back into my life.
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Find something today that will allow you to practice finding balance, letting to, or tuning into the beauty of a moment, and tell us about your experience in the comments. Comment here and you will get one chance at winning a portable art kit or entry into Art Journaling 101. Both prizes are a $50 value.
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Amy, this has been a great week. The most important thing that it has shown me is that there, indeed, is time to take care of self, and it reminded me that art is the place where I find the most joy. I’m going to get back into the practice of doing some art every day. That is the place where I can breathe and let go. Thank you for creating this challenge. 🙂
Sandy – You are so welcome. Thank you for all you have given. I am so glad that this week has reaffirmed for you the importance of keeping art front and center in your life. Don’t reveal all your lessons learned today yet though, tomorrow’s post will have lots of space for that. 🙂 What is on your self-care agenda for today?
I do all of these challenges regularly and it helps me build resiliency.
I’m so glad to hear that you are engaging in self-care on a regular basis. This is such a struggle for so many. Would you tell us how you make time for it? What you do to make it a priority? For me, self-care is an attitude. It’s a given. So I am always looking for opportunities for self-care and while there are strange days once in a while where I can only squeeze in a few calming breaths, it’s usually something I figure out how to weave in somehow, even if it’s in very tiny spurts. With art, I keep some portable art kits in my work back and an art journal. If I have an hour in between clients, sometimes I take a few minutes to do art, or go for a walk, or sit outside. And for you, how do you do it?
All the best,
I have really enjoyed this week and am so appreciative of feeling “accountable” to do 5 minutes of self care!! Who doesn’t have 5 minutes? Sure, more than 5 is better!!
I love, love, love yoga!! I go to a yoga class once a week and a downward dog here and there. This morning I sat on a giant exercise ball and roll until my shoulders were on it….opening up my chest. Feels so good!! Yoga like….
I have really enjoyed having you here this week. Isn’t funny how being held “accountable” is so helpful to motivate us? Your yoga ball exercise sounds wonderful. It’s actually one of the moves that I offer as an option with folks experiencing anxiety in my office. My training in using sensory tools to help regulate the emotions taught me so much about how we can use the body. Opening the chest is an amazing move. Thanks for the reminder.
All week I have completed several self care which included cardio circuit exercise, meditation every day I am completing the series with Oprah, facial last night while I meditate and soaking my foot today and more meditation. I will also be writing my book and connecting with other families who had a child that is a cancer survivor. I will also completed the art challenge and include yoga into my daily routine.
WOW! You are a busy woman. All the home spa treatments sound lovely. Your book sounds like an amazing concept. It makes me think that perhaps you already are connecting with other families with a child who has survived cancer and are bringing your wisdom to others? I wonder what all these self-care activities teach you about staying strong and on an even keel in the face of everything?
Thank you so much for bringing this perspective here.
Well we just recently relocated so I am working on connecting with other cancer survivor families in the area. Oh yes I have been pretty busy because as a military spouse there are several challenges we face so I pick something every day to keep up with the challenges. While I was shopping for school supplies yesterday, the thought came to me to make my own art that will be placed in my bedroom. Let the new adventure begin. I am also searching for a creative art that is held for families to do whatever they want to do. When we were in Wisconsin, the hospital that my son was treated at held a series of creative art activities over the summer last year and we loved it! So if you know of anything of that nature let me know. Thanks in advance.
Hi Annmarie –
You are full of great ideas. I wonder if I understood you right. If I am reading it right, you are looking for some art activities for people to relax and express themselves?
I find that people who don’t usually do art need some level of structure. For just a general population art group – one nice thing to do is to give them 1 – 3 samples that you have done or have pictures of, so that they can visualize what they are doing. It gets the creative juices flowing.
http://www.zentangle.com is a great resource for power doodling patterns. This is an approach that is very relaxing and non-threatening.
Mandalas are also a great place to start. A mandala is just a circle. You can google “mandala” and learn lots about the origin. They can be very structured with a pattern, or just filled with color.
I hope this helps!
I just bought watercolor pad with acrylic craft paint! Let the fun begin. Yesterday’s mediation was focused on play! I am so excited about my new adventure with paint. Step 2 is painting something like I mentioned before for my bedroom so that when I wake up I am reminded about self care. Thanks Amy for all that you have done for this challenge
Yes, let the fun begin, indeed! I love the idea of seeing something immediately that cues you to nurture yourself. What a great spirit you bring here.
Self care today is meditation, drawing and just really relaxing.
Sandy – Cheers and keep it all up!
Sitting here in a deep soul-quenching gratitude for crossing your path in time to find this 7 day challenge. I have been on quite an intense, but ultimately blessed, joyful and expansive journey these past two years – and your challenge has taken a bliss-filled highlighter to ALL the things that I know bring me joy and peace in my life – but which may fall wayside in the practice of living. I just said to my dog-walking girlfriend, in the brisk forest air, the other morning that my body had been whispering the desire to return to yoga – which I stopped for a multitude of reasons nearly one year ago.
So THIS prompt today!! was God-sent:) Thank YOU!
As for finding balance – I have been doing a daily gratitude practice since November 22, 2013 and it helps me see the beauty in the moment and to truly let go to what is. Seeing through eyes of gratitude blesses me with a deep knowing and trust that this is exactly where I am supposed to be – in any given moment.
Warm thanks for your daily reminders and a joyful heart for how each challenge already has a place in my life and heart – and that keeping the “space” – physically, emotionally & spiritually – for these things is truly life-saving and life- filling.
THANK YOU! Blessings.
It has been a blessing to have you here on the blog, sharing your warm, loving voice, and your example of self-care. I can see where your gratitude practice comes into play in your life. Thanks for the amazing daily reminders. I have also gotten SO MUCH from you and the rest of the community here. Thank you for giving so much of yourself.
P.S. I’m going to have to get myself a “bliss-filled highlighter.”
first i need to give a huge thanks to amy for the fun 7 days. i’ll miss the email tomorrow.
funny thing happened this week; art as expression is never intimidating to me but responding to the maricle blog was. i read every single post but would never comment publicly. doing the assignments and other contributors responses made me get over that and participate so thanks to all of them as well.
as for yoga i have to say that i think yoga is a being and it has a great sense of humor. i’ve tried serious yoga, hot yoga, lie around yoga, dancing yoga, etc. the many years of experiments have resulted in an excellent self care toolbox enabling me to realize what i need in each moment and to pay attention. that came to a head after yet another round of a reoccurring illness. the end result was yoga told me to stop doing yoga when i tried to resume, and to find another type of self care practice. i decided to listen (not very easy). i finally got strong and healthy with the new tools i’m learning. i still practice yoga but its on different terms than before. i don’t think yoga minds this at all.
Karin – I love the way you are able to listen to your own voice and your own needs, even when it may not match what has been called for. This is key in self-care! Thank YOU so much for your passion, your voice, and your willingness to take the risk of writing here even when it feels scary. I have loved hearing your beautiful words and hearing about your art and self-care this week.
Aw, yoga! My most treasured self-care practice. I love the dichotomy of the practice, no matter what limb of yoga I’m focusing on. I appreciate the infinite possibilities to continue learning, practicing, and learning some more.
My mom was my first yoga teacher, back in the 1960’s, and since then I’ve had the privilege of learning from other amazing teachers that are both commercially successful &/or geographically close to me.
I’ve recently discovered a local studio who’s teachers are a blessing to me; they challenge me in my physical practice but more importantly, infuse their teaching with the reminders to adhere to the tenants of yoga that bring me into a state of calm bliss. This morning’s practice was, as usual, exactly what I needed-I left feeling wonderful from deep within all the way to my outer body.
On another note, I want to express my deep appreciation to you for providing this “self care challenge”, and especially for all of the time, effort, energy & thought you put into creating it and making it happen! You, too, are a blessing.
Thank you, Debbi! The challenge has been a lot of work, and focusing on my own self-care has been key, but it is a labor of love. I am so inspired by all of you.
I too find that when I am open, my yoga, art, or daily walk to say to me exactly what I need to hear. That says a lot about the importance of openness, doesn’t it?
Many blessings to you!
I love yoga! I have an app of a simple daily yoga routine, think I will sinplify further and make it 5 min. yoga and meditation and do it first/last part of my day, along with prayer 🙂 thank you Amy, for a great week of self care challenges, so good to remember it can be as simple as 5mins. a day, as we gear up for fall…and busy schedules 🙂
Thank you, Laura, for a great week and for all you have offered this community with your willingness to share. It has indeed been a great week and I so appreciate your presence here.
I have a little yoga app for breathing – cool, right?
Thank you so much again!
You’re welcome, Laura!
Yoga has been a practice I love and which I feel loves me back! My body, soul and mind are taken care of when I practice. I go to a weekly class at my local YMCA and will be attending my first yoga retreat at the end of the month. My next challenge that I would like to deepen is my own practice: to be able to do it more than a couple of minutes so that I can make it more mine and profit from it apart of my weekly class. As I write this I want to state that I would like to have a commitment with myself to take extra time to doing longer yoga practices on my own!!! Thanks for this opportunity Amy! I enjoyed also reading about others!
Having your voice here on the blog has been wonderful. I’m so happy too that you have used this space to give yourself a challenge. I hope that others feel free to do this too if so moved. Sometimes accountability can be so helpful. Just a little push. It’s a good reminder to me too. I need to dedicate more short bursts to yoga in between classes.
Did yoga this morning before a nice, long soak in the tub. Sundays are all about self-care. 🙂
Sundays sound so lovely at your place. What a great practice. Cheers to you and thanks for sharing your insights and journey with us this week.
I loved this week! I often say to myself that I need to take more time for self care, but I don’t, and when I do I’m not satisfied of what I do, I want to make a lot and it’s not eventually what I dreamed…
But this week I understood that a little 5 minutes time a day is far better and more satisfying than one disorganized hour when I can nothing more…
I hope I can maintain this habit to take 5 minutes a day…
Thank you for allowing this experience!!!
Yay Christine! You made my day. That IS the point. Some self-care is better than no self-care. And the more you cultivate this attitude and practice of considering what might be best for you, or feel right, the more natural and ingrained it will become. I’m excited to hear your reactions to my reflections in tomorrow’s post. Remember that, like many people have pointed out, sometimes self-care is just being very present in a sensory way in the moment. What do I hear, see, feel, smell, taste? Where is there beauty? Allowing this to be your focus while you are at the grocery store, standing in line somewhere, or with the kids at the park is self-care because its a very conscious choice to savor the moment.
Here’s to savoring the moments,
I don’t regularly practice yoga but I do make it a habit to exercise. Today I did a 15 minute workout from Women’s Health that was based on yoga this morning.
Overall, I LOVED the challenge. By the end of the week checking what the challenge was going to be for the day was like opening a much anticipated gift. The challenge also made me aware of some things that I do that I don’t think of as self care but indeed are. I am very sad to see it end but have enjoyed the journey immensely.
Kara – I think it’s great that you tried something a little bit outside your comfort zone today. 🙂
I could tell that you loved the challenge because you gave so much. What a gift. Thank you for your daily posts, ideas, and insights. And I am thrilled that it highlighted the self-care strategies that you are already using.
I am thrilled that you enjoyed the journey so much, so did I.
I echo everyone’s sentiments! Thank you, Amy. I am so grateful for this week. I’m back from my weekend away with friends and plan on going to yoga tomorrow morning as a way to kickstart my self-care for the coming week. I was thinking about running, but I decided yoga was a gentler way to start a Monday morning. Maybe I’ll run on Tuesday. 🙂
Laura – What a great way to tune into your needs instead of the “shoulds.” I feel like that is a lot of what people got this week. Part of self-care is slowing down to tune in and find out what you REALLY need in any given moment. This is a great example.
And thank YOU Laura for so faithfully sharing your images, adventures in self-care and art, and insights. You added so much to this community.
Amy, thank you again for this self-care challenge, it has truly brought my attention to my self care practices, some that go unnoticed or unrecognized, or that have been re-validated. Yoga today was in the form of balancing poses, serious and challenging as well as having some fun balancing on a slackline.
Amy – Aren’t balancing poses so fun? One of my yoga teachers called them “party yoga-” like we might use them to show off at a party. She said that with teens you have to start teaching these “fun” poses before they are ready to slow down and be still. Of course the strength, flexibility, and mindfulness are in every pose, but I guess that can be hard to find at times.
I’m so glad that the challenge helped you to re-evaluate and re-invigorate your self-care. Mission accomplished. You all make me a happy chica with your comments about what you are taking away this week. Thank you.
I don’t do yoga haha but today was a super busy day, so when I get back to my house I looked in YouTube some beginners yoga video and I tried to do some exercises, haha I wasn’t very good at it but I liked it and now I’m so ready and relax to go to sleep!!! Tomorrow is going to be a great day!!!!!!!
First off, I bet you were better at it than you think, but part of the purpose of yoga is to observe the process. You are a student, you are imperfect. You attempt things. You wobble. You fall sometimes. You lean into the future, you lean into the past, you learn to be in the moment on the mat. It’s a pretty cool process, actually. The metaphors are endless. I’m so pleased that you were able to take a chance on something new as well.
All the best to you,