When I used to do regular yoga practice, my teacher always used to start off our 90 minute session by telling us that the next 90 minutes were just for us. It was a time for us to relax, connect with our bodies, and shut out the rest of the world as well as shut off our mind. That giant list of never ending to-dos rollin around our brains like ball of garbage in a game of Katamari growing bigger and bigger? For the next hour and a half it was time to put it aside and just be present.
I do believe that shutting off all of the noise inside our brains for a bit of time to just be present and be with ourselves is actually integral to remaining productive once we turn the noise back on. It is also completely necessary in order to stay sane and prevent burn out. For me both yoga and getting a massage are the two things I have found in life that actually allow me to to reach this state of relaxation without being interrupted by our own endless thoughts and worries.
Not only do these practices calm our mind and reduce stress, they also alleviate the physical manifestations of our stress, which often take the form of tired shoulders, stiff necks, and bad posture.
I am a firm believer that we need to check in with ourselves on a regular basis and thank our body for taking care of us by taking care of it. Regular yoga practice and a massage every month or every other month can go a long way.
I visited The Cowshed Spa at The Soho House in Berlin after being completely weighed down by my thoughts and problems both mentally and physically and after my session, I was feeling relaxed and ready to tackle my problems. I didn’t actively think about anything for those 90 minutes, but just let my body sink into a state of complete relaxation. In doing so, I was able to step away from all of the things that had been stressing me out, re-charge my batteries, and come back with a fresh perspective.
Now I know that not everyone can afford to do do these things. I am the first to point out that it is a luxury. Now I do not want to present any illusions that I am going to the spa every week, let alone once a month – I go to the spa once very few months – but I know that even this is something to be grateful for.
I know that spa visits can be pricey, but if you were to forgo buying that new makeup palette and skip a few nights out with the girls, you would be surprised to find that the money is likely there for a massage at the end of the month.
For those of you that do have a certain amount of disposable income, it is possible to work these visits into your schedule without breaking the bank, with just a bit of planning. While some like go to out drinking every weekend, running up insane bar tabs every Friday night that far exceed a single massage a month, I much prefer to spend mine on experience – be it food, travel, or occasional visits to the Spa. Now, it does help that I get drunk after literally one drink, so I tend to save money on nights out regardless, but I’m pretty sure you’re pickin up what I’m puttin down.
For those of you who cannot afford a regular visit, even treating yourself to a pedicure can be a great way to give thanks to your body and thank it for all it does for you. And if that is even a bit of a stretch, Get your girlfriends together for a monthly at-home spa day. Try to also incorporate yoga practice into your daily life. All you need is a matt and some comfortable clothes. For you beginners, I would suggest you take a few sessions with a teacher to learn the correct postures, but after that you can safely practice in the comfort of your home without spending a dime.
I still think that it’s a damned shame that trips to the spa are often seen as frivolous and unnecessary. But I beg to differ. Both yoga practice and regular massages are something positive for mental and physical health. We only get one body and one mind, so in addition to feeding our bodies healthy and nutritious things, it is up to us to let our bodies rest and recharge as well. Which is why I’ve written this post. I just want to remind you all to check in with yourself on a regular basis and to let you know that it is okay to pamper yourself every once in a while. In fact, you would be wrong not to.
What is your opinion on spas and yoga? Do you agree with the connection and what they both can do for your body? How do you feel about treating yourself every once in a while? Let me know in the comments below.
Photography: Rae Tashman