Is self-care optional or mandatory for you?

September 08, 2019

20130521-NRH-3355-46300-1The other day my 15-year-old son said yoga should be a mandatory class in high school and college (He hasn’t done yoga with me since he was 5). Trying not to show my exuberant delight that I might be succeeding as a parent and yogi, I instead remained calm in front of this young man and asked if he could share his thoughts behind this. He said that everyone needs a break and opportunity to reduce the stress and pressure of school, both academic and social stress.

I shared his viewpoint with my beginner and intermediate yoga-for-credit students at MSU, and they agreed. Many said it is why they signed up for the class - to make it mandatory in their schedule. (It's a pass/fail class. They have to show up to pass.) While yoga is an option at the MSU fitness center and there are lots of yoga studios in town, unless it’s mandatory the students said they are likely not to do it. Other things take precedence over their self-care such as friends, family, school, and work.

Can you relate to this? Is self-care optional or mandatory for you?

If it’s not mandatory I suggest you take these young adults’ advice and make it mandatory. Your future self and your bank account will thank you. Bank account, you might ask? Yes, your bank account. Healthcare is expensive. The more you tend to your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health now, the less likely you will fall into dis-ease later, or if you do, the more likely you will be to bounce back from it.

So how do you make yoga and self-care mandatory if you’re not a student with it integrated into your curriculum? Following are a few ideas:

Set aside a specific time each day for self-care. This could be a 5-min meditation in the morning before you connect to electronics. Connecting with your inner world before you connect with the outer world. Perhaps set an intention for the day such as “I begin my day with strength and grace… or truth and authenticity flow through my thoughts, words, and actions… or I am curious and creative…”

20130209-NRH-1312-rotatedCommit to a weekly yoga class. We have lots to choose from at YMWA,and so do the dozen other studios in town. There is not a shortage of options. To secure your commitment buy a package and show up weekly.

Sign up for teacher training. This is a strong commitment that comes with accountability and a tribe. By committing to this one weekend a month for eight months course you have the opportunity to develop a habit and friendships that have the potential to last a lifetime.

After teacher training, teach. I can’t speak for all teachers, but for me this is what keeps me in check because it’s not an option; it’s my livelihood and I can’t imagine a better one. To have yoga – the full spectrum of this ancient practice – be a part of my everyday life enriches my life and the life of those around me. This doesn’t mean life is blissful and pain-free, but it does help hold it all in balance. With yoga on the forefront, I am better able to flow with the ups, downs, and in-betweens of life.

True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.
– Aadil Palkhivala

It's never too late to start. Every time we step on our mat is a new beginning. Don't hesitate to contact us for guidance in developing your own self-care routine. We have lots of resources at our fingertips and are happy to share them so you can feel good, have fun and live well!

Namaste yogis,

Turi Hetherington
RYT500 YogaMotion, RYT200 Heart of Sound, LYB Certified
Holistic Lifestyle Tutor, Quiet seeker of adventure
(406) 581-3636

Here are a few more reasons why MSU students chose to take a yoga for credit class/make self-care mandatory...

To find a sense of self and balance.

To me yoga is the time I set aside for my body and myself. With every aspect of my life demanding a part of me, yoga is the time where I get to take it back.

A lifestyle where you are calm and powerful.

Yoga is a chance for me to separate myself from the high frequency energy all around me in school, Bozeman, USA and the world. I am learning to understand my life can run outside that frequency.

I am taking this yoga class because I have always wanted to learn, just never know where to start.

I want my body and spine to not hurt and I want to move after being in class all day!

I am here to understand my internal being more and to become a more flexible, mindful person.

I’m here for accountability of self-care. Yoga to me, is a practice to slow the mind, look inward, and detach from the traps of everyday life.


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