Mary Kavanagh: Schedule time in your week that is just for you

    No matter how busy your life is, it's important to make time for yourself writes Mary Kavanagh in this week's column

    If you’ve been with me in yoga class you will often hear me tell you to be a little sweeter with yourself. Listen to your body and move how it wants you to move – whether you’re brimming over with energy or whether you come to the mat feeling a little stiff or tired.

    This can be said for off the mat, as well as on it – be a little sweeter with yourself. The season of love is upon us and everywhere there are reminders to celebrate love. Whether you have romantic love in your life or not, this is a really nice time to celebrate you! What can you do today to bring a little more love and sweetness into your life? How can you treat yourself?

    Here are a few ideas for you to get you started. The first thing I would recommend is to take a few minutes for yourself. Find yourself a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed by humans, pets or phones. (You don’t have the time you say! But if you have time to read this and scroll the wonderous web, you have time for you).

    Take a comfortable seat with your spine tall and your shoulders soft and relaxed. Close your eyes, turn your attention inwards, and focus on your breathing. Notice each inhale rising and exhale falling. Feel the movement and space it creates in your body. Feel your tummy and chest expand and gently contract as the breath moves in and out.

    Each time you notice your awareness drifting away from your breath, bring it back. Remember this is a practice and nourishment for you! Take a moment to check in with yourself, and to just be. This simple exercise can be really effective to slow your body down and bring your mind to the present moment. Take five or ten minutes here, as long as you need. And if you’re worried about time, set a timer for yourself.

    Another way to bring sweetness to your world is to listen to how you talk to yourself. Are you being too hard on yourself? Often we can see the beauty and light in others but it can be harder to shine a light on ourselves. A good guide is would you say those words to your best friend? If not, look at how you can change the conversation with yourself, and sprinkle a little kindness in there.

    Take yourself out into nature, maybe explore the Slieve Blooms for some mountain air, take yourself to Emo Court or to any of the beautiful woods we are so lucky to live near. Go hug a tree! Even get out into your garden for a few minutes and soak up the spring air.

    Schedule time in your week that is just for you. Whatever makes your heart sing – do it! What do you get excited about doing? Maybe you love to get crafty, maybe you love to be active, maybe you love to curl up by the fire with a good book and hot tea. Whatever it is, make the time for it. And be sure to disconnect yourself from the outside world, even if only for a few hours.

    When you are sweet with yourself you’ll be sweeter with others. Take the time each day, each week to fill your own cup up. Fill it up so it overflows and your sweetness flows out into the world around you. Let me know how you get on with spreading all that love and sweetness, I would love to hear from you.



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    Kilbricken native Mary Kavanagh is a yoga instructor who loves to get upside down! Mary believes in a holistic approach to physical health and mental and spiritual wellness through the practice of yoga, meditation and breathwork. She is passionate about empowering people in their own bodies, and finding joy through the simple things in life. Mary leads weekly classes throughout the county, as well as hosting regular retreats and workshops, and working one on one theraputically with clients. She received her 200 hour Hatha Yoga teaching qualification with Roy Griffin at YTTC in Dublin. In 2016 Mary completed a further 200 hours of Yoga Theraputics training with internationally renowned teachers Ashleigh Sergeant and Meg McCracken, through the Avahana School of Yoga.