It is much easier to show compassion towards other people than to yourself. But something I am re-learning is that if you don’t make yourself a priority, you will have nothing left to give. This has been the theme of my yoga classes for the last couple of weeks and I have been delighted by my students’ dedication and progress. But a couple of days ago, I realised I felt exhausted, with a pain in my shoulder that always pops up when I’m not taking care of myself. As Chris often points out, a classic case of “Do as I say, not as I do”.

I know this shizzle. I am forever telling people to put on their own oxygen mask first before helping others. But it took our lovely German workaway, Ronja, to give me the nudge I needed. I came home after a busy day teaching and rubbed my shoulder, grimacing. She gently asked if I would like a neck massage. I said yes but was a little embarrassed as I’m usually the one giving the massage! I sat on the floor in front of her and she spent a long time massaging and stroking my neck and shoulder. Ronja is only 22 but she is a wise, wise soul. Not a trained masseuse, but her intention was tangible and boy, oh boy, did it work.

I woke up the next morning full of energy and, for the first time in far too long, did a yoga practice just for me. Not practicing my class plan and thinking about my students’ needs, just for me. When I got to class that morning, my students said I looked radiant. And I felt it. Everything was easier – teaching, giving, receiving. At the end of the session, I gave them a challenge – to show themselves compassion every day for a whole week. Maybe by getting a massage, or massaging their own neck, making time for a bath or to listen to their favourite music, or simply by taking three deep breaths. Like everything, this gets easier with practice. And if you do it often enough, it will become a new habit. Now that is one habit worth having. Let’s do it.

Filed under: Happy Coulson

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