I’m not usually one to make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t need a special date to begin a new habit or project, or, to stop doing something I know isn’t good. But this year is different. I’m declaring 2016 the year of “Self-Love”.

So what is self-love? In some way, it’s easier to say what it is not. It’s not denying my body’s clues that I need to slow down and perhaps rest. It’s not dishonoring my body by feeding it empty calories. It’s not the insidious habit I have of looking for what’s wrong or what’s lacking, instead of appreciating what is. And it’s certainly not being selfish, or, feeling guilty.

So then, what is self-love? For me, it’s a conscious choice, and a declaration. I love myself – unconditionally. It makes me happy, it raises my vibration. It’s a way for me to operate in the world that creates ease and positive outcomes. It makes decision making simpler: I’ll do this (consistent with self-love), but I won’t do that (inconsistent with self-love). I’ll be kinder and gentler with myself, as I already am with others. I matter. I’ll take care of my body – the vessel that houses my Being.

What does Self-Love look like? It’s asking myself a new question: “What would a person who loves herself do?” I’ve never asked this question before. I typically ask: “What would an efficient, smart or a successful person do?” I would check in before impulsive actions, but especially before reaching for sweets (my weakness).

Self-love is taking my measurements and knowing my body fat percentage, not to judge how bad I am, but as a measure of where I’m at in my commitment to a better self. It’s wearing my better under garments every day, and not saving them for a special occasion. It’s placing my hand over my heart as a physical gesture and reminder when I’m questioning myself.

It’s said if you don’t love yourself, you can’t truly love another. Put your oxygen mask on first. It just works better that way. Here’s the magic: self-love doesn’t detract from anything else – it enhances it!  I anticipate a delightful upgrade in all my relationships!

You may be wondering, what self-love has to do with yoga? Everything. It’s showing up for class when you don’t feel like it, or when you have a million other things to do. It’s letting go while you’re there, because you showed up. It’s honoring your body and practicing in a way that is safe and beneficial, instead of forcing your body into a pose. It’s leaving class with a smile on your face and a lift in your heart, because you just practiced self-love.

So, here’s a question for you, my community. Did you all know this already, and I’m just late to the party, or, does this resonate with you? What acts of self-love do you practice, or would you like to incorporate? Please share your comments here, so we can all benefit.