KIND YOURSELF

kind yourself, mackenzie dancho, Prairie Yogi Snowflake, Snowflake winter wellness festival, yoga festival canada, Yoga festival Manitoba, prairie love festival

Self love. It’s a gorgeous ideal that we strive to find through yoga and spiritual practices.

However lately, I’ve found myself starting to shy away from the words “self love” in the classes I teach. Not because it’s a negative aspiration, but because for a lot of us, self love can be really, really, really hard.

We live in a culture that profits on self doubt, comparison, and hatred. We are bombarded with messages that tell us we’re not good enough, pretty enough, successful enough, smart enough, the list goes on. How can we just “love ourselves” when we’re constantly reminded of the things we wish we could change? Finding self love in an environment that encourages self hatred can seem downright impossible some days, and this perception of being unloveable can further contribute to feelings of inadequacy and failure. It’s not that self love isn’t something we should aspire to, it’s just that we also shouldn’t feel bad for being unable to give ourselves the love we deserve.

So, what if we didn’t have to reach for something as daunting an  as self love? What if we simply chose... kindness? What if we chose to incorporate kindness into the way we speak to ourselves, treat our bodies, and honour what we need? What if rather than attempting the impossible task of eliminating all negativity, we chose instead to soften. Forgive. Nurture. Listen to both our dark and our light with compassion. Alleviate blame. 

Kindness starts by listening, understanding, and acknowledging. Observe how many of your thoughts are unkind. I find your yoga practice is a good place to start - notice how you speak to yourself when things start to get challenging or uncomfortable. Be conscious of how you can actively change that narrative. Approach yourself as you would a friend, a daughter, or even a stranger. Give yourself space to be angry, frustrated, and upset without shame or blame. Give yourself permission to be human. 

If we want to create change in the world, it doesn’t start with how we treat others, it starts with how we treat ourselves. If we want to create a kinder world, this kindness needs to start on the inside. 

At the end of the day, is self kindness the same as self love? Essentially, yes. But on the days when I find myself impossible to love, I can usually manage at least a little bit of kindness, even if that means giving myself permission to feel darker emotions and acknowledge that they will eventually pass. So let’s start with self kindness. Then maybe we’ll find self love.

Kind Yourself with Mackenzie at SNOWFLAKE winter wellness festival on Sunday January 21, 2018 at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, at her workshop by the same name. Single class, half day, and all-inclusive tickets still available.

Mackenzie Dancho is a certified 200-hour yoga instructor through the Blissology School of Yoga with Eoin Finn, specializing in an alignment-based vinyasa practice. Her mission as a yoga instructor is to create an open, accepting and loving space in which students feel empowered to explore the edge of their comfort zone. With a focus on embodiment and body positivity, Mackenzie’s classes are vibrant, playful and creative. You can expect a friendly, relaxed vibe, a strong and fluid flow, a lovingly curated music playlist and a long, grounding savasana. 

Mackenzie holds a B.A. Honours in Human Rights and History from Carleton University, and is passionate about women’s health and rights. She envisions yoga as a tool that can be used to improve public health, empower women and girls, build community and ultimately create a more peaceful and loving world. Mackenzie is a lover of Winnipeg, travel, painting, and of course Beyoncé.

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