In this blog, we discuss Yoga for self-love. Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, uses the power of rituals, herbs and sacred teachings to develop the mind-body connection, and thus promote self-love. The practice of Yoga can be utilised in various ways, specifically focusing on the heart area or ‘anahata chakra’ helping to open the physical and esoteric body in order to receive love and act with compassion. Pranayama Breathing, a simple and fundamental action, is often suppressed when we’re stressed. This is why actively exercising the breath with awareness and practicing ‘pranayama’ is vital to opening up the heart space and releasing blockages. If you’re feeling a little tight in the chest area and would like to welcome compassion into your heart space, you can practice the following: Bhramari Pranayama: Place your thumbs on the tragus (outer ear). Place the index fingers over closed eyelids, middle fingers resting on the outside of your nostrils, ring fingers between the nose and the upper lip, little fingers just below the lower lip. Inhale slowly through the nose and hum the entire exhale with a soft sound. You will hear soft humming and feel vibration in the heart area. Try 10 rounds to start, add more in subsequent practices. Asana Like a metaphor, representing years of sacred gestures and teachings, the physical practice of yoga (yogasana) can be instrumental in creating space and strengthening the mind as well the body. Again, we look to the heart ’anahata’ chakra in order to welcome a sense of openness and gratitude to the body – try this posture to bring warmth to the heart centre: Anahatasana: First, make your way into an all-fours position with the knees directly under the hips and the spine neutral. Begin to crawl the hands forward as you both lower and extend the front body. Find a place that feels just enough stretch without being too much, then hold this posture for 3-5 minutes. Direct the breath towards the triceps, shoulders and side ribs. Meditation A simple loving kindness meditation can go a long way, especially when you’re struggling with negative thoughts surrounding body image or your own self-worth. Try practicing the following for dose of self-esteem and positive awareness: Loving Kindness Meditation: Breathe gently, and recite inwardly the following phrases directed toward your own well-being. May I be happy. May I be healthy. Finally, May I be at peace. After focusing on yourself for five or ten minutes, choose a loved one, someone in your life who has truly cared for you. Picture this person and carefully recite the same phrases: May you be happy. May you be healthy. Finally, May you be at peace. Let the mantras fade slowly into the background, open the eyes and softly gaze, filled with a renewed sense of self-worth and gratitude.