Self-Care: Yoga

Summer self-care series (banner long)
MONDAY KarenSamuels (resized)

Karen L. Samuels, Ph.D.

The calendar tells us it is summer, over halfway through the year, and months past the post-holidays and New Year’s intentions that were going to change your life.

I invite you to pause and recognize that YOU are enough, at this very moment.

No pressure to do more, or make radical, unrealistic changes.

What do you really love?

This summer, notice how nature embraces the changing of seasons.

How do you embrace the coming seasons?

Everything changes. And so do we. So do our bodies, our tastes, our pleasures, and our pain.

In the study of yoga, the sutras teach us to practice “ahimsa”.

Do no harm. Compassion. Nonviolence to all living beings.

This reminds us to also do no harm to our one, vital, precious self.

Take a full inhalation.

Take a full inhalation, breathing deeply into your diaphragm. Place your left hand on your heart and right on your belly.  Notice the expansion and contraction with each full inhalation and exhalation. Your body will breathe naturally, with a rhythm and flow that is life sustaining.

With each full inhalation and exhalation, quietly whisper to yourself, “I am [inhale] enough [exhale].” “I am enough.” “I am enough.” Repeat until it hums like a melodic chorus.

Extend your arms like goal posts at your sides. Shoulders relaxed, gaze soft.

Embrace yourself in a deep hug, right arm over left. Take another round of breath.

Release and extend the arms out and embrace yourself again deeply, with the left arm over the right. Take another round of breath. Release your arms gently to your sides.

Take your gaze to the horizon and open yourself to the curiosity of what the coming months will bring.

What gives you peace and joy? 

Going outdoors and taking a walk? Noticing the blossoms that move from buds to blooms? Setting up plans for summer travels? trying something new? Calling a friend? Writing in your journal? Reading a new book?  Watching Netflix?  Dancing to your favorite tunes? Taking yourself to a new destination for sunrise or sunset.

I went for a sunset stroll through my neighborhood. 

A whoosh of wings and the soft air moved just in front of my face as the darkness set in. The silhouette in the tree to my right revealed an owl that flew across my path and settled on a branch a few feet away. Watching this owl in the night, I wondered what it thought of me, our eyes fixed. We were suspended in this pause. Was it just a minute or an hour? Not really sure.

Then the owl flew inches in front of me and on down the road.

It was a magical moment. I walked the rest of the way home listening to the crickets and birds, the breeze, and to my breath.

Reflect and accept your inner strengths and wisdom. 

Compassion for your body, as it is, as you take another breath. Be inspired by the birds, flowers, butterflies, and lizards welcoming the season of change.


Karen Samuels, PhD, is a clinical psychologist practicing in Ormond Beach, Florida. She is the  Founder/Director of COPE: Community Outreach to Prevent Eating Disorders, a non-profit providing services since 2001. COPE is an active member of the NEDA Network. Dr. Samuels is also the resident psychologist and eating disorders consultant to, an international online yoga/wellness platform. Utilizing RCT: Relational Cultural Theory in community outreach and clinical practice, she developed and delivered middle school outreach media literacy programs, trains physicians in interprofessional treatment teams, and conducts eating disorder group therapy with midlife/aging women. She has contributed scholarly articles and a textbook chapter highlighting the need for attention to disordered eating and related health concerns in the aging population. She lectures nationally about eating disorders and body image disturbance. Dr. Samuels received the 2014 NEDA Westin Family Award for Activism and Advocacy. Learn more about Dr. Samuels at