"The only monogamous, long-term relationship we'll ever have is the relationship to ourselves," says Krissy Jones, co-founder and yoga director at Sky Ting Yoga in New York City. Self-love is simply cultivating a healthy relationship to all aspects of yourself: how you talk to yourself, how you treat your body, and the choices you make, she says.
Treating yourself with love and respect, and striving to be a better human, will translate into every relationship you have outside of yourself, Jones says. When you take away negative thinking patterns or destructive behaviors, you often seem like a more magnetic person, and people tend to be drawn to that, she says. Or if you're already partnered up, you might find that you're able to solve problems better or see challenges more clearly, she says. "And when you love yourself and are fulfilled internally, you aren’t as reliant on your partner for happiness, which can ease a lot of tension and solve a lot of problems in relationships," she says.
One of the best self-love practices is yoga. Yoga is an "ultimate act of self-care," because it helps you self-soothe during stressful times and regulates your nervous system, Jones says. "By manipulating our breath, posture, and organs, and glands, we are setting up conditions for the physical body to be more at ease and the mind to be more clear," she says. And you don't need to go to a 60-minute class to reap the benefits; just five minutes a day of restorative postures at home can have a profound effect.
Given that, ahead is a 30-day (there are 28 days in February, but you can do this anytime) yoga challenge that emphasizes self-love. The poses are all restorative, so you won't be flowing through sequences or even breaking a sweat, you'll be holding them for a longer period of time, Jones says. That in itself can be intense: "They serve as a vehicle to transport you to a deeper, quieter space within, where you can see the fluctuations of your mind and have a real dialogue with you inner self," she says.
Get ready for a month-long journey of serious reflection, compassion, and love.