Love yourself like nobody’s watching 

In every self development course for beginners we learn at a point that we first must love ourselves before we can love others or be loved.

How to develop self-love if you’re not born with? If you doubt your abilities?

My approach goes through the body, and yoga can help to develop self-love.

Is Self-love a natural ability?

Self-love wasn’t taught to me when I was little. I rather was handed over values of working, honesty, suiting others. By the way, isn’t putting self-esteem over esteeming others kind of arrogant? That’s the path I followed over decades.

Somehow you love yourself, for all you’ve got achieved so far, for your skills, for all you’re giving to your surroundings. And there is the dark side when you start comparing to others, who seem to be far happier, when you get reminded about your cowardice in situations you should show strength, when you think you’re just a pawn and have no or little impact on a pre-defined destiny.

How to tip the scales in favour of self-love?

Disgust or Love?

It’s very easy sliding to self-denigration or even self-disgust, by giving in to temptations, habits, lethargy. Particularly after an emotional shake-up. I went through it, it lasted over several years, I could have drowned if there hadn’t been friends around me.

The way to self-love is a bit less evident. It is not a conscious decision but the result of small steps you’re taking on the way to lasting happiness.

All photos in this article are taken in and around Artis Tirma on Fuerteventura, Spain

Developing Self-love is slow food

The day came when I realized I had to change my life. I tried out several kinds of meditation, worked on my values and limiting beliefs, got rid of mental and social ballast. I pampered myself with beauty services and products, it helped, sure, but I felt it wasn’t enough on the long run.

That’s the point where I took a personal trainer in a gym, worked hard over a few months, found new energy and at least my body approached a shape I started to like. Again, I was doing better but didn’t feel like going to the gym on the long run, it was far too related with effort and torture.

After having tried various classes in my gym, yoga came to me. On that evening nothing else was on the menu, so I went to a yoga class. And stuck with it on the long run.

Develop Self-love with Yoga

I subscribed to Ashtanga yoga, always rushing to the back row of the class. I tried not to be seen, hidden behind the tall Russian girls, with perfect body, outfit and postures. Another planet orbiting close to me, thought I would always stick to my basic planet, after all I was 50 on that time and had surely at least 15 kilos more than the heaviest of them. But after 3 months of regular practice I made the headstand (against the wall) and what an exhilarating feeling when you come back from inversion poses!

Today I’m teaching yoga. I would rather call it guiding on the way to awareness of your body, its strengths, weaknesses and possibilities. Taking the attention to one part of your body and cheering it. Hugging, stroking, massaging, stretching, strengthening.

I like sometimes starting the Yoga for your Back class with a foot massage. Sliding the thumbs over the soles, feeling pain points and circling there, pulling out toes, wringing it and feeling the dozens of small bones that make the foot. Taking love to every part of the body.

During the practice, we guide the awareness to our core muscles, engage them to rise energy, finding stability and strength for the pose. All of a sudden you discover yourself receiving new wings, lifting your heart and feeling happy in the pose.

Of course, you’re not practising yoga for the “show” and to be proud. The original goal of practice is finding stability and calm for meditation.

But, ladies and guys, lets be honest: it’s such an elevating feeling holding the warrior that you can’t help but love yourself!

When to start?

At the first place you need a certain dose of self-love and courage for taking action and subscribing to a yoga course.

As said, I never did it, discovered yoga by accident. Therefore, I want to let you know: you can start with yoga at any point of your life journey, if you truly have the wish to find strength, flexibility and balance.

Once you’re comfortable with your teacher and  your own practice, you’ll find well-being in the poses, you will love practise and yourself.