Befriending Myself

This period of physical distancing has been a very interesting time, one that has brought me to the point of wanting to become a better friend to myself. The ample amount of alone time coupled with healing a broken heart is what brought me to this place of really wanting to be there for myself on a deeper level than I had ever been before. I knew that I still had some parts of myself to befriend because there were still feelings of not being enough showing up for me. I decided that it’s time to be what I want from the relationship I keep hoping i’ve found, be the presence I seek in a partner, be committed to my relationship with myself as much as I would love for my future partner to be committed to our relationship, be vulnerable, real, honest, and loving toward myself like I want in a partnership. If I cannot give this to myself, then why would I expect someone to show up like this for me? It is clear that this has to come from me first, if I want that quality of relationship in my life.

‘The version of love you long for the most, lives within you. You are fully capable of providing the type of love you’ve always wanted. The type of love you deserve exists inside you and the trick is learning how to give that love to yourself. Self love is real love.”

I honestly thought I my relationship with myself was pretty solid. I eat healthy food, I give my body exercise, yoga, rest, time in nature, I meditate, I do my inner work. I honestly thought I had a fantastic relationship with myself. This feeling of not good enough that came to the surface from my broken heart really showed me that I still had some healing to in this department. I ended up signing up for a 2 hour workshop on self-love with a movement teacher in Montreal, Mel Sirois from Inner Fire Dance, the timing was absolutely perfect! In this workshop we did mirror work, we took the time to look at our self in the mirror, breathe deeply, hold eye contact, and speak loving words to our selves. This was so powerful for me, I finally felt like I saw myself deeply, and was present with myself in a way that I hadn’t been in a long time or maybe even ever. This exercise brought me to a huge realization – that over the past 15 years I had dedicated so much time in building my relationship to myself on a spiritual level, connecting to that expansive, non-physical part of myself (soul, inner-being, higher-self, whatever you like to call it!) but I had never taken the time to fully loving and solid in my relationship with the human part of myself, the part that’s sometimes messy, emotional, the part that I often judge as not perfect enough! I had not been building a healthy relationship with my ego, and physical self, I was hoping that this would happen as a by-product of building a healthy and solid relationship to my higher-self. This simple exercise has really been the catalyst for building my relationship to my physical self, and i’m so happy to be on this next chapter of my journey in self-love.

”You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
-Louise L. Hay

Commitment in Daily Spiritual Practice

The Power of Intentions & Affirmations

A powerful tool for our yoga practice and our daily life is intention. Intention is a course of action that one intends to follow, an aim that guides action. As we begin our yoga practice setting an intention can be a great guiding force of how we will practice on that specific day and how we will approach the rest of our day off the mat.

An intention is your true self`s desire to come into balance. When we quiet the mind and tune into our inner knowing our intention will surface. You can set your intention in many ways. An intention is in the present moment – what would help you cultivate more balance in this moment? An intention can be a word, a prayer, an affirmation, a quote, etc.

A simple way to set your intention at the beginning of your yoga practice or day:

  • Sit on a chair with both feet on the ground or on your mat in a simple cross leg position with a straight spine, hands resting on your lap.
  • Bring your attention to your breath, inhaling and exhaling deeply through the nose, eyes closed or open with a sliver of light coming in.
  • Feel your ribs and belly expand with every inhale, the exhale lightly contract belly and ribs to help expel the air out of your lungs. Feel your attention shifting from your mind to your body.
  • Bring your hands in front of your chest, press your palms together, thumbs press against the chest. Continue to breathe deeply feeling this expansion of your belly and ribs on inhale and on the exhale bring your attention to your heart center.
  • Continue to breathe and to connect with your heart center, then ask yourself what is your intention? What would bring you the most balance at this moment?

As you do this it might be a word that comes up; compassion, relax, self-love. Whatever arises is perfect.

Turning your intention into an affirmation:

We can then use our intention as an affirmation in our yoga practice or day. For example: if the words that came up during your intention setting were compassion, self-love then perhaps the affirmation becomes:

-I love myself fully and have compassion for myself.

During your practice you can take moments to come back to your affirmation and notice what you need to continue doing or change in the way you are practicing to embody this intention. Perhaps you notice you are judging yourself in a certain pose and it`s making you become frustrated. You can then come back to your intention of loving yourself unconditionally and having compassion, when you reiterate this intention then you can let go of the judgement to maintain your equanimity. Continue to repeat the process throughout your practice and your day.

You are creating a new habit of embodying this intention and affirmation, the more you practice it and create this neural groove of compassion and self-love, the easier it will be to make this become your habitual way of approaching yourself in your life on and off the mat.

Sat Nam,

Jacynte Léger, Yoga Teacher & Wellness Coach

Jacynte is a Kundalini & Hatha yoga teacher specializing in the therapeutic application of yoga.