Simple Self-Care with Colleen Saidman Yee
Christened “The First Lady of Yoga” by The New York Times in 2013, Colleen is one of the most respected and recognized faces in the world of yoga. She has had a varied career: She was an international fashion model, graduated from the Ohashi school of shiatsu, and has lived in Calcutta, working with Mother Theresa at the Home for the Dying and Destitute. Together with Rodney Yee, Colleen directs Urban Zen’s Integrative Yoga Therapist Program, an initiative to transform care in hospitals. In 2015, Colleen published Yoga For Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom, which elegantly blends practical yoga instruction with inspiring autobiography.
When we experience stressful events, we don’t always process them in an appropriate way. As a result, we carry this tension with us on our day to day lives, which affects how we show up to the world. We can only give to others when we give adequate care to ourselves. In this course, we'll be using modalities such as yoga poses, restorative poses, meditation, breathwork and even some hands-on healing to address issues that many of us deal with on a day-to-day basis including loneliness, fear, insomnia, stress, and anxiety. It really does start with you. Are you ready to put yourself first? WHAT YOU NEED: We have compiled a list of essential oils (plus substitutes) that Colleen will be mentioning in the course. If you don't have the oil or a substitute, don't worry—you'll still get a lot out of each lesson. In terms of props, make sure you have a yoga mat, bolster or pillow, yoga blocks or thick books (you can tape several together to make a block), a chair, and cotton pads or paper towel for the essential oils.
02: Day 1: Relieving Stress
As humans, we're prone to overreact to negative circumstances. More often than not, this leads to feelings of stress, which we carry throughout our bodies. The following practice is all about stress relief. By paying attention to every part of your body - from your head to your stomach to your feet - we can rid our body from unnecessary tensions, both physical and mental. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES FOR TODAY: Today we use a blend of lavender, lime, and vanilla. Lavender is a great standard stress-relieving oil to keep in your home.
03: Day 2: Releasing Anxiety
Anxious moments don't allow you to live in the here and now because you’re worrying about the future. As a result, we experience pent up energy as a result of being worried about something that hasn't even happened. Today, we focus on being present. We're going to wring out some of that worrier energy. The following exercise is going to bring you right into restorative. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES: Today we use a combination of tangerine, orange, and ylang ylang. A freshly peeled orange close by is a great stand-in.
04: Day 3: Aiding Digestion
Digestion is one of the most important things for wellness. Poor digestion, on the other hand, can wreak havoc on the rest of the systems in your body and generally disrupt life. Today’s practice focuses on improving your digestive system through body awareness and twists, squats, and bends. May your digestion of not just food, but of this world, be sweet and complete. For this practice, you will need blocks (you can substitute pillows or towels if needed). ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES: Today we use peppermint oil, but any fresh mint or a cup of mint tea works well, too!
05: Day 4: Getting Quality Sleep
The world is a whole different place if you are rested. So, why aren't you sleeping? There's a myriad of reasons. Maybe you're mentally wired. Maybe you can't set down the day, and it's still sitting on your shoulders. Maybe your body is holding onto tension. Whatever the reason, a night of restful sleep is essential. This practice is all about letting go of the day so you can have a restful sleep. We’ll achieve this through different movements, stretches, poses, and focusing deeply on the breath. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES FOR TODAY: The main components of today's oil are chamomile, ylang ylang, and geranium, but a cup of sweet-smelling chamomile tea will do just fine.
06: Day 5: Finding Your Inner Ground
There are many situations in life you can’t control. We all have moments when we feel like the earth is being pulled out from underneath us. We feel lost, disconnected, almost as if we're floating aimlessly around the world. The focus of today's practice is to help us to feel grounded, by focusing deeply on feeling every part of our body. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES FOR TODAY: Today's oil is cedarwood, but any tree oil is a good substitute. Or, find a tree in the pine, cedar, fir, or spruce family and gather some leaves to rub between your hands and breathe in the smell.
07: Day 6: Overcoming Fear
In fear, things become closed. Your vision becomes closed. Your mind becomes narrow. The focus of today's lesson is learning to deal with fear, so that you don't become stuck in that "mode." We're going to focus on seeing in 360 degrees, de-thawing the body, and creating a softness that will allow you to see things more clearly. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES FOR TODAY: Today's oil is frankincense, but you can always return to that trusty standby — lavender!
08: Day 7: Easing Pain
At any given time, we can experience pain: it comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and circumstances. Today, we bring our awareness to the pain, acknowledge it, draw a visual circle around it, and bring our full attention to the areas of our body that are experiencing pain. Attention is love. What you'll notice is that the more you look at pain from every angle, the circle around it gets smaller, and the pain starts to dissipate. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES: Today's oil is a blend of wintergreen, clove, and peppermint. As a substitute, take a look in your spice cupboard for some clove.
09: Day 8: Working with Loneliness
We can be in a room full of people and still have this sense of isolation, of disconnection and apartness. But how much of our loneliness is due to separating ourselves from other people, and how much is our own armor? How much is based in fear, in worry that if people got to know you, they might judge or reject you? The following practice focuses on addressing this loneliness through heart-centering support, and realizing that you are not separate; you are always connected. The heart is the seat of the soul, where your true teacher dwells. We're going to open it up in all directions, and at the end you'll feel your connection to your heart center, and, as a result, you’ll feel connected to all other beings. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES FOR TODAY: Today's oil is a combination of ylang ylang, frankincense, myrrh, and geranium, but feel encouraged to go on a walk and find any fragrant flower or leaf to bring into your home.
10: Day 9: Being with the Unknown
With our busy on-the-go lifestyle, it's easy to find yourself in a constant state of overthinking. More often than not, this is true, but sometimes it's more dramatic than others. The following practice focuses on helping you bring your mind to the here and now, so that it's not focused on the big black void of "what ifs." Where is your mind focused now? Let us be diligent with our thoughts; where our mind goes, our energy flows. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES: Today's oil is a blend of blue spruce, geranium, and frankincense, but if you don't have anything similar, choose your favorite scent from the previous days!
11: Day 10: Cultivating Long Lasting Happiness
When you're sad, you go into a shell and close yourself from the rest of the world. However, when we work to strategically cultivate happiness, we give more to the people around us. And, we ourselves feel more alive, energetic, and fulfilled. Think of today's practice as a mood enhancer. Today, we will cultivate feelings of joy through restorative yoga poses, focusing on the breath, and body awareness. ESSENTIAL OIL NOTES: Today we use a blend of different citrus oils. As a substitute you can always choose your favorite citrus fruit and peel it fresh.