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In lieu of Valentine’s Day, it seemed apropos this week to focus on love. It’s in the air, after all!

Whether you’re coupled up, riding solo or somewhere in between, the truth is that the one relationship you’ll always have is with yourself  which is why it’s so important to make it a good one. Often, however, it’s so much easier to extend love and kindness to others than to ourselves.

At Haven, we’re big believers that yoga is the ultimate practice for cultivating self-compassion. In fact, we’d even like to invite you to think of your practice as an act of friendship to yourself. Slowly but surely, the magic of yoga encourages you to do more than just tolerate yourself or put up with yourself, but to love all of you

After all, how can you truly love someone else for all their flaws and quirks (their humanity, really) without embracing yourself first? When you begin to move on your mat from a space of self-love, it encourages you to do the same off the mat, too.

Here’s a look at a few ways yoga helps us to soften our critical gaze and shift into a space of self-love!

Compassion

As we breathe and bend, twist out old resentments and make space for the new, yoga allows us to see more clearly into our own hearts and the hearts of others. And the more we connect to this compassion, the more our instinct to judge others begins to fade. It’s replaced by something like love…which feels a lot lighter. It also tends to attract lots of love in return!

Gratitude

The beauty of our yoga practice is that it’s fertile ground for cultivating gratitude. It turns what we have into enough. Like the miracle of our breath, or of our feet planted firmly on the ground. Whether you’re partnered up or searching for the one, gratitude translates into more loving behavior and a better perspective on all the miracles at play in our lives.

Acceptance

Your yoga mat is a place to come you are. You don’t have to talk, you don’t have to wear a strong facade; your only job is to listen to your body. The more you show up, the easier it becomes for you to embrace your true self — your innate goodness, messy flaws and all — off the mat, too. And get this: The more you share your unique “you-ness” with the world, the more you encourage others to do the same.

Inner Peace

For most of us, inner peace comes in elusive glimpses. Yoga, however, is a way to be more proactive about finding greater inner peace. It’s a place to show up as a human being, not a human doing. When we find peace within ourselves, when we remember we’re enough, we feel at home wherever we are. Our relationship to others and the universe is no longer adversarial…it’s harmonious.

Contentment

Yoga is all about turning our attention inward to live in more harmony. Every time we show up on our mats, we create a container for contentment — a feeling of greater ease and presence. It’s not quite the same as happiness. Contentment asks us to sit with whatever we’re feeling and appreciate what we already have to find peace, rather than seeking happiness outside ourselves. 

Presence

In today’s frenzied world, it’s rare for us to be present with ourselves. Our yoga mat offers the opportunity to cultivate presence and move us into a sacred space of greater awareness. Every pause, every breath, is an opportunity to stay present. Yoga reminds us that it’s only in the now that we have power. The best part? The more you practice being present, the more presence you can offer your loved ones. 

Flow With Us At Haven

At Haven, we offer a variety of yoga styles and class times to fit your preferences. Check out our class schedule to experience some self-love in our sacred space!

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