Nurture yourself

Written by Amy Notley

If you’d like to nurture yourself a little more in 2023 there are a host of benefits from as little as five minutes of daily self-massage.

This ritual can become a healthy tool in decreasing tension and stress, leaving your body and mind feeling rejuvenated and relaxed.

As a yoga teacher, where a focus of mine has always been one of self-love, I adore bringing self-massage into our practice.

Here are four simple self-massages you can do at home or some during your lunch-break at work.
We will start our ritual with a commonly known yoga pose – cat-cow. It helps to strengthen and stretch the spine and neck, while massaging and stimulating organs like the kidneys and adrenal glands.

Starting on all fours, legs and arms hip distance apart, inhale deeply while curving your lower back and lifting the head up to gaze forward. Exhale deeply and draw navel to spine as you arch your back and bring your head and pelvis down like a cat stretching (continue for a few rounds of breath).

Start by sitting with soles of the feet together. Using your thumbs, apply pressure to the big toes while squeezing the fingers and hands to massage the tops of the feet simultaneously. Work your way down the arch of the foot through to the heels and then back up to the toes (repeat a few times). Open the foot like a book to massage the entire soles.

It’s as simple as continuing this desired pressure and movement to massage up the legs to the calf muscles. When you arrive at the calves, spend some time here working out any tightness in this muscle.

Come to all fours or lie on your belly and bring your elbows to connect with the mat and the head into the hands. With the palms wide and fingers connected to the head, create circular movements above the ears as you focus on the breath. Work your way towards the temples, top of the head and back down to the neck. You can then bring your hands to the neck and apply pressure with the fingers to the muscles massaging either side of the spine down towards the upper back.

In a comfortable seated position, bring the palms to connect and interlace the fingers. Tilt the wrists from left to right as you squeeze the hands together massaging both hands and wrists. You can also create circular movements.