However, all of us at Sunstone are taught that being kind and grateful are two of the stepping stones to learning to love yourself and others. Let us break it down for you in our terms... Be kind to yourself. Being kind starts with internal kindness. In our hyper-critical, fast-moving, image-driven world most of us spend our time bouncing from task to task indulging internal chatter that judges our actions and interactions and provides a soundtrack of constant nit-picking. Many of these little thoughts are not kind -- they only make us feel bad -- and for some of us spiral into even worse self-talk like which produces feelings of defeat. These thoughts are ultimately counter-productive because you haven’t resolved the issue underlying the first negative thought. So ... how can you turn this type of situation into a kinder experience? Being kind to yourself begins, first, with simply noticing when you are engaging in negative self-talk. Become aware whenever you are not thinking kind or grateful thoughts about yourself. Next, evaluate why you are thinking that way. What do you really want? What is your ultimate goal? Finally, find a “next step” toward what you really want. This is not a huge, overwhelming thing like “I will never eat cake or anything unhealthy ever, ever again.” It is a small, accomplishable goal like “I will take a Hot Yoga class tonight.” It is a baby step. And … be grateful. Give yourself gratitude for your little accomplishments! Say you were in the scenario referenced in point 3, and you went and took that Hot Yoga class, turning negative self-talk into positive action. Be proud of yourself and grateful for your fortitude. With so many work and family demands, it is often difficult just to get yourself to the studio. Recognize it the moment you walk in (“I am grateful to be here tonight to take this class.”). Carry that kindness and gratitude into class with you (i.e., don’t let the negative self-talk start again). During class, focus on only yourself in the front mirror. Focus on how good it feels to be doing yoga. Don’t worry about whether your postures are “perfect” or better than yesterday. Be kind to your body grateful for your body’s unique abilities. By practicing kindness and gratitude in your own mind, it will become easier to extend that same kindness to others.