How to start a Personal Self Care Practice

I’ve been practicing + teaching Yoga for over a decade now and it continues to amaze me how much I continue to learn about myself. I contribute this process of awakening to my personal spiritual practice.

I was inspired one day to write about this after driving home from a photo shoot with one of my favorite photographers, Elena Ray ( who shot the image of me). After shooting with her that day I felt so alive. I consider myself a creative person, and having the creative freedom to fully express myself and to be seen in this way was really nourishing. It was as if a part of my practice came through during the shoot and it was really beautiful to witness.

My spiritual practice is a daily practice. It encompasses a range of healing-spiritual-esoteric modalities I’ve been exploring and slowly integrating into my life. It started in my teens with activism, to Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation, Mindfulness, and Non Violent Communication practices. They’re all things that help expand my awareness and deepen my connection with self and others. I say it over and over again, but the relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship we’ll have in our lives. It sets the foundation for all the other relationships we have in our life.

So where do we start? I believe that self care is the path to self love and self realization. When we take care of ourselves, we show ourselves that we love and care for ourself. And most importantly, when we light up, we light up the world and those we touch.

I’d love to share some simple tips with you on ways you can continue to or start to build your own personal practice and connection to self.

Set the Intention to Start Feeling Better: An intention is like a seed that is planted into our consciousness + psyche. It’s bigger than just a wish, it’s something that is already in motion. Once the intention is set, we must water those seeds and take action steps to bringing that intention into fruition.

Notice your Breath: Our breath is telling of our mental, emotional, and physical state. You may notice your breath is more shallow when you are angry, fearful, or stressed. We can immediately calm ourselves down and shift whatever state we are in by slowing and deepening our breath. Yogi’s master the breath to master the self. It’s such a simple practice, but transformative on many levels. If you’re not already doing it, take time in the morning or evening to check in with your breath and notice your state of being. If you aren’t breathing or feel anxious, try purposefully slowing it down and find your inner calm.

Meditate & Elevate: In my years of exploring various healing modalities, it all boils down to meditation, mindfulness, and stillness. Most people including myself have a hard time quieting the mind. Meditation seems to accentuate the noise in the head, but taking just 5 minutes to be completely still is such a powerful medicine. Even if the mind is going the whole time, just observe and BE with it. The best time is in the morning when the mind is still waking up and there aren’t distractions yet to pull the mind into stories and thought patterns.

Move your body: Energy easily stagnates and we are naturally creative beings. Energy is moving through us all the time. When our energy/emotions are stifled, it can make us sick and cloud our perception and judgement. Find some form of movement therapy that brings you joy and a sense of freedom to unlock your creative potential.

The conditioned grooves from our family, culture, and society created in the brain from early childhood remain with us for a long time. It may take a lifetime to work through, and for some many more, depending on your karma…But I also believe in free will and we have the power to create the life we want to live.

Being connected to ourselves mean being connected to something greater. We can then trust the process of life and where we are, instead of trying to control it. Something starts to align, our spirit with our destiny and things get a little more clear…there’s less confusion and insecurity about certain things in life for example if the path we are on is the right way. There’s a deeper understanding that every way is the right way…

I invite you to explore the idea of cultivating your own personal practice. It can be truly rewarding!

Until soon!


Jenny Ahn
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