"Bubble baths and dark chocolate may be antidotes to a hectic world — but self-care is more than indulgence. It's about slowing down and tuning into the subtle wisdom of your body and your mind. It's coming home to yourself, relishing in the hallways of your imagination, rejuvenating without external stimuli, and trusting that doing so is not selfish.
"The summer solstice is an apt time to welcome ourselves home to the practices that nurture our bodies and nourish our souls. Through the ritual of showing up to these practices, whatever those may be, we remain anchored to the core of our being as we navigate the peaks and valleys of life.
"Practicing self-care creates bodily space for an expanding mind. A person cannot serve from an empty well. In order to live a life of embodied empathy and compassion, we may have to put a pause on responsibilities so that we may fill our own coffers. This is why coming to the mat in practice feels like coming home: when we tune into the mind-body connection with unfettered attention, we settle into ourselves. We literally come home to the self.
"The set of niyamas in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras can be seen as an ethical code and prescription for self-care. These guidelines instruct us on how to live from the inside out, how to treat our body, how to cultivate room for mental and spiritual growth. It is important that we approach these directives with compassion. Being gentle to ourselves — to forgive ourselves when we do not live up to the standards we've set — is its own form of self-care.
"Cancer season is associated with family and memory, and coincides with the summer solstice. The start of summer signifies a homecoming after the frenetic phase of the sun's journey through Gemini. Fiercely protective, Cancerian energy may stimulate a desire to nest. Cancer is symbolized by the Crab — which, of course, carries its home wherever it goes, its hard external shell protecting its soft underbelly. While this nurturing instinct often manifests outwardly as a desire or need to take care of others, it can also be turned inward as a charge to nurture oneself. . . .
This Week: Date Night for One
"Treat yourself to a date night. Leave your devices at home — a date night with your higher self is not a date night with Instagram! — and take yourself to a restaurant you've been meaning to try, a play you've been wanting to see, or to the park with a small picnic. Make it special: approach this as you would a date night with a loved one. Try not to be distracted or fill the time by reading or listening to music. Instead, listen to the conversations that cycle through your mind. Coming home to yourself is a gift. Self-care is taking the time to be alone and enjoying the comfort of your own company and thoughts in a kind and loving manner.
"When we return to our roots, to the places and foundations of family and truth, we create home in ourselves; we nurture courage to grow and to change. When we tune in and settle into the home of the heart, we honor that which feeds the soul and makes us whole."