“Move like you love yourself.”
My YouTube yoga teacher, Adriene, has been saying this for the last year, which is the exact amount of time I’ve been taking her online yoga courses.
But it really just registered with me today.
All of a sudden, as I attempted to un-pretzel myself from the stiff, chilly, cross-legged posture I had adopted out on my porch, these words popped into my mind.
“Move like you love yourself.”
My first thought in response was, “huh?”
My mind – very understandably, I think – wanted to know what this would look like. How would it know I was moving like I loved myself and not in some other way. I didn’t know what to tell it. Because truthfully, I don’t really know.
What I do know is that my movements have become more deliberate since I began my practice with Adriene as my guide. I notice this in particular as I am clambering up and down the stairs to and from my treehouse apartment – stairs my friends and family often describe as “treacherous” and even “life-threatening.” They are quite steep.
I notice I am more mindful about not just where I place my feet but how I place my feet. My feet are more mindful about how they land, curling the toes just slightly for extra balancing support, and my arms and hands make use of the side rails – just in case – with more grace.
When playing with my young redfooted tortoise, Malti, I feel more at ease getting down on the ground, tenting my body, legs and arms so she can crawl underneath them for the game we’ve played since she was a hatchling – “tortoise tunnels.”
When my senior cockatiel, Pearl, takes yet another unauthorized flight because something (or nothing) startled him, I am increasingly able to contort myself to crawl behind the couch, into the pantry or behind the toilet to extract him without bruising or pulling anything in the process.
Perhaps these improvements represent signposts that my physical movements are becoming more self-loving. Or maybe they just prove that some of my newly rediscovered muscle groups are finally starting to forgive me for all the yoga that has been slowly and steadily forcing them out of early retirement.
I like how Adriene often encourages us to spend time with our feet. Foot massage is a regular thing on the Yoga with Adriene channel. The first time she guided me through it, I felt …. embarrassed. Awkward. Like, here I am sitting on my yoga mat alone at home massaging my feet.
Now, when she issues the invitation, I feel more at ease, more conscious of how much my feet do for me with relatively few complaints. When they do have complaints, it is always my fault. They deserve more love, more care, more gratitude, than what I typically send their way. In fact, I suspect if I really took the time to focus and notice how each body part serves me and how selflessly they serve, I might actually drown in an ocean of wonder and gratitude.
I don’t serve myself or others half so well as my body serves me.
This is why, now that I’ve actually heard Adriene saying, “move like you love yourself,” and I’ve tuned in to realize I’m not sure what she is talking about, I have decided I would really like to learn how to do this.
Moving like I love myself sounds like a wonderful way to live.
Today’s Takeaway: The one downside to having a yoga instructor who teaches online is that it is harder to ask her questions such as, “How do I know I am moving like I love myself? Are there specific signs to look for? How can I tell?”
What do you think? Have you had any experiences where you have felt love towards yourself as you moved? I would love to hear any insights you would like to share!