Practice This Yoga Sequence for Self-Love When You Need a Little Extra TLC

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Just as yoga is a practice, so is loving yourself. It’s called self-love.

There are days when self-love is fun and easy, just like yoga class. You treat yourself to a coffee, spend time in nature, or chat with a friend.

Then there are days when practicing self-love feels close to impossible. You make mistakes, stub your toe, and spill that coffee all down the front of you.

Respecting, honoring, and caring for yourself is something you must work at every day. You don’t improve in your Crow Pose or Headstand by simply thinking about it.
 

In order to practice self-love, you must carve out time just for you.

 
With practice and with time, both challenging asanas and feeling good about who you are will come naturally. For both, the practices involve patience, mindfulness, and finding peace in the present moment.

If you are like many, you spend a lot of energy caring for others around you. In order to practice self-love, you must carve out time just for you. Luckily, this is where your yoga practice and your self-love practice can intersect!

Want to create a home yoga space of your own? Here’s How to Design Your Own Distraction-Free Home Yoga Space
 
 

Gift Yourself Quality Y.O.U. Time and Practice This Self-Love Yoga Sequence:

Before you begin this self-love themed yoga sequence, set yourself up for success. Find a quiet spot and put on your favorite relaxing music.

Gather a yoga bolster or a few pillows, a yoga block a stack of hardback books, and a weighted eye pillow (a small bag of beans can work as well).

Diffuse essential oils. Turn off your phone, and tell anyone who might interrupt you that you have scheduled a date with yourself.

Now you’re ready! Let’s jump into this self-love yoga sequence. Get ready to love yourself!
 

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)

alternate-nostril-breathing

Alternate Nostril Breathing, also known as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama or Anuloma Viloma, depending on the yoga tradition, is a breathing technique where you breathe in one nostril and out the other to you balance your energy and quiet the mind.

This popular form of Pranayama calms and focuses the mind, relieves stress and anxiety, and also stimulates the lungs and qi or life force energy within the body.

Doing this calming breathing technique is a great way to practice self-love (hint: you can take this off the mat too!).

Let’s Try It:

  • Find a comfortable seated position, either cross legged, kneeling, or in a chair
  • Rest the back of your left hand on your left thigh – you won’t use it for this breathing exercise
  • With your right hand, bring your pointer and middle fingers together like peace fingers. Separate your thumb out – you’ll be using your right thumb and ring finger to block alternate nostrils
  • Sit up tall and rest your right “peace fingers” on your third eye
  • Through the nose, inhale normally and exhale normally. With your right ring finger, close your left nostril and inhale through the right
  • Pause for two counts at the top of the breath, then open the left nostril and close the right to exhale. Pause at the bottom of the breath and then inhale through the left
  • Pause at the top, close the left and exhale through the right

 

That’s one round.

Do eight rounds total, taking slow, deep breaths. See if you can extend your breath for counts of six. When you are finished, relax both hands in your lap, keep your eyes closed and notice the difference.

Learn more about Nadi Shodhana here
 

2. Ragdoll Forward Fold (Uttanasana Variation)

standing_forward_fold_pose

It’s common that students become impatient in a standing forward fold, but you must give your body the time it needs to relax. This is part of the self-love practice.

There’s no need to rush through life, constantly trying to check things off the to-do list. Instead, just breathe and love on yourself!

This gentle yoga pose with a ragdoll variation is a great place to start. By hanging heavy and grabbing opposite elbows, you allow the physical tension to melt away. It also helps decompress and lengthen the spine and increase flexibility in the hamstrings.

Let’s Try It:

  • Step your feet a little more than your hip’s width apart and deeply bend your knees
  • Slowly, on an exhale, round your spine over your knees so that your belly rests on your thighs. Grab hold of opposite elbows and dangle. Relax your head completely. Imagine all your worries falling out of the crown of the head. Shake your head yes and no
  • Make sure your knees remain bent. This allows your lower back to stretch, bypassing your hamstrings. It may feel nice to sway back and forth a little. You’ll want to stay in this dangle for about five minutes
  • While you’re here, you’ve got time for a few clearing breaths. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale loudly through the mouth. Make these count. Do three, and exhale loudly. Let it go
  • After your five minutes, keep those knees bent and release the hands to the floor. Vertebra by vertebra, round yourself up to stand
  • Take a few moments here to regulate and notice the quiet of your mind

 

Have tight hamstrings? Practice These 5 Yoga Poses for Tight Hamstrings
 

3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

down-dog

Downward Dog is a yoga pose with a wide range of benefits. Not only does it strengthen full body, it also provides a full body stretch. Down Dog is a gentle inversion, which is great for your mental wellness and cultivating a sense of self-love.

Let’s Try It:

  • From Table Top position, tuck your toes and lift your hips, creating an upside-down “V” shape with your body
  • Spread your fingers wide and press your palms into the mat as you relax your shoulders away from your ears and send your gaze towards your shins
  • Bend your knees as much as you need to in order to press your chest gently towards your thighs and create a long spine
  • Relax your heels towards the mat but don’t worry about how far they come down – this will increase naturally over time
  • Stay here for 5 deep breaths and option to try shaking your head “yes” and “no” several times to release tension in the neck

 

Want a Down Dog alignment refresher? Watch this quick Downward Facing Dog tutorial video
 

4. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

upward-facing-dog-release-negativeenergy

Up Dog, or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, is a wonderful heart opener that helps undo the detrimental effects that our sedentary lifestyles have on our posture. It opens the chest and strengthens the arms and back.

Let’s Try It:

  • From Down Dog, shift into Plank Pose and either lower onto your stomach or get there through a Chaturanga push-up
  • On your stomach, release to the top of your feet. Plant your palms beneath your shoulders and use an inhale to straighten into your arms
  • Keep your legs engaged, so just the palms and tops of your feet are on the mat
  • If this is too challenging, take a Cobra Pose variation by only lifting your head and chest off the mat – everything below the belly button will remain on the mat
  • Stay here for 3-5 breaths and then slowly lower down. Option to rest in Child’s Pose for a few breaths

 
 

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5. Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana)

dancer-pose-history

Natarajasana, commonly referred to as Dancer’s Pose, creates a beautiful shape and builds self-confidence. It’s a heart opener so it also activates our Heart Chakra, which is responsible for our ability to love and be loved (including ourselves – bonus self-love points here!).

Practice These 7 Heart Opening Yoga Poses to Activate the Heart Chakra

Physically, Dancer Pose improves your balance and focus, strengthens the low body and provides a nice full-body stretch.

Let’s Try It:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose, and prepare for the standing balance (option to do this against a wall to help with balance)
  • Root down through all four corners of your feet and lift your kneecaps to engage your legs
  • Open your right palm to the ceiling as you shift your weight to your left foot
  • Once you feel stable, bend your right knee and grab hold of the inner arch of the foot
  • Press the top of your foot into your hand as you reach the left arm skyward, keep your chest lifted and perhaps hinge slightly forward
  • Where your eyes go your body follows, so keep your gaze lifted, your heart lifted, and continuously kick into your hand as you simultaneously reach forward with your left arm
  • If you can’t quite reach your foot yet, that’s ok! Use a yoga strap or a belt around your foot instead
  • Hold the pose for 5 breaths, and then release. Repeat on side 2

 

6. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

seated-fold

Nothing shows you love yourself like taking time to enjoy a gentle, nourishing Seated Forward Fold. This stretch is like giving yourself a big hug – enjoy it and feel the love! The self-love that is. 😉

In addition to providing a deep stretch through the back body (particularly the hamstrings), forward folds calm the nervous system, creating a soothing effect.

Let’s Try It:

  • Sit on your mat with your legs extended out in front of you
  • If you already feel like your back is rounding, place a blanket beneath your hips to gently tilt your pelvis forward
  • Inhale to stretch your arms overhead and on your exhale with a flat back, reach towards your toes with your hands, chest, and chin
  • Grab onto your thighs, shins, ankles, feet – whatever is available to you. Don’t force it – just allow the stretch to occur
  • If you’d like to incorporate a yoga strap, bring the strap around the bottom arches of your feet and gently pull your chest towards your toes maintaining a long spine
  • For the last few breaths in this pose, relax your neck, round your spine a little and allow gravity to help melt you toward your mat
  • Stay for 1-2 minutes and then slowly walk your fingers back to your hips until you’re sitting up

 

Forward folds, including Paschimottanasana here, should be done with dignity. Be proud of your fold, even if you’re a long way from having your forehead to your calves. Look at your toes and breathe.

The more you push and pull in this pose, the more your hamstrings will fight back. Instead, the key here is to relax into the posture.

Your flexibility is exactly how it’s supposed to be, based on the life you lead. Instead of creating a story of judgment about it, find gratitude for all your body allows you to do throughout the day.

In other words – love yourself and accept yourself just as you are! This is a key tenant of our yoga practice.

 

7. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Happy Baby Pose is a fun pose that feels great but can also make you smile. As you enjoy this pose, honor the baby you once were and find gratitude for all that you’ve experienced since that time. Focusing on all that we have to be grateful for is an act of self-love.

Happy Baby is a yummy hip opener, helps realign the spinal column, and also helps calm the mind. It’s a great yoga pose to show yourself some love.

Let’s Try It:

  • Starting on your back, hug your knees into your chest
  • Grab onto your kneecaps and guide your knees out toward your armpits
  • Grab onto the inner or outer blades of your feet with soles of your feet toward the sky
  • Let your head and shoulders rest on the ground
  • You can experiment rocking side to side to massage the pressure points around the spine, or stretch one leg out long and then the other
  • Take the edges of your mouth and turn them upward – it is “happy” baby after all!
  • Relax in this pose for at least 5 breaths, then slowly hug your knees back into your chest to exit

 

8. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

legs-up-the-wall-scoliosis

We will begin with one of the most relaxing and gentle poses in yoga: Legs Up the Wall.

This restorative and deeply relaxing yoga pose offers many benefits. Legs Up the Wall relieves lower back tension, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to relieve stress, improves circulation in the legs and opens your chest.

You have two options for how to practice this yoga pose. Option 1 is great if you have ample space. Option 2 is ideal if you’re in a tighter space and can’t use a wall.

Let’s Try It:

  • Option 1: If you have an empty wall, place a bolster or a few stacked pillows at the base
  • Sit with your left hip directly next to the bolster, and then lift your glutes onto the bolster, flipping your legs upward and coming on to your back
  • Shimmy your hips as close to the wall as possible
  • Once you’ve gotten your legs up high, bring your left hand to your heart and your right hand to your stomach
  • Place an eye pillow over your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Stay in this position for at least five minutes
  • Exit the pose with the same slow and mindful movements you used to get into it. Option to take a few breaths in Child’s Pose as a transition.

 
 
Let’s Try It:

  • Option 2: If you’re not using the wall, use your yoga block or a stack of books. Place the block under your tailbone, as if you were coming into a supported Bridge Pose
  • Float your legs up to the ceiling. If you keep your ankles and knees stacked over your hips, it will require minimal effort to keep your legs extended skyward
  • Once you’ve gotten your legs up high, bring your left hand to your heart and your right hand to your stomach
  • Place an eye pillow over your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Stay in this position for at least five minutes
  • Exit the pose with the same slow and mindful movements you used to get into it. Option to take a few breaths in Child’s Pose as a transition.

 

9. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

corpse-pose

Savasana is our final resting pose. Also known as Corpse Pose, Savasana helps us integrate the benefits from our practice into mind and body. That’s why it’s one of the most important poses in our practice, and one that should not be skipped!

Savasana also calms the nervous system, cultivates mind/body relaxation, and can also help relieve stress and anxiety.

Let’s Try It:

  • Lying on your back, extend your legs long and spread your feet towards the edges of your mat
  • Bring your arms along your side with palms facing up, shoulders pulled down away from your ears
  • Close your eyes, relax your jaw, unfurrow your brow and fully settle into this final resting pose, giving yourself the gift of time
  • Feel what it’s like to have no tension in your body. Stay here as long as you can but for at least a few minutes
  • When you’re ready to come out, hug your knees into your chest, bring your right arm overhead and roll onto your right side. Remain here in Fetal Pose for a few breaths, and then slowly press yourself up to seated

 
 

Show Yourself Some Love and Revisit This Self-Love Yoga Sequence Any Time You Need!

Remind yourself that you always have the ability to release stress. This ability is the reward of your self-love practice, and it’s worth doing time and time again.

Love yourself, get on your yoga mat, and take time to move your body, tap into your breath, and shower yourself in self-love. You deserve it, and you’ll be better for it.

For a limited time, beYogi is offering $30 off your yoga insurance annual premium for YogiApproved readers, dropping the annual cost to $149.

Click here for more information.

Namaste!

This article has been read 2K+ times. Feelin’ the love!

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