Self Care is Health Care
Yogic tips for getting to know yourself
"All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark"- Swami Vivekananda
Svadhyaya stands for self-study or self-observance.
In the Yogic tradition, Svadhyaya is accompanied by two other practices/principles.
Svadhyaya - Self Observance
Tapas - Practice Causing Positive Change
Isvara Pranidhana - Have Faith in the Big Picture
I love turning to these three practices when I am in the process of making big life decisions or working to adopt healthier habits. Here are five technologies that serve as containers for self-study.
Journaling is a powerful process of self reflection and refraction. Meditative Writing is most effective if practiced upon waking, as mornings are considered liminal or sacred. The idea is, wake up and write, stream of consciousness style, without self-editing. Many prefer not to re-read their pages, but to put them into a folder or straight into the fire. Writing meditation is profoundly cleansing.
There is scientific evidence that the physical act of putting pencil to paper keeps the brain healthy and prevents psychological disorders like dementia. Art is a wonderful way to stimulate the right brain and may include crafts like vision boarding, knitting, painting, illustration, or cooking. Whatever excites you. Use your hands and heart-mind to create something that invigorates you.
The word Tapas in Yoga has several different meanings. Foundation-ally it means 'to build heat'. To be clear though, Tapas is the kind of heat that is transformative. This sort of heat may even cause discomfort or pain. Tapas teaches us to make a different choice. For example, if you have a habit of being critical of others, the choice to stop yourself mid-thought is Tapas. It is also the practice of physically sweating. We are learning from science that you can potentially re construct your DNA by liquifying your fascia through movement and massage.
There are some foods that are especially supportive of your cognitive health. Foods at the top of the list include blueberries, nuts & seeds, broccoli, green tea, coffee, rich omega-3 foods including certain fish and avocados. If you are a carnivore, red meat is also good for your brain. All in all we know that eating a healthy, diverse, well balanced diet is good for your cranium. The gut is even referred to amongst wellness professionals as the second brain.
So what if your gut is generally unhappy? You have food sensitivities, are dealing with chronic illness, or simply have a stressed out stomach? Anthony William of Medical Medium has a global community on the celery juice train. Celery has specific anti-inflammatory properties that target the health of the digestive system. Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, celery has proved a magical medicine for many.
Anthony recommends drinking 16 oz of fresh pressed celery juice daily, on an empty stomach. This is a practice you may adopt if you are dealing with digestive distress, have a significant coating on your tongue, and are trying to rid yourself of ama (toxicity in the gut).
Cleaning up your diet is a generous form of self-respect and practice of causing positive change.