Inti Yoga | Instagram Feed
~Follow the Inti Yoga blog for inspiration on Yoga, Meditation, Breathwork and Ayurveda. ~
Many wish for more self-love - but what is that actually? And how can you take more time for yourself despite a full calendar? Here I share with you my everyday tips for yoga exercises, meditations and affirmations on the topic of self-love. It is my absolute heart topic and flows into all projects of Inti Yoga. I even have my own Self Love Yoga Retreat Program developed.
In this article you can expect:
The most beautiful thing about self-love is that it can be a lifelong playground where we are allowed to follow our curiosity and get more and more in touch with ourselves.
So self-love can be learned: you can practice self-love and over time you will notice that you become more and more attentive to your thoughts and actions. And that you will become more and more imaginative in expanding your self-love practice - this is a beautiful journey.
For me, there are three levels of self-love, which we will look at in more detail here:
I have the ability to recognize and accept myself - here and now - as I am. With all feelings, with my body as it is right now, with all my thoughts.
Through self-acceptance we create a basis of respect and peace within ourselves. Through this basis we find with time more satisfaction with our body, in our relationships and also a certain sovereignty can arise. Because the more you accept yourself, including all your inaccessibilities, the easier it is for you to accept others as they are.
I can decide - in every moment - whether I act in the sense of my heart or against myself.
Self-care doesn't necessarily mean that we spend hours every day oiling ourselves and drinking the most expensive teas. Rather, from my perspective, self-care concerns in what sense we act: Am I doing this for myself or for others? Am I going somewhere because I want to or because it is (supposedly) required of me?
Self-care also means serving our own needs first and then lovingly caring for others. It's the principle of the oxygen mask in an airplane: put on your own first so that you can then help others. You'll learn why this has nothing to do with selfishness below in the 3 myths about self-love.
I trust myself and value myself.
If you criticize yourself all the time, you lose confidence in yourself. If you know you're okay, you don't have to prove or distinguish yourself to others. Self-esteem is the measure of how much we value and respect ourselves. The amount of value you ascribe to yourself. You can best measure the stability of your self-esteem when someone else criticizes you or when you don't succeed as planned. How do you handle it? Practice communicating lovingly and respectfully with yourself.
Our brains have been trained to look for danger since the history of mankind. That is why it is still the case today that we often notice the negative first. It was a great danger for man to be excluded from the community. So man has begun to pay close attention to his faults and to what the community does not like.
Now today, we still want to be loved and liked by everyone. Even by the people who go beyond our "community". This need is deeply ingrained in our subconscious.
But we may begin to learn that our survival is no longer dependent on whether all people always love us. We can allow ourselves not to be encouraged and confirmed sometimes. That it is okay to have a different opinion or, for example, to adopt a different lifestyle.
So, in the present age, we may begin to unfold our true selves, feel our emotions, and fully accept ourselves with all our needs and desires.
What does yoga say about self-love? How you can learn true self-love with the Yoga Sutra and the 5 Kleshas, you will learn here: With yoga to more self-love
Small personal anecdote:
I moved into my camper at the beginning of May 2021 and have dissolved everything else to work and live location-independent and close to nature. This way of life meets with incomprehension and resentment every now and then. Since I am not dependent on being loved and encouraged by everyone, I can continue to follow my path. In the certainty that my value is not diminished by the rejection of others.
We rarely postpone doctor's appointments, a walk with the dog, a long-agreed meeting, brushing our teeth or going shopping. Things we do because they have to be done - even if we don't feel like it at the moment, are too tired, too listless, too exhausted. We do them anyway.
How about having a date with yourself on the calendar that you learn to look at in the same way as those everyday to-dos that we attach so much meaning and importance to?
I recommend you to start small: What is NOW, right in this moment, the smallest possible step you could take to arrive more at yourself? Maybe close your eyes for a moment and breathe in and out calmly three times? Maybe put the cell phone away. Maybe brew yourself a fresh cup of tea. This is where self-love begins, with the little breaks and pauses - to briefly look at "how am I doing right now?".
If you want to go a little further and allow yourself some time off to recharge your batteries and get back to yourself, I recommend you do the following:
Put fixed appointments in your calendar. This can be 1 hour a month, a Saturday or 10 minutes every morning - make it realistic and adapted to your routines.
Let your family/roommates know that this time is sacred to you. And ask them to support you in making this time possible.
Look forward to this date. Buy beautiful flowers or light a candle. Make a concrete plan: e.g. a longer walk in the park. Yoga class, a Meditation exercise, Chant mantras, or dancing for half an hour (I am currently practicing this and it helps me a lot to connect with my body).
Maybe negative associations with self-love are holding you back from taking better care of yourself? For example, these myths (which are not true, of course):
It is not. 🙂 It would be selfish to rush through life every day and tend to be exhausted, stressed or annoyed. Because you transfer this energy, without wanting to, to your fellow men, be it your family, colleagues or the cashier in the supermarket.
However, if you allow yourself restorative phases, such as practicing yoga, quietly making a cup of tea or coffee and taking a mini-break, attending a workshop, taking a walk, or quietly reading a book, you can face those around you with more love, centeredness, and contentment.
We are also more focused and therefore more attentive when we relax as well: We can listen more closely and respond to the needs of our loved ones.
We often believe that every action must have a goal. In my yoga classes I often say "practiced without achievement, without goal".
I maintain that there is value in learning that everything should always be productive and that it is a gift to do something for the sake of the process.
You are very welcome to take a lot of time for your self-love.
But if you're short on time right now, use the tips above to find your little downtime amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Last but not least, I would like to share with you my favorite affirmations that you can use as an intention for your Yoga practice or hang it on your mirror:
ॐ I allow myself not to have to achieve anything. (Because you are allowed to simply be).
ॐ I am allowed to relax.
ॐ I don't have to do anything. I don't have to go anywhere. Life comes to me.
ॐ With breathing in yoga: Inhale: "I am." Exhale: "Wonderful."
ॐ I accept myself. I accept my most beautiful qualities and also those that are more difficult for me to accept. I accept my body and its sensitivities. I accept where I am today in my life. I also accept my past in order to learn to love myself unconditionally.
I wish you from my heart that you find this beautiful connection to yourself, expand and learn to love. I wish all the time a deep friendship with yourself.
From my heart to yours,
If you are interested in the topic of self-love, here you have beautiful opportunities to go on the journey:
About the effect of mantras and my own liberation
In this article you can expect:
Today, when tears come to my eyes, I remember that this is a mouthpiece of my deep self and that I want to hear it. We all have wounds. And we can speak of happiness when these move from the inside out to experience healing.
A mantra calls to your essence.Through chanting, beliefs, emotions and deep needs of the soul can become visible.
Chanting a repetitive syllable or phrase, that is, a mantra, works on three levels:
Chanting is also pranayama. It is deep breathing. Again and again. The body is brought into a harmonious vibration, which can have a positive effect on the organs, the nervous system and the psyche.
When we chant mantras, we feel joy, we experience an immediate lightness. You can't chant and be deeply sad. Chanting mantras can extend to the feeling that your heart almost seems to burst with joy.
Since chanting has an uplifting effect on our emotions (e.g. from sadness to joy or from anger to equanimity) this increases our energy field. You may feel a throbbing in the heart space (anahata chakra) or a tingling in the throat (vishudda chakra).
Through this raising of your emotional and energetic state, through the stimulation of the (mostly) upper four chakras, we feel freer. The fact that today I dare to sing in front of many people has not only to do with the dissolution of an old belief ("I am not musical"), but rather with a trust in myself, in my essence.
Singing means being loud. Not mincing words (anymore). Willpower. Saying yes. Saying no. Speaking your truth and not that of others. Dissent. Encouragement. Being tender. Being powerful. Mantra chanting is all of that.
Singing invitingly offers us the opportunity to come out of ourselves. To be loud. We women have been drilled over many generations to be well-behaved and quiet, to behave and not stand out. Stand out if you want to. Be loud and wild if you want to. Of course, this also applies to all men.
Maybe you will find in mantra chanting this one way that helps you to come out of yourself more, to dare to do something. To be loud. To be you. To go your way. And that full of love and devotion.
I wish you from the bottom of my heart that you find YOUR heart's path. In whatever form that may be.
The yogis say that the Indian Sanskrit mantras in particular are connected to an energy field (morphogenetic field) that has been built up for thousands of years by all the people who have ever repeated the mantra. By chanting the mantra OM, you become connected to this field and to these gurus, masters and all the people who have ever chanted it. Think of this abundance the next time you chant AUM.
Ra = solar energy
Ma = Moon energy
Da = Earth energy
Sa = Energy of the universe
Say = You / personal energy
So = I am
Hum = The Divine/Higher Power
This mantra honors the Indian deity Ganesha. Ganesha represents wisdom and knowledge and overcoming our obstacles. Ganesha is therefore often called first to open ceremonies. A mantra that is wonderful before yoga practice and also ideal for a mantra meditation with a mala.
Gam = sound (seed sound) of Ganesha
Ganapathaye = Ganesha himself
Namaha = in his name or honoring him
Namastasyay, Namastasyay, Namastasyay, Namo Namaha
I also like to sing in my own Spanish version to thank Mother Earth:
Pacha Mama, Pacha Mama, Pacha Mama, Te amo, Te amo (Mother Earth, I love you)
All of my retreats & events include a mantra component.
Feel free to drop by:
Instagram @jessy_inti_yoga: Here I share mantra videos with you every now and then
MUST SEE: A beautiful, deeply moving film about the power of mantras: mantramovie.com/
Krishna Das | inspiring mantra singer, harmonium player, kirtan leader: krishnadas.com/
Deva Premal & Miten | For me a great inspiration: www.devapremalmiten.com
In Peru, everything is magical anyway. All the time. Every faraway view, every breeze on your face, every ray of sun on your skin feels mystical and imbued with a deeper meaning. This is a very personal story about Peru's special magic.
"It was only when I discovered mantra chanting that I really became free". I write on my website. This is the place where this discovery took place: Peru, 2018, Yoga Teacher Training ~ I had no idea how much these three weeks would change my life. An endlessly interesting and forever lasting journey began:
The Way to Me
For two weeks I lived here in this very house at the top of the picture. With the holy "Apus", the high mountains in the background. Surrounded by the most beautiful garden I have ever seen until today. A true place of healing. And one evening there was a sweat lodge ritual that I participated in out of curiosity....
On the evening of the sweat lodge, we all initially sat there excitedly, covered only with our small towels. Shame spread a little in front of the hut built from branches and alpaca blankets. The rustic sweat lodge construction looked like an igloo, except that it got very hot inside instead of icy. The threshold to the small entrance, which consisted of a thick cloth hanging down, was entered with a prayer.
One last, trusting look at Taki, who was to lead this ritual, before I entered. He is a rather short man by German standards, but average height in Peru. He has darker skin and black hair with a few dreadlocks. His look is warm and soft. At the same time he radiates something rugged, close to nature, wild, something organic. I've never seen him with shoes on. Or with a cell phone. Although he was probably just a few years older than me. I guessed him to be in his mid/late thirties, a young guy, then, who lived below the retreat grounds and barely mingled with the "crowd," which consisted mostly of pretty American and European yogi girls. There was something sensual about him and he radiated a special calm. Somehow he saw right through you and in a strange way this led to a deep familiarity.
I knelt down in front of the alpaca curtain and thought about the fact that my towel was much too short. It was early evening and already dusky, but still quite bright. I bowed to Mother Nature anyway, "after all, she had created me just so naked, even if half of me is peeking out now," I thought to myself. I said a short prayer of thanksgiving, bringing my hands to my forehead in a prayer position. Then I brought my forehead to the earthy ground and placed both palms next to my temples with my fingers spread. It was as if I wanted to absorb as much of Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) as possible with my fingers.
Finally, I entered the dark circle with the hole in the ground in the middle. One by one we went through this ritual of entering, one after the other, without haste. Clockwise, we sat down on the small ring built of earth along the edge.
Then we celebrated the "hombre del fuego" (the man of fire), who already had a huge fire going about 2 meters from the entrance and was sweating a lot before it really started. We cheered him with drum beats and rattles. He gratefully accepted our praise and yet I had the feeling that he was a bit uncomfortable being the center of attention. He was an important part of the ceremony: preheating the 24 Peruvian volcanic stones, the "abuelitas" (grandmothers), in his giant fire for us. There were four rounds, each with 6 abuelitas shoveled into the center of our hut. One round lasted about 30-40 minutes.
I had great respect for the heat that awaited me. Concerns about whether my circulation would hold out. And at the same time there was this irrepressible curiosity and excitement. After all, I didn't know exactly what was about to happen.
Taki, who led the ceremony with incredible dedication, was the last to enter. We greeted each of the first 6 abuelitas with "Bienvenida abueliata", Welcome Grandmother. As we did so, Taki gradually began to play rhythms on his drum. When the first stones had fully arrived and the temperature had already risen noticeably, the hombre del fuego closed the entrance with the thick alpaca blankets. It was pitch dark and only a glow of the lava stones was visible.
Around Taki's drumbeat, his voice gradually nestled. His girlfriend and Jimena, who was something like the spiritual director of the retreat facility, knew the Spanish mantras and joined in with their angelic voices. Quickly we were able to follow as well. Our sacred circle, that protected, familiar space of people with whom I'd been traveling deeper than ever before over the past two weeks, melted into a magical mass of rhythm. We rattled and sang. Breathed deeply in and out, through the heat.
The breeze did infinitely good when the hombre del fuego briefly lifted the blankets in front of the entrance hole to hold out the shovel with the next abuelita to us and gently place it with the others in our midst. Six times we called again "bienvenida abuelita".
And again, new melodies and new, beautiful Spanish words impacted my soul. The songs described Mother Earth, how we belong to her, are all connected. How she nourishes us. It was about the elements, fire, water, earth, air. About the ether. About the heart. We sang about love. Sometimes I didn't really understand the lyrics, I just let myself be carried away.
As of now, I can only give a hazy account of what exactly happened. It is important for me to mention that no drugs were part of this ceremony. All that put me into a kind of trance was the heat, the music and my breathing.
Our singing as a group got louder and louder. We stuck to a tune that felt good. Taki called out a word to the group. I don't remember what. Something like compassion or connectedness. By now we were all moving our sweaty bodies in a sitting position as much as space allowed.
We were about 15 people in a circular hut with a diameter of maybe 3 meters. By now I didn't care about the sweat of the others and my own. I continued to hum and sing to the drumbeats. Someone else from our circle now suddenly also shouted a word in the middle and a song arose from Taki's melody and courage-giving, liberating words, which were shouted out with body and soul. And at some point this song, which formed as if by itself, reached a kind of climax where all the drums gradually got louder, all the voices sang louder and it got really hot.
How something inside me wanted to scream. I felt a feeling wanting to come out through the tears in my eyes. And I gave it free rein. I howled loudly, sobbing and gasping for air. I don't know for how long, but it was for as long as it took. My loud whooping was completely lost in the singing voices and music of the others. But I didn't worry about that at that moment. I just let it happen. I let go of everything. Even my towel. I can't remember when or if I've ever consciously cried so hard. And there wasn't just release. There was also something dark, something very painful. There was a shadow that I let surface from the inside.
To my surprise, the heat remained bearable even in the third round. I still had enough breath to continue singing and moving. I noticed how my voice now drowned out the desperate shouting, loud laughter or quiet crying of some others. And I just thought to myself "Yes, let it all out, don't be ashamed". By now no one had their towel on either. And when we moved to the music our wet bodies touched each other. So what. We hung on to each other, sometimes took each other's hand or changed our sitting position. We all just sat there as Pacha Mama had made us: free, connected, naked, with open hearts and deeply touched. Even in the fourth round.
The music gently died away. And the hombre del fuego lifted the cloth in front of the entrance. A wonderfully cool breeze on it into the interior. Clockwise again, one by one, we slowly left the hut.
With a bucket we poured cold Andean water from the stream that ran right next to the sweat lodge over our heads. We stood under the shining, crystal clear starry sky in the middle of Peru. Now everything was definitely washed away that no longer served me. At least everything that dared to surface that evening. I felt great. Liberated. Relieved. Filled with joy.
I found my voice that night. I was really loud and it didn't matter how it sounded. The mantra chanting, the shouting of the words, the drums - it had an infinitely liberating effect on me.
Today I believe that on that evening I inwardly decided to speak my truth from now on and to live according to it. What concretely meant that a few weeks later I quit my job, adopted a street dog, now - 2 years later - play the harmonium as a yoga teacher and dare to sing in front of people.
That I found the way to bhakti-yoga through chanting and am now walking the path of the heart.
And when tears come to me today, I try to remember that they are a precious mouthpiece of my deepest inner self and I want to hear them. We all have wounds. And we can be grateful when they move from the inside out to experience healing. Even if it's scary at first. Letting go of something, getting free of a thought, belief, and what we no longer are or need is something this experience has taught me.