What do you do to “plug in” when you need a recharge? Are you feeling vibrant and energized this spring, or are you in need of more self-care? This Tuesday, I taught a whole day of Restorative yoga classes, and just about everyone said after class that slowing down and taking time to rest and relax was exactly what they needed.

There was a research study at Danbury Hospital in CT, which showed that  people neglect their self-care because they feel unworthy of self-love. Surprisingly, it was doctors and nurses who were the least likely to take care of themselves! It’s possible that their identities are so caught up in caring for others, that they have a bigger dose of anava mala (the feeling of unworthiness that covers the heart) than most people. But we ALL experience unworthiness from time to time, it’s a natural part of being human.

Remember, the philosophy of Tantra says that the Absolute (aka Universal Energy, Spirit, God) purposely conceals parts of itself so that it can have the delight of revealing itself. This is the purpose of the malas, the dust that covers our hearts, which in excess can lead to feelings of unworthiness, separateness, and overwhelm. In our busy and often hectic lives, we can accumulate a LOT of dust! Our practices of yoga asana, pranayama, chanting, meditation, etc. are the deep cleaning that we do to remove the dust. (But just like real dust, the malas keep coming back again and again.) Another way we can remove the dust is to practice self-care. Do the things that make you happy- the little things that cultivate self-love.

Some examples of things I do to recharge- play my guitar just for fun, sit in the hot tub or a hot bath, buy myself some flowers, prepare a nourishing meal for myself, book a massage, chant, go for a walk in nature. All of these things are deeply restorative to me, and help me tap into my true nature, which is quiet, peaceful, relaxed, and full of joy. They help me remember that I am just as worthy to receive loving care as much as anyone else who I care for. And they also remind me that I don’t really need anyone outside of myself to feel loved and nourished, I can get those feelings from within the endless source of my heart.

It’s like being on an airplane and putting on your own oxygen mask first before you help the others around you. Will you make a commitment to yourself to plug in?