Spiritual Self-Care

Caring for ourselves is important if we want to feel happy and healthy. And when we feel good, it is much easier to think of others and provide support, love and compassionate-kindness.

The difference between regular self-care and SPIRITUAL self-care is our INTENTION.

Our intention to look after ourselves is not just for our individual self. Here we are caring for ourselves in a way that increases our ability to connect deeply within our community and environment. So our motivation of self-care may be something along these lines:

“My spiritual self-care allows me to be of the most benefit to myself, to others and the environment.”

Wow! Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful way to self-care! Now everyone is benefiting from our pleasant feelings of body and mind.

Ways to Spiritual Self-Care

Movement

Practice Yoga

Your yoga practice is key to keeping the body subtle, strong and energetic. It helps to ensure that your core muscles remain strong and supportive of your spine, increases your immune defence and calms the nervous system. So many wonderful aspects!

If you are unsure how to commence on your own, or simply like having the guidance of a teacher, you may wish to sign up for Phoenix On Demand classes – a library of yoga, meditation, and breath work for varying levels.

Why Practice Yoga?  Yoga Online - Read More

Mindful Walking

Mindful walking can be a wonderful way to take a short break and reconnect with your body – especially if you have been sitting and working.

Play the video below and take a Mindful Walk.

Play Video

Listen 4min 27secs

Be In Nature

Get outside! Place your feet on the earth, feel the grass, breath the air, listen to the wind in the trees, the call of the birds.

When you take a moment in nature, really take that that moment:

•  Close your eyes and allow the other senses to connect with your surroundings.
• Take a few deep breaths, allowing your body to soften and your mind to slow down.
• Enjoy the feeling of the sunshine, the air on your skin.

Whatever kind of outside time you enjoy, take the time to connect into that space at least once a week.

Creative

Journal

For some of us, writing things down can be very therapeutic. Creative journal writing can be as simple or complex as you would like – but the main emphasis is on ‘creative.’ You are trying to allow the creative, feeling side of the brain to reveal itself, as opposed to an analytical approach. When we are being creative, we attempt to remove judgement and simply be with whatever comes up. The following are a few ideas to get you start on your creative journal, you may use colours and drawings:

•  Morning pages – simply write down your first thoughts when you wake up, or a positive motivation/word for the day.

•  Evening pages – before you go to sleep write down things you are grateful for.

•  Write down a favourite quote each day

•  Scrap booking / collage – using colourful magazines. You may decide to make pages of one particular colour, theme or motivational idea.

•  Draw a simple pattern covering an entire page – this is a meditative exercise.

•  Press flowers and leaves in your journal.

•  Random scribbles for 10 minutes – just let go and let it flow!

•  Write a letter of love to three people – someone you like, someone whom you have difficulty with, and to a complete stranger.

•  Write a poem – it doesn’t need to rhyme.

•  Sit with your eyes closed for a moment. Then write or draw the things your hear, smell, taste and touch.

•  Write or draw the things you are good at.

Mandalas & Colouring

Spending a little time in colour can be calming and rather joyful. Colouring has been shown to reduce stress, improve focus and gain a better nights sleep.

You don’t need to be an artist to colour a mandala. Click the button below to download a range of mandalas ready for colouring – all you need is your pencils, chalks or crayons and an open mind.

See Mandalas

Ritual

Cleaning Your Space

A very important part of our practice is to ensure we have a clean space to practice in. A clean, tidy space helps assist the mind in being clear and calm.

Every morning before practice in the Monastery in Nepal, Sanjay’s teachers would advice to make the bed, sweep the floor and ensure the general tidiness of the room. This cleaning of the room would be a method to clear the mind and be alert for the morning meditation session.

You can take the cleaning a little further and empty out those drawers you’ve been meaning to get to for a long time, or getting rid of all the old clothes you don’t wear anymore.

The practice of cleaning your space – be mindful of the process and enjoy the present moment. Be aware of how the five senses are reacting to the activity.

Chanting & Mantra

Chanting and mantra assist the mind to stay in one place. They also carry important meaning and direct our attention towards something important.

Some nice easy chanting to get started include the following list which Sanjay uses regularly. The link is to Spotify. If you don’t have Spotify you can search for Deva Premal on Youtube and you will find a number of wonderful chants from both Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

Spotify Playlist

Prayer & Offerings

Prayer is a wonderful way to align the mind in a positive attitude. It is not necessarily a religious activity, but more of a deep wishing for something greater than yourself, a type of offering.

The button below will take you to some more information about prayers and two particularly beautiful prayers used in the Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist Tradition.

Go To Prayers

Offerings are a wonderful way to remember others. Something as simple as lighting a stick of incense, and as the smoke drifts away, image your intentions of happiness travel off to them.

If you are particularly close to a deity you can think about the qualities that deity represents and ask for those qualities to be sent to other beings.

Stillness

Meditation

We all know the benefits of quieting the mind and tuning inwards.

Simple Meditation Practice

• Sit down in a quiet place.

• Follow the uncontrolled movement of your breath. Simply observe the breath as it moves in and out of the body, the sensations you feel, the pace of the movement.

• Do this for as long as you can – even 2 minutes is ok. It’s ok if you drift off every now and then, just bring your awareness back to your breath and continue to sit quietly.

 

If you would like to begin a meditation practice there are a few options available on this website to get you started:

Free 5 Day Meditation Challenge  Meditation Level 1 Do At Home  On Demand Meditations

Unplug From Technology

When you unplug from technology, you lock away all of your devices and forget about them. Unplugging from technology doesn’t just mean turning off your smartphone, it also means turning off the television, powering down your computer and shutting down any other electronic device. It’s all about enjoying and appreciating the world around you.

Unplugging from technology may be a component of another activity on this page. So rather than going for a walk with your phone, leave your phone at home. Instead of colouring a mandala with music playing in the background, sit outside and colour with the sounds of nature.

Turning off devices helps rest the eyes and allows for a natural connection to your surroundings.

Enjoy some time ‘switched off’ today.

Silence

When a pond is agitated by the winds, the water becomes murky. When the mind is agitated and overstimulated it also becomes murky and unclear.

Silence is an important part of giving your heart and mind rest and rejuvenation. It allows you to let go of changing the environment around you and be with your own thoughts, providing an opportunity for the mind to declutter and become clearer. Silence can help with the following:

• Helps you concentrate

• Improves creativity

• Higher state of awareness

• Provides a sense of calm

• Promotes patience

Take some time in silence. If complete silence is too much to start with you may need a natural sounding hum in the background. You can do this with the app Rain Rain, or any other natural sounds track you have.

Rain Rain Apple  Rain Rain GooglePlay

Benefits of Silence – Ajahn Brahm (Buddhist Society of Western Australia)

Play Video

Watch 4min 50secs

The Gift Of Silence – Ted Talk

Play Video

Watch 16min 38secs

Learning How To Embrace Silence – Ted Talk

Play Video

Watch 12min 26secs

Yoga Nidra

Yoga nidra combines a body scan with breath awareness, and adds a visual and sense component. It’s often called yogic sleep, because it induces states of mind that are between being asleep and being awake, resulting in deep relaxation and rejuvenation.

Phoenix On Demand has 4 yoga nidra sessions.

Yoga Nidra On Demand

Relaxing music – ‘Seretonin Release’

You can listen to this track whilst lying down on the floor, or somewhere comfortable. If you wish, put an alarm on your phone for 5, 10 or 20 minutes and simply enjoy the peaceful sounds.

During your time listening to this music, perform a body scan, starting from your toes and slowly working up towards the crown of your head, becoming aware of your whole body. Here is a script you can work through:

• Toes, soles of the feet, tops of the feet, ankles

• Calves, shins, knees

• Back of thighs, front of thighs, buttocks

• Hips, lower back, middle back, upper back

• Rib cage, centre chest

• Shoulders, upper arms, elbows, lower arms, wrists, fingers

• Neck, back of head, top of head, face

• Whole body

Play Video

Listen 1hr 30min (music only)

Yoga Nidra – Relax (Guided)

Play Video

Listen 10min

Yoga Nidra – Dynamic Sleep (Guided)

Play Video

Listen 21min

Yoga Nidra – Body Scan (Guided)

Play Video

Listen 20min

Generative

Read Inspiring Material

Reading a wonderful book is like giving your mind a really healthy smoothie!

Phoenix runs a quarterly book club bringing more clarity to our everyday lives, and enhancing our ability to be compassionate towards ourselves and others. You can join in with the current book, or take a look at past readings and material associated with each.

See A Range Of Books

Self-Compassion Break

Repeat the following, then sit with your eyes closed for a few moments:

May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I be safe; may I be strong.
May I accept myself, just as I am in this moment.
May I give myself any compassion I need.

Analytical Meditation

Rather than attempting to turn you thoughts off, searching for an inner ‘nothingness’, analytical meditation uses your mind’s natural tendency to think. However, instead of allowing the mind to wander off in an uncontrolled way, we simply take a positive topic and think about it. Topics we can think about are:

• Turning anger into patience

• Letting go of distractions

• Loving kindness

• Looking after the environment

• How do my actions help others?

• When I’m stressed, how does my mind react?

• Gratitude

When you choose a topic it can either be to promote pleasant feelings, or if you are ready for a little more challenge, choose a topic that you know will strike a chord with your mind – eg. the way I communicate with my parents/partner/siblings.

Sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes and contemplate your topic for 5 or more minutes.

Phoenix On Demand has 25 guided meditation topics which may be access here:

Phoenix On Demand