It’s so funny, I went from always wanting a Valentine in middle school through college but sadly never having one, lol, to not thinking twice about Valentine’s Day, but it’s definitely one worth thinking about because at its core, it’s about love. And although Valentine’s day is about showing love for someone else, we decided to make this V-Day about showing yourself a little love. Good thing, I happened to have had dinner with my friend Aurélie Leveau this weekend, who also happens to be a sexologist. (If you’re ever on vacation in Paris and want to step outside of the typical vaca routine, I highly recommend scheduling a session with Aurélie).
Aurélie brings a combination of Tantric Yoga practice and principles and formal study in applied psychology to her approach. She so kindly put together the following step-by-step guide on how we can take a moment this V-Day (or any day really) to show ourselves a little love.
Step 1 : Create a Sacred Space
Spending time with yourself is a special moment, and special moments need special spaces to make magic happen. I call it “creating a sacred self-love place.” Before creating your sacred space, think about what you would want from the perfect lover before making sweet love to them? Candles? Your favorite music playlist? A sensual scent in the room? The perfect temperature to lay down naked without your skin calling for a blanket? Be that person. Create that perfect ambiance.
I always recommend having a hot shower with a heavy moisturizing soap before creating a personal sanctuary. This helps transition from the busy exterior life to a more intimate space. Plus, everyone loves soft skin. Once you’ve showered, put on something you feel sexy in, some lingerie, or just go naked if that feels right for you. Now you can begin creating your own little self-love space.
Some ideas to steal from my clients on creating a sacred space:
- fresh sheets
- red and white candles
- burn incense with an intention
- a loving prayer to the universe
- an extra pair of pillows
- a heavy blanket on the floor with meaningful objects in circle around it
- a lot of coconut oil on your skin
- inspiring music or a vibratory music (music that has vibratory frequencies, like minimal music, or pulsations, drums also work. It’s been proven that it can have a influence on the heart rate)
- flowers in the space
A must-do: Creating a sacred space means that you won’t be disturbed! Lock the door and put your phone on airplane mode (or at least Do Not Disturb mode).
Step 2: Breathing. Be here. Now.
If you’re a yoga addict, like me, you already know the power of the prana, the breath. While you’ve physically arrived in your safe sensual space, you need to anchor your spirit in the beauty of the present moment. Aim to be here and in the now, without letting your mind wander toward fears, e.g., being alone forever; questions, is X with someone?; or self-judgment, I don’t like my butt. Breathing is the easiest way to do that. In the Tantric tradition, we have a special breath exercise called lotus flower breathing. Its goal is to make you more aware of your yoni (yoni is a Sanskrit word that refers to female sex organs like the vulva) and open it to the unknown and infinity.
Below’s how to do the exercise, but before starting, get acquainted with your yoni. Do you know what your yoni looks like? If not, it’s time to have a look. Find a mirror and explore, with love. Like the petals of a flower, the yoni is made of multiples layers of muscles. Visualize a lotus or a rose with its petals and pistil. Then visualize your own vulva with the same form.
Here’s how to do the exercise:
- Sit down or lay down.
- Close your eyes (you’ll open them a little later).
- Slowly, as slowly as possible, contract the muscles (as though you’re doing Kegel exercises) around your yoni while you inhale. Imagine your flower delicately closing. The goal of the slowness is to really feel your amazing complexity.
- Do the opposite, exhale, and with joy open your petals, open your self fully and slowly. Let the little layers of muscles open to receive this letting-go feeling.
- Close your flower again with the air filling your lungs. With each new cycle, you’ll feel that there is more and more sensations inside, that you’re discovering new layers of petals.
Do this exercise for as long as it feels right, but seven minutes is a good start.
- Be aware of your sensations, with your eyes closed.
- Allow your pelvis to move–from the front to the back, or in circles.
- Try the exercise in reverse by exhaling while you close your flower, and inhaling while you open. Which do you prefer?
Celebrate your sensuality and your sexual power with this internal dance.
Step 2b: Eye to Eye
While doing the lotus flower breath exercise, add a little connection to yourself by using a mirror and looking directly into your own eyes. It’s really intense and intimate to look someone in the eye for a full minute. Why not start with yourself? Try to last two minutes without breaking eye contact. You can add a big smile to that pretty face, while you’re at it 😉.
It’s really intense and intimate to look someone in the eye for a full minute. Why not start with yourself?
Step 3: Awaken Your Skin
Touch is the first sense we develop in utero. Our skin is of high importance, however, in Western societies the power of the connection to our skin has been lost, whatever the color.
Here’s an exercise that helps reconnects us to our skin:
- Lay down or sit, whichever way you feel the most comfortable.
- Start by slowly caressing your skin from the tips of your toes and going up. Let your fingers run on your skin and explore freely! Touch you the way YOU want to be touched.
- Diversify the intensity from a feather like touch to a gripping hand, a scratching one, or ever a slapping one.
- Direct all your energy to your yoni, without touching it at first. Simply focus on the sensations you feel on your skin and direct all your caresses in the direction of your yoni.
- Focus on the feeling of your skin and the energy you’re creating.
- Free that voice! Whine, scream, laugh!
- If your mind wanders come back to the feeling of your skin, and take some breaths.
- Give yourself permission to explore and be as sexy as you want.
- If fantasies arrive say yes to them, abandoning all judgments.
You can spend as little or as much time as you want doing the above exercises. Go with what feels right. What matters most is that you’re carving out time to physically, emotionally and spiritually know and appreciate yourself.