Mental Health Awareness Week: Kindness (to ourselves) Matters
Sitting and looking out to sea is high up on my list of self-care activities. For me, this is what kindness to myself looks like. What does it look like to you? What would soothe your soul right now?
Mental Health Awareness Week
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18 – 24 May 2020) comes right in the middle of one of the greatest challenges to everyone’s mental health that has occurred in my lifetime. The theme this year is Kindness and it struck me that right now, in this very strangest of times, that kindness really needs to be focused on ourselves.
Have you found yourself filling with rage, with judgement over the actions of others? I know I most definitely have.
And that judgement, well it starts much closer to home. We judge ourselves constantly. Often very harshly. And if we are harsh and judgemental to ourselves, we will be to others.
Similarly, If we are depleted and exhausted, we won’t be able to care for those we love. I see it in myself, trying so hard to achieve so much, to be all things, even when the cup has run well and truly dry. And that’s when the cracks appear.
I recently watched a film, The Fundamentals of Caring (it’s on Netflix if you want to check it out) and the opening scenes feature the Caregivers Commandment: “I cannot take care of another unless I first take care of myself”. It repeats as a mantra throughout the film, and I highly recommend writing it down and popping it somewhere prominent!
What is this week’s online yoga class all about?
Kindness to our ourselves. Both the full-length class taught on Wednesday 20 May and the D.I.Y. Bite-Size video are about filling up your own cup.
In the full-length class (available to buy here), we work with a rather excellent (and quite revelatory!) Pelvic Floor exercise before moving into the Earth Sequence and The Seat of Compassion Sequence. There’s plenty of movement and a good stretch, but it is slow and meditative. Rather like a really big hug.
Oh, and it includes the infamous ‘Keeping the Sh*t Back’ Pose!!
Joining me online for yoga is really easy. Just a few simple clicks and you can be up and doing a kindness to your mental health in the comfort of your home.
If you are buying this after 30 May but you specifically want to practice the session on kindness, pop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase the class.
D.I.Y Bite-Size: Anahata Breath
Kindness. Are you kind? To yourself? Do you tell yourself soothing words? Time to just breathe? This simple Pranayama (breathing exercise) called Anahata Breath helps to encourage feelings of compassion and kindness to ourselves.
Anahata (heart) breath can be done standing (as in the video) starting in Mountain Pose, or seated. If you practice seated, make sure your spine is long and you are not compressing your abdomen.
The breath is simple. It involves breathing through the nose and using the arms to direct the breath in and out of the heart space.