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Self Care Inquiry

“Sattva is growing in consciousness through self-care and right living.” – Durga

The idea of self-care is very attractive and can be so vague. I frequently hear students and yoga teachers (myself included) with the intentions of self-care, and when I ask what that means to them, it’s usually left as a question mark.

Does self-care mean going to bed at a certain time? If something tastes good, spit it out? Does self-care need to have a specific emotion or task behind it?

I think the idea of self-care is so illusive because it’s unique to every person. So how do we decide how to care for ourselves? First we have to get to know ourselves.

Recently, I’ve been playing with the inquiry of being alone. Not working by myself or watching television or exercising, but really just being alone.

One of the best way I’ve found to just be alone is by sitting quietly.

Sitting Quietly

This is the phrase I use to trick myself into meditating. It’s nothing formal, just sitting and breathing for a certain amount of time. If your hips or back tire easily while seated, try sitting on a chair or propping up your hips and knees.

First, set a timer on your phone for anywhere from one to 20 minutes.

Close your eyes or take a soft gaze, and notice everything you’re aware of: Start with the sounds and movements outside the space you’re sitting in. Move that into the background, and bring your awareness into everything you can notice within the space or room, including sound, temperature, movement and things (if your eyes are open). Move that into the background, and bring your attention to your physical body. What do you notice? Then your breath…what do you notice? What emotions do you have access to right now? What thoughts are you aware of?

Sit with these observations and continue to notice your breath until the timer goes off.

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