3 Small Acts of Self-Love

There's countless ways you can practice self-love. Today I'm sharing three ways how I've practiced taking care of me first. 

1. Acts of kindness. Here is a photo from my visit to Bali last year. After a long day of walking to three beautiful temples, there was an enormous pond of Koi Fish and visitors can feed them. I was smiling so hard because they knew what time it was once I sat near them with their food. 


2. Set yourself a bath. This past Friday, I tried out a new Bath Oil from Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. This one is their Furze has dried elderflower and amaranth flowers along with neroli oil swirls, jojoba oil, moisturizing mix of extra virgin coconut oil, organic shea and cocoa butters. You just drop this bad boy in the tub and watch the oils swirl and welcome your dry-ass Winter skin. I came out shiny as ever ;)


3. Positive Affirmations with a twist. These cute mason jars were gifted as a housewarming gift and the best part, you can personalize them! So on this particular day, I needed a little reminder. I have the best advice. 


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love hear about your self-love practices. 

Be the Best Friend you can have

Creating a Meditation Space

My relationship with meditation began in 2005. Seeing a counselor made my Freshman self more anxious. Even the idea of discussing my "issues" as a first generation Guatemalan-American female, made me want to avoid that therapist's couch like no other.

I walked out one day from his office and saw a flyer offering Free Meditation. I had zero experience and my 18 year old self was desperate to find anything to help with my sleep issues. I enrolled in the 6 week/sessions of mindfulness meditation. I kid you not, each time I thought I was doing it wrong. I kept telling myself my mind will never keep quiet or still.

But then I began practicing it in my bedroom at night. Training my body to be at ease and just noticing my thoughts was a little easier. De-cluttering my mind was progressively not as hard. I began creating a night-time routine.... I experienced myself being able to soothe myself and eventually get some rest. 


Curiosity and desperation led me to find meditation...It's worked for me, time and time again. So I've made a specific space in my bedroom to practice. 


By having a space as a go-to area for meditation, it helps me train my body to know that specific area is available. Once I start a practice in that said area, I'm training my body and mind with a routine that "meditation takes place here". 

When someone asks about my Meditation practice or state they have an interest. I most often hear "I want to start meditating! How do I start to do it?"

First step is by starting at a point in time. Same time, Same place is my motto. It's recommended to Meditate at least 5-10 minutes. You can play music, you can sit, stand, lay down. Your mind will most likely have A LOT of thoughts! I also tell others that quieting your mind isn't going to happen. Practice, Practice, Practice!! Notice your thoughts as though they were items on a conveyor belt. Download an app. Yes there's tons of apps for meditation. I use Insight Timer. 


First step is by starting at a point in time. Same time, Same place is my motto.


Below is a recent photo of my alter (which you don't necessarily need) But I have found useful in creating a safe, inspirational and comfortable space. 

1. Essential Oil for my evening Abhyanga "Self Massage"- Currently mine has Sesame Oil, Peppermint oil and Lavender oil. 

2. Inspirational quotes- This one was gifted from one of my Hermanas  (Sorority Sister) at our Annual Holiday Brunch a few years ago. 

3. Cultural item- I purchased this from one of my visits to Guatemala. I often meditate to the visual of Lake Atitlan. Memories of Guatemala always bring a smile to my face.

4. I have two Ganesha figurines and two other fertility statues. Ganesha is known as the Lord of Good Fortune who provides prosperity, fortune and success. He is the Lord of Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles of both material and spiritual kinds. 

5.  Singing Bowl – My cousin gifted me this Singing bowl from his trip to Italy. Singing bowls are known as the ancient brain entrainment methodology for healing and meditation. If you haven't heard or played with one of these--do yourself the favor! Some of the benefits from Singing bowls include; Reduce stress and anxiety significantly, Chakra balancing, and promotes stillness, happiness and well being.

6. Family- My brother Gio and I call each other Monkey. So I've made sure to think of him, pray/send him positive vibes while in this space.

7. Mala beads- Both were gifted and placed on alters during my teacher trainings for positive energy. The Namaste beads were exchanged to me at Ezoo two years ago! 

 

I'm curious to know about your meditation practice, what have you found useful or not in your space. 

Namaste!

Special Teachers

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
-William A. Ward

This morning I was motivated to take one of my Yoga teachers' Yin/Yang class. Class was amazing and at one point she reminded the class to pay close attention for those who have an injury. Up until that moment, I was modifying as I was going and at times, was all in my head.

Her paying close attention to the class and in particular knowing my management of the lower back was yet another moment of how teachers truly are *special. When she said that, he quickly glanced my way and I felt her support.

 That moment was a reminder of how much support there is in the Yoga community. I've been fortunate to gain so much from those who have led my teacher trainings. The knowledge and their practices stem from other teachers, so on and so forth. 

I hope to guide my future students, explain as much as I can, demonstrate if possible, but most importantly....I hope to inspire.

Daily affirmations...Motivational posts...Inspirational quotes...Are they effective?

I don't see why not. There's so much literature (check out the self-help, positive psychology, self-improvement, etc at a bookstore/library) banking on the theory of its effectiveness. 

Let's begin with our own thoughts. You know, the conversation you have with yourself (we all have these and no you're not abnormal because of it). For the most part, we all have our own perception, opinions and thoughts of our self. *Think self esteem. 

Now, if a fly were to hang out in the walls of your mind and thoughts...what would it hear? Are those conversations with yourself; positive/neutral/negative?

I recall a patient tell me he thought the very worst of himself the second he woke up...every day. How do you think the rest of his days played out? Not great.

From that meeting, we began experimenting with his first thoughts to himself. For him, he felt it was silly, pointless and perhaps a juvenile recommendation from his therapist. But alas, he began detangling his negative self-talk and replacing it with either neutral and later positive self-talk. I literally "prescribed" him to come up with daily affirmations. Guess what? Over some time, that initial thought of thinking he was "useless" and "lacking a purpose in life" first thing in the morning happened less and he began feeling better about himself!

Some people write quotes/affirmations on post its, have it tattooed, and others (like myself) like to receive it via text (Shine text!) and via my social media feed. 

If you enjoy daily motivation, positive quotes, inspirational photos...TIY will be posting Daily Motivation during the week via Instagram. Follow my IG page @trueimage_yoga and get in on the fun. Who said there's such thing as too much inspiration?

Where To Find An All-Embracing Yoga Community

As confident as I try to be, I doubted myself in becoming a yoga teacher. 

Why?! you may ask....*Sighs deeply* Because I am a woman of color. A Latina. I'm 5' and I wear a C cup ;)

Most classes I've attended have been taught by white female instructors who are slim, blonde, possibly a combination of Vata & Pitta types. I didn't see enough women of color either teaching or as many filling up the yoga class space.  & to be honest, it is intimidating. 

My Hermana (sorority sister) who is also a yoga teacher (woohoo!) forwarded me Setu's photo shoot event this past September. Immediately I thought, "okay...let me see just how diverse this online community is". Can't tell you enough how beautiful it is to see pages of Yoga Teachers from the Bronx to London and everywhere in between. 

Veronica Saravia 3.jpg

Here's a little bit about their mission: 

Setu is an inclusive community-driven directory of yoga teachers that encourages diversity and positive relationships.

Setu aims to represent yoga teachers of all races, ethnicities, orientations and geographical locations. The goal is to unite the yoga community and recognize each teacher who contributes to it.

 

To my fellow Yoga teachers, visit their website at https://setu.yoga/

Click here to join and submit your fabulous profile. You can potentially find new students/teaching opportunities, network with other teachers, and receive exposure for your practice and more.