Every Sunday night I have this routine, well it is more like a ritual. Four to five hours before I need to go to bed, I clean the bathroom, make a pot of tea, mix up a facial mask, set up my neti pot, and draw a hot mineral bubble bath. I put on my most relaxing and thought provoking Pandora radio station, soak, and let go of the week. Essentially once a week I set up my own at home spa, complete with essential oils, incense, relaxing music, and a magazine.
When I was younger bath time was my favorite. I loved to pretend that I was a mermaid princess, or that I was Areal’s best friend giving her dating advise. The house my parents owned had a lake in the back yard, so I grew up with a deep respect and connection to water. As I grew older the love of this deep connection grew, and bath time turned into a deep inward meditation and a meditation taking a turn for spiritual reflection. Eventually, sadly, I stopped having my weekly ritual, and by the time I was in collage I had forgotten all about bath time.
There came a point in my yoga practice where I began to read into Tantra, and created a deep self practice which included the idea of taking yourself out on a date once a week. The concept resonated with me so deeply when I first read about it, I decided to give it a try. One night I cooked myself all my favorite foods, light some candles, sat quietly and ate dinner. Afterwards I drew the first bath I have had in years, and just soaked.
It was in those moments I realized just why this ritual had always been so important to me from the start. It was symbolic. It was the act of taking care of myself physically that allowed me to better understand the needs of myself emotionally and spiritually. I realized that I could not love anyone before I learned to love myself; and part of loving myself was being real with myself. Understanding who I was from a base level and being content with exactly what role I was to play.
My spa nights have evolved drastically from the realization I had three years ago about its importance, still I always walk away with the same feelings. I leave with a warmth towards myself that seems to expand out to the entire world. I respect myself as a woman, and am refreshed with a positive female energy that seems to drain out of my person every week. I leave with a feeling that the week has ended and a new one is going to begin and I have the power to make it the best yet.
We live in strange times. We have a culture that will say one thing and do another. A culture that will stress the importance of self love, self worth, and being one’s self. Still we patronize the people who take this advise to heart. Someone who loves themselves is narcissistic and ‘full of themselves’, that has self worth is demanding and high maintenance, and some one who is truly themselves is often times seen as an outsider and ostracized. We leave mixed messages with stereotypes and expectations of who people should be based on what they do for a living.
We have failed to cultivate a nourishing culture of self love and respect. From slut-shaming to classification, the negative emotions of our culture over run many of the positive messages that are sent out, and often times they are twisted to further some agenda. Gandhi said it best when he told us “be the change you wish to see in the world”.
As a yoga community it is our duty and responsibility to stand up and cultivate such a nourishing culture that puts forward the idea of self-love, yet it is a hard sell when we do not follow the advise ourselves.
Practice in love and peace ❤