Since you are unlikely to send yourself a dozen red roses (but if that works for you, go for it!), here are 5 ways to practice self-love on February 14th, from your morning smoothie to your evening yoga practice.
1. Experience deep relaxation with restorative yoga.
Have you always avoided restorative yoga, brushing it off as nothing more than a glorified nap? We all like to break a sweat when we practice, but restorative yoga offers a different kind of challenge, using long holds and supported resting poses to help us cultivate the skill of conscious relaxation and release unnecessary habitual tension, says Jillian Pransky, who leads Yoga Journal’s online course, Restorative Yoga 101. You’ll experience full, deep, natural breathing—perhaps for the first time—and create deep release and ease in the body and mind.
2. Eat more plants.
The Economist recently declared 2019 “The Year of the Vegan,”predicting this will be the year that avoiding not only meat but all animal products goes mainstream.
Loving the planet (going vegan may help curb climate change!) can help you love yourself more, too. Plant-based diets are linked to health benefitslike lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Vegetarians are also less prone to cancer, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
Going the extra step to eliminate all animal products from your diet (not just meat) can also help you cut saturated fat and calories. Plus, many yogis believe veganism is one way to practice ahimsa, the yogic principle of nonharming. “It’s about being kind—to others, including animals, to the planet, and to oneself,” says Sharon Gannon, co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga School and the vegan Jivamuktea Café in New York City.
Concerned about not getting enough protein in your vegetarian or vegan diet? Solgar products, like Solgar Spoonfuls Vanilla Chai Vegan Protein Powder,make it easy to add a delicious plant-based source of protein to your diet every day. Just add a scoop to your favorite shake, smoothie, almond milk, or yogurt.
3. Make time for self-care.
Self-care is having a moment right now, and yoga is one of the most powerful ways to make time for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Some of these positives include helping you cope with stress, increase relaxation, and improve your mood and self-confidence. Extend the benefits of your practice by making time for a recovery massage, fascial release, a cup of herbal tea, or a warm bath with essential oils… then cap off the day with a slumber-inducing sleep meditation.
4. Boost your gut health.
Probiotics—the live organisms like bacteria and yeast that are believed to improve digestion and overall health—have been trending for the last few years. Reap the benefits of “good bacteria” in your diet by eating more cultured or fermented foods like kefir and Kombucha. You can also start your morning with a delicious Triple Berry Smoothie that includes Spoonfuls® Mixed Berry Protein Powder (get the recipe here), which contains both good-for-your-gut probiotics and deliciousplant-based protein.
5. Love yourself the way you are.
Yoga Journal cover yogi Jessamyn Stanleysays she’s on a “mission” to make more body-diverse yoga classes accessible to anyone who wants them, and to broadcast a real yoga practice, “scars and all.” So this Valentine’s Day, remember that yoga is for EVERY body, and love yourself no matter how you look in your leggings. Ready to get started? Here are 5 poses that will help you love your body, plus 6 more ways to boost self-love.