View of the Kripalu grounds.

View of the Kripalu grounds.

I was up at Kripalu, the yoga and retreat center in Western Massachusetts, last weekend and remembered what I sometimes forget: the body, heart and mind need rest and rejuvenation from time to time. After a 6:30am yoga class, movement workshop on finding your voice, and a massage, I felt a sense of calm come over me that I hadn’t experienced in many months. I also had plenty of precious alone time to journal, walk in nature and just “be”. This is a very different space from which to sit with the current challenges, dilemmas and anxieties I face in my day to day life. Not that they don’t exist, they just felt less powerful during and after the weekend. I also came back wanting to cook healthier foods and more mindful of unplugging from technology.

The last time I had been up to Kripalu was over two years ago. Why did I wait so long to come back? Here are the reasons I came up with:

  • There was no one to go with and I didn’t feel like going alone
  • It cost too much and is hard to justify spending money on this type of weekend
  • I’d have to travel to get there and that feels hard
  • This feels too selfish, self-serving and indulgent

These reasons felt valid at the time, but now that I’ve gone on the weekend, I see they get in the way of important self-care that positively impacts my overall well-being.

While not everyone can or wants to do a weekend yoga retreat, there are usually acts of love and kindness to ourselves we could do that we’re not.

If you were less stingy and more generous with yourself, what could or would you do? If you saw these acts as a gift not only to yourself but to those around you, how would that impact your ability to make the choice to say yes rather than no?

My suggestion is to start with a list of the ways you are already generous with yourself.  It could be little things like going on a walk during your workday or making yourself a cup of tea at night. Then create a list of how you are stingy with yourself. That could be things like you want to buy yourself flowers but you don’t or you eat lunch at your desk rather than taking a break. For the second list, determine the “why” behind it. Is it too costly? Are you waiting for someone else to join you? Are you prioritizing something else over yourself?

How would being more generous with yourself positively impact your life? Take a look at the reasons (aka “excuses”) for why you’re not saying yes to yourself and make the decision to do one generous act on your list. Repeat regularly.