I got some bad news this week. It's the kind of setback that could easily cause me to question my abilities and my worth. For a moment, it set me on a path of "woulda, shoulda, coulda" thinking that has facilitated a downward spiral toward depression for me before. I refuse to let that happen this time. Nope. This time, I'm going to channel all of my excess time and energy into cleaning up the clutter (both physically and in my mind), creating beauty (both inward and outward), and investing in my own potential—my projects, my business, and my success. This time, I will trust that everything is going to work out just as it should.
Here's a short, sweet little practice that is helping me get over myself, accept what is, and nurture myself back to health and happiness after the blow. As an added bonus, it's also helping me melt the chronic tension in my shoulders and upper back.
I hope it will help some of you, too.
1. Start with a Positive Affirmation.
Bring your hands together in Anjali Mudra, close your eyes, and take five cleansing breaths. As you fill your lungs, think to yourself "I am _______." I usually use a words like "creative," "confident," "courageous," "calm," or "compassionate." Notice how you feel as you remind yourself that you already are everything you want and need to be. Repeat for five minutes or until you feel ready to move on
2. Give Yourself a Hug.
It can be difficult to see your situation in an objective light—especially when you're dealing with emotional circumstances. But that's exactly what you need to do when you're feeling down. Stack your right elbow on top of your left, right in front of your heart. Walk your fingertips toward the center of your upper back, possibly holding your shoulder blades like handle bars. Stay here, or bring your forearms upright so your thumbs point toward your nose for Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms. With an inhale, lift your elbows up toward the ceiling. With an exhale, feel your shoulder blades move away from each other and round your upper back. As you synchronize breath with movement, practice enveloping yourself in love, compassion, and kindness. No matter what you're going through, you deserve that. After five rounds, switch sides.
See also What Does Your Favorite Yoga Pose Say about You?
3. Pat Yourself on the Back.
Reach your right arm up, fingertips reaching toward the ceiling, palm facing toward the left. Bend your elbow and feel your right hand come right in between your shoulder blades. This is where you pat yourself on the back. Think of three of your accomplishments from the day, the week, the year, or even your whole lifetime. Stay here or swing your left arm behind your back and clasp your hands behind you for Gumukhasana (Cow Face Pose) Arms. Take three more breaths, then repeat to the other side. (And, yes, I'm sure you CAN come up with at least three completely different achievements because you're THAT awesome!)
4. Give Yourself Some Love.
Press the soles of your feet together in front of you and let your legs take the shape of a diamond for Baddha Konasana
(Bound Angle Pose). (If you notice your knees are far away from the floor, sit up on a folded blanket.) Press your thumbs into your arches and give yourself a foot massage. You deserve it! Take five breaths. Then, stretch your chest up toward the ceiling and bow forward, keeping your collar bones broad as you fold forward. When you can't bow any farther, let your head drop so that your forehead rests on the floor, a block (or three), or on a chair seat. Take five more breaths, remembering your earlier affirmation.