Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day, V-Day is the perfect day to honor the most important romance in your life…the one you have with yourself!
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.
A 5-Minute Meditation to Release Anxiety
Detach from anxiety and come back to the present.
Rina Deshpande shares her quick 5-minute meditation to release anxiety and let go of attachments.
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Yoga Helped Me Face My Fears About Marriage Once and For All
I went to Mexico to rejuvenate, detox, and practice yoga with my boyfriend. Turns out, it would also be where I faced my fears about marriage.
It was a humid sunrise on a quiet, sandy beach in Tulum, Mexico. Despite our previous late-night mezcal tasting beneath the jungle leaves, my longtime boyfriend, Anush, had dragged me out of our tiny thatched-roof cabana at first light.
I adjusted my Beyoncé t-shirt and gray cotton shorts I’d worn to bed as I scanned the horizon. When I turned back to Anush, he was kneeling in the sand, holding a typed love letter and a tourmaline engagement ring.
“Will you marry me?” He asked.
I was so incredulous, I couldn’t speak. Feelings of doubt and darkness coursed through me, even though I’d always imagined a future with him: He was the one person who made me feel seen and cared for and uplifted. Still, I was reluctant to commit.
My parents went through a dramatic and corrosive divorce when I was 13, but the fallout had lasted long after. Most of the great pain in my life has come from marriage—and its ending. Marriage is the thing that has made me most likely to run, and least likely to trust
See also This Guided Meditation Will Inspire You to Live From Your Heart
As I stared at the man I love, these past traumas lit my body from head to toe with alarm bells. How could I marry anyone? But, as I looked at him, I calmed myself down. I silently told myself something I had learned in my yoga and mindfulness practice: Be here now. With that mantra, I slowly came back to the moment. With that mantra, I reminded myself where I was, who I was with—and most importantly, who I am now.
He waited patiently. I started to cry. Finally, I said, “Yes! Yes. Yes. Of course, yes.” He put the ring on my finger, and he held me while I cried. In that moment of “yes,” my world expanded.
We drank champagne and ate fruit in front of the ocean while the Tulum sun rose, pink and hot on our skin. I could hardly believe my good fortune—engaged in Tulum at sunrise. In that moment, instead of fear, I chose gratitude.
I saw a beachfront yoga class almost immediately after—Tulum, thankfully is crawling with them—and I asked my fiance(!), if he’d like to take it together. I was still shaking from the metamorphic decision I had made: unwavering commitment in the face of fear. I hoped familiar asana would steady me. Internally, I repeated my mantra as we walked into a large triangular wood pavilion, perched on a hidden natural cliff in the jungle, overlooking the beach as if it had been there forever.
See also 17 Poses to Prep for Mindful Meditation
Our yoga teacher, a young woman from Mexico City with a sing-song voice, instructed us to let go of our fears, to open our hearts, to experience the beauty of the moment we were in.
I was exactly where I needed to be. I still had my dark corners—I may always—but I could learn to live with them and still claim the life I wanted and deserve. I could live in the present and not in the past. I could be here now, soaking in the jungle, the ocean, in a magnificent place where afterward we would eat fresh coconut and bike carefree down the beach road and hike up Mayan ruins and speak a little Spanish and accept a glorious chocolate mole cake that said “Felicidades.”
As I looked over at the joyful, patient man doing yoga next to me, the waves crashed out ahead. I took his hand for just an instant, and he smiled. And then we raised our arms together, side-by-side, to salute the sun.
See also 7 Simple Ways to Call in More Joy—and Feel Less Stressed
About our author
Gina Tomaine is a yoga teacher and magazine editor in Philadelphia. Her work has been published in Prevention, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, and other publications. Learn more at gina-tomaine.com.
6 Yoga Teachers Share What They Never Travel Without
Yoga teachers weigh in on what they can’t travel without—plus, our favorite must-brings for every adventure.
1. Under Armour Cotton Fleece Logo Hoodie
“A sweatshirt with pockets and a big-enough hood that I can pull over my eyes and take a quick snooze or do a little yoga nidra on the plane.” —Rosie Acosta
2. Vuori Performance Jogger
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3. Magic Bullet Mini
“I love having the ability to make matcha or a smoothie wherever I go. It’s a game-changer.” —Eoin Finn
4. Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic Formula
5. Ujjaya Balance Bottle
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6. BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow
“A travel pillow that supports my neck is vital for falling asleep on the plane!” —Rina Jakubowicz
7. Mantisyoga Guru Backpack
8. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II
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9. HITOP Classic Plaid Tartan Blanket Scarf
“An oversized scarf and my essential oils: I put the oils on my neck and wrap the scarf around me so I can push out airplane germs.” —Kathryn Budig
(from $14, amazon.com)
10. Pangea Organics Frank-incense Essential Oil Roller
“Frankincense helps me connect with my intuition and stay grounded while traveling—plus, it doubles as an organic insect repellent!” —Lauren Eckstrom
See also 5 Essential Oils Combos That Smell Better Than Your Favorite Candles
11. Yoga For Bad People Travel Mat
“My travel mat is great for practicing in tropical and humid climes, and it’s super yummy when thrown over a gym or hotel mat—extra cushion without the gunk!” —Heather Lilleston
12. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Shoe
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