Yoga instructor Michaela Aue explains how to make time for yourself with a simple but effective yoga flow
I recently went on a trip to Italy. My best friend’s grandparents were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and what would be a better excuse for some true Italian dolce vita than this?!
I’ve known his family for a while and even though we don’t speak the same language and never actually understand a word of what the other is saying, I dearly love them. So, I guess you can imagine the whirlwind feelings of this trip. In short, we ate numerous times everyday with numerous family members, friends and neighbors at the table. Everyone was talking fast, loud and all at once. If we weren’t eating there was some other activity going on: city trips to Lucca, Florence, Pisa, Sienna; going for long hikes through the Tuscan mountains, aperitivo before dinner and lots of gelato – what can I say, when in Rome… So much fun and so much love, people hugging you, telling you how beautiful you are, how special, how much they love you. So not German and so good! The first few days came and went by in a blur. But by day four it happened: this innate feeling that you can’t take it anymore.
I got so stressed trying to find a parking spot in these tiny little streets of Florence, I even started yelling (eyes wide open emoji face). I slept by the pool for over an hour not willing to move and feeling exhausted, not just in my body but also in my mind. The list could go on and on but you are smart enough to get where this is going.
There is nothing I love more than doing things with and for other people. The simple reward of a smile on someone’s face is priceless. However, how often do you smile to yourself, how often do you do something nice just for you, to make you feel better? How many times do you take care of yourself first and then do something for others? I know the answer: not often enough! Trust me, I am not saying I am better at it; I am here to remind us all how important it is to take care of ourselves. Of course your first thought might be that this is super selfish. Actually, it’s not! You can immediately banish this thought from your mind, if not sooner. It’s called ‚self-care‘ and it is not about being selfish, it is about setting priorities.
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And here comes the next reminder: it’s your life and if you want to function in it, to do your job, to do right by your family, your friends, husband, children and everything in-between, you have no choice but to place yourself before everything else. In case you’re not sure what this means, I’ll give a super simple example: I make myself a priority every morning when I get up. I sit and I mediate for 10 to 20 minutes, make myself a hot lemon and some coffee and prepare food for the day. Usually it takes me no more than 30 minutes to do all of that, 30 minutes just for me, no one interferes – not even my boyfriend who’d rather cuddle with me. It’s that simple! And there are other moments when I need more than that, so I carve out some time to go to the sauna, no talking and just me-time. To me going to the gym is also part of self-care, but I understand if you think working out is a torture rather than self-care time. At other times, it can be as little as taking three conscious breaths. What I want to say is you don’t always need to book the 10-day-vacation or the two-hour full-body massage. Prepare yourself a nice meal to nurture the body and mind or do this super simple and slow yoga routine I have created for you, for me and for these special moments when we realize that it’s time to be with just ourselves.
Take your time while practicing this flow. Feel every breath with every movement. We will flow through some Cat-Cows to warm up the spine. A slow Sun Salutation, including a deep shoulder stretch. We will keep our hands interlaced a lot in forward folds, triangle or Warrior One to open the chest more. At the end you can get into your heart space with full Camel pose, and stretch it out in a reclined twist, before taking all the time you need in your deep relaxation.
Take care of yourself! And let me know how it goes!
Michaela has been practicing Yoga ever since she was a teenager. Having practiced many different styles with many different teachers all over the world, it was not one moment in particular but the cumulation of so many moments and that feeling of being able to create space through movement, that made her decide to become a yoga teacher herself. She started teaching in 2014 and is still an avid student motivated by the deep release and feeling of expansion body and mind receive through yoga and movement. When she is not teaching Yoga, Michaela works as a PR & Communications consultant.