Crown Yourself Queen (or King) of Self-Care – 9 Yoga Lifestyle Tips for 2023
By Kristine Kaoverii Weber | February 24, 2023
Although January and most of February have already whooshed by, it’s still early enough in the year to make a shift and incorporate a little more off-the-mat yoga into your daily life. Yoga lifestyle habits help me feel more grounded, content, focused, and well, just happier. They help me accept the things I cannot change and give me energy and courage to change the things I can. They also make me feel like the queen of self-care – and who couldn’t use a little more of that?
Here are a few of my favorite Yoga Lifestyle tips which you may wish to consider incorporating this year:
- Wake Up Positive
I love those first moments of consciousness in the morning (well, I should qualify that. I love them after a good night’s sleep). It feels like being reborn – everything is fresh and new. I like to use those first few moments to guide my early morning brain towards something positive, inspiring, and uplifting – like a mantra, a prayer, a song, a kīrtan chant, intention, or perhaps a poem.
My suggestion is to choose something that’s personally meaningful. Repeat it for 1-5 minutes. You may wish to sit up in bed to do this. Waking up and guiding your mind towards something positive is an incredible way to set the tone for your entire day.
- Cool Water
Cool water in the morning shifts energy quickly. My grandma would often say, “You’ve gotta wash that sleep off of your face honey!” Many years ago when I was staying in ashrams in India, I learned the value of cold water bathing each morning. To be honest, I have something of a love-hate relationship with it. What I’ve learned over the years is that there are many ways to have a relationship with cold water. Sometimes I just use grandma’s method and splash cool water on my face. Sometimes I standing in a cold shower until I feel the cold blasting through into my brain. Most days it’s something in between. If you have any health concerns, please discuss with a licensed clinician before taking on any serious cold water practice.
- Tongue Scraping
The first time I saw a tongue scraper and learned what it was for I thought I’d lose my lunch. I was totally disgusted. But once I got over my initial heebie jeebies, I began to embrace the scrape. How did I ever survive without it! Tongue scraping pairs well with teeth brushing so it’s easy to incorporate into your routine, and why not get into the habit of regularly ridding yourself of the ama – internal garbage?
- Morning Sunlight
I love to spend some time each morning getting a little sun. It’s meant to be great for setting your circadian rhythms, helping you sleep better, and making vitamin D. But morning sunlight means more to me than that, it feels like a blessing or a divine gift. I learned in India to sit facing east and meditate in the rising sun and it’s a practice that I still love to do when it’s not too cold and/or rainy (and I’m up early enough). Accept the gift! Even when it’s not sunny, a few moments outside in the morning are precious.
For me, morning asanas are a self-care imperative – they are my allies, both physically and mentally. To be clear, I do not have a 90 minutes asana practice. I set my bar super low – one pose a day (and since I always repeat poses, it may take me anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes to complete it). One pose is my baseline, but it easily morphs into a 15 or 20 minutes practice, when I have time. I make sure my phone is out of the room. If my mind is particularly antsy, I’ll keep my notebook close by so I can write down some to-dos to remember later, and I remind myself that this is my special, self-care time, and nothing, not even my own monkey mind, is allowed to interfere. This is my time to indulge in the wonderful, radiant sensations of mindful movement.
- Yamas and Niyamas for Decision Making
Life isn’t simple. We have to make decisions every day. The yamas and niyamas are a powerful framework for making them. They take us beyond ahimsa’s “As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone” and give us 9 other litmus tests through which to evaluate our choices. The thing about decisions is that there is always a lot of wiggling – it can be so easy to overthink things. Having another person or two who you know are committed to ethics to help you bounce choices off of can be really helpful.
- Mindful moments for Reducing Social Media Scrolling
I work a lot and I need to take regular breaks. It can be so easy to fall into social media scrolling. I am as guilty as anyone! So, I try to take a mindful moment before I default to the attention sucking, mind numbing internet.
A commitment to mindfulness helps me to remember to take a break. Get up. Stop looking at the screen. Resist the urge to pick up my phone. Look out in the distance and breathe. Notice the feelings in my body. Discern if I’m hungry, thirsty, tired, frustrated, lonely, etc. and try to take care of those needs first.
It doesn’t mean I never allow myself to watch cat videos, scroll through Facebook, or indulge in celebrity gossip, it just means I try to do it because I’m choosing to, not out of lizard brain habit.
If there is one thing that instantly obliterates my self-obsessed ruminations, it’s realizing how much other people suffer and could use some help – food, a smile, kindness. I try to make it a daily habit to remember that other people need support and to do something for someone else when the opportunity presents itself (& make an effort to expect nothing in return). I include animals in this piece of advice BTW. The thing about stepping up to help is that it provides a direct experience of how interconnected everything is, and how much we all need each other. It’s a way to practice yoga, to practice unity.
- ????? The last point is blank because I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite yoga lifestyle practices? Please share some in the comments!
Please check out my course, The Science of Yogic Meditation: Journey to the Limitless.
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Dear Kristine! I so enjoyed reading your points on self-care! I have been in Mexico for the last two months with my husband! Every morning here I have walked onto the beach to do sunrise yoga! I It has been the most magical activity! I time it so that i am in savasana when the sun peaks over the mountain! I end up with an hour practise! Then I finish with saying my final words to myself – palms together and bring my hands to my forehead , may I have kind thoughts, hands to my mouth, may I have kind words, and palms to my heart, may I have kind intentions! The morning sun and these words start my day! I love it! The rest of the day is bonus!
oh my that sounds divine Irena. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Kristine, I really like the way you have outlined the above with such simplicity. I especially welcome your comments about doing even just one asana in the morning and how that will inevitably lead to a few more. For me, before I do any physical movement, I just like to sit in stillness using Anjali mudra to connect with the sacred space within and without. Sometimes in silence, sometimes accompanied with a chant.
And that helps to remind me to try to incorporate the spirit of Yoga practice throughout my day.
that’s beautiful Neela, thank you for sharing!
Hello Kristine. There are 2 practices I have incorporated into daily life that have their roots in my yoga practice.
1. When I get out of bed, I press my feet onto the floor, and release, and press again and release, and repeat this 10-15 times. I love when I can feel my upper back straighten and my shoulders release. It sets my posture for the day.
2. When I turn on the water to wash my hands in the bathroom and it is very cold, I hold onto the sink, walk my feet back and do a modified down dog, stretching my back and taking 10-12 breaths. Then I step my right foot forward bending the knee, and enjoying a supported Warrior 1, then straightening the knee and folding over the right leg. Then I step my right foot back and repeat on the left side.
Then I step both my feet forward, hold onto the sink and lift my spine and soften my shoulders. By that time the water is warm, I feel wonderful and ready for the day.
nice! Thanks for sharing!
Greetings Kristine! My favourite way to come into the day is to find my way to the kitchen, make a cup of tea carry it back to the bedroom and jump back into bed! Sit with pillows all fluffed up, and meditate for 10-20 minutes. How lovely!
you are a self-care Queen for sure. xo
Kristine, I find your newsletter/blog an inspiration, thank you for the opportunity to contribute.
#9 – teaching yoga. My journey to teacher training started with an interest to enrich my personal knowledge. It morphed to an opportunity to teach at local YMCA…8 years on, still doing it (very part time) not for the money. I love to see the progress in students; no greater gift.
yes, I agree. Thanks for doing great work!
Hello, I have been practising yoga for 51 years. It has kept me healthy, flexible and strong through the most difficult times.
When ever one is stressed alternative nostril breathing is a blessing. Love nature, kind people and all the creatures. Karma is a wonderful thing.
thank you Suzette – you are an icon!
Thank you for sharing Kristine great post.
I would add I do a joint freeing series after I wake up and great the day before I get out of bed.
And have started recently with turning the shower to cold water before I get out. It is not a long time that stand there but long enough for my body and mind I think.
Thank you Sandra – I love joint rotations!
I appreciate the suggestion to consider Yama & Niyama in decision-making. I have advanced into a dream job that demands a lot of independent decision-making. This level of autonomy can be both fulfilling and paralyzing. I look forward to trying this approach the next time my work-related priorities seem overwhelming or unclear.
That’s great Melissa. I find they can be so helpful – but I also really like having someone to bounce possible decisions off of (then again, I’m a Libra sun sign, I tend to see all sides!)
Also exressing gratitude when I first wake. Here for another adventurous day, a fresh start with curiosity and it distracts the monkey mind from the to do lists.
Thanks for your great mahi and teachings
That’s beautiful! thank you for sharing Madeleine. xo
Thank you for all you do.I often meditate while in bed and do a quick standing sun sequence before a bath or turn the shower to cold for a minute or two .
Then off for a porridge and a dog walk ! Sun is shining here like the idea of using Yamas and Niyamas .
I’m a libra too and have a great partner who wants to learn more about Yoga and I still teach a small Zoom class and a face to face one .
Thinking of taking a break and going to NZ !
Enjoy your Yoga
Thank you for sharing. I highly recommend Christchurch. I just loved it there!
#9 – This is a great blog post and reminder especially to take the Yamas and Niyamas into consideration when making decisions. Teaching yoga as a small/micro business often puts us in situations where we have to make difficult decisions and I recently made a decision that I quickly regretted and it spiraled. I really beat myself up over it until a friend listened to the whole story and directly told me I had to focus on letting go. I realized my mistake and quickly tried to remedy it in the moment (I did everything short of groveling, by the way) and the individual was just so angry that I couldn’t make it better. In looking back, I should have taken more time to respond initially and considered the Yamas and Niyamas.
To add to your post, one of my regular practices is using Nasya (Banyan Botanicals) every day in my sinuses. I use it in the a.m. and massage the outer part of my nose. This is in addition to hydrating eye drops and tongue scrapping. 🙂
I have made so many mistakes in dealing with people. But I learn something each time. And I have no problem apologizing when I’m wrong. What’s taken me longer is to learn to stand up for myself when I’m right. Beating myself up (although it’s so easy to) is never helpful. Learning, growing, changing – that’s what mistakes are for! As for the nasya oil – yay! I love it too! And eye drops can be really helpful as well. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
Some wonderful additions and reflections here…..it’s important for me to be mindful and considerate about what and how I do it. Every day is an opportunity for mine and others growth so for #9 I am thinking about connection with another, a smile, a compliment, an ear…..
Thanks Chris, I appreciate you and your steady, kind presence.
this is a lovely list, Kristine. some of them are a part of my current morning rituals, like splashing cold water on my face and tongue scraping, having rec’d a tongue scraper in the first ytt i attended 20 odd years ago. when i swing my feet to the floor after waking, i take a moment to reconnect with earth and to say a few words of gratitude that i get to greet a new day and how i might best serve the day. i also sip warm water with lemon prior to my coffee.
thank you for sharing some great ideas. at this time of year, i am up well before sunrise and seek some bright light not long after rising.
Thank you for sharing your rituals Wendy, these are great!
I pause and say or read a quote from Tich Naht Han: “Waking up this morning I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and view all beings with eyes of compassion.”
Thank you Denise, I love this!
Before I move a muscle, open my eyes or move…the moment I realize I am awake…still snuggled in the warmth of my bed….I smile.
That smile leads to my Gratitude List, which deepens the smile, which leads to a deeper breath, and it all takes my mind away from the To Do List, the worrisomeness, etc. I love your list and am so grateful for Yoga. Thank you, Kristine.
beautiful. Thank you for sharing!
When I wake up and open the curtains I say “Praise the Lord ” and smile.
8am evey morning I join in with a live 15minute meditation with Face book group ‘ Daily Dru Meditations in association with Dru in the Dales’ ,it is free and someone different leading every morning. I find it such a good way to start my day.
During Lent I am aiming to do something good each day for someone or something
Thankyou so much for yor generous shares Kristine
That’s great Heather Ruth, it’s so nice to share with a group!
Another great blog, Kristine! Thanks for the reminder of morning gratitude and positivity. I often get up and going with no thought to the gift of the new day.
We can always make shifts. I hope this blog helped!
Hi Kristine! In addition to sometimes tongue-scraping after brushing teeth, I also do oil pulling with a spoon of coconut oil with some essential oils added. Also making the bed with my husband, and walking the dog before whatever time I can make for my personal asana and meditation practice, is what gets my day off to a good start.
Beautiful Well-ness protocol. All that & a bag of hammers (in case you need to build something, like a bridge! LOL)
“Work on/cultivate your “tudes” – Start the day with Gratitude, does improve your attitude, which increases your altitude” – Steve Harvey