Tara Jackson; a yogi, writer and unicorn, living in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 

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What does self-care mean to you? Awareness; being aware of your body and your mind, knowing when you are about to hit thatpoint of exhaustion and deciding to rest instead of pushing through that exhaustion. Being aware of where you replenish from. Now everyone is all about self-care, but before it wasn’t talked about much. As a yoga teacher when I went through my training I was indirectly given self-care tips, and I realized self-care could be small like putting my phone down. It doesn’t always revolve around travel or doing something extravagant, those things can even be stressful for some people.

How did you get into self-care? I got into self-care through my yoga training, and I learned that you don’t have to do the most intense yoga, like hot yoga classes to do self-care. You could just lay with a big body pillow under a blanket and that is self-care. Some people really like the intense classes and feel refreshed after but it’s not for me, I prefer the more relaxed approach. 

What are challenges in maintaining self-care? Adding that time to your day, as simple as it is. I might decide that I’m gonna take 5 minutes to myself, and then oh wait my phone is buzzing, let me look at that, and then the five minutes doesn’t even count anymore because I’ve interrupted myself 5 times. So carving out that time and not worrying about everyone else is essential. Standing in your own way, is another challenge, like self-sabotage, thinking that your life is too busy for self-care. Sometimes a student will say, “I can’t be still” and I’m like, “I didn’t ask you to be still, I just asked you to breathe.” This theory of “I can’t” really gets in people’s way. People give up before they even try sometimes. There is always at least one person that comes and tells me they can’t do something, like a guy said his arms were too big for a pose and I was like that’s not a real thing, just try it. 

How do you share self-care with others? Every other class I teach I open up with a restorative pose which includes many moments of reflection and I give people space to do what their body needs, rather than being directive. I try to get people to listen to their bodies because if you don’t understand what you need to chill for a second, you will always be trying to fill that void by always being on the go.