Self-Care Starts With Us

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Hauora, the Māori concept of health and wellbeing is a four-walled approach practiced by many New Zealanders. The aim - to find balance with our physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. An easy concept to grasp, but difficult to master.

We spoke to Jase Te Patu - lululemon Wellington Store Ambassador about his experience of self-care, perspective on how we can nurture our wellbeing on all levels, and what personally inspired Jase to go on this journey.

Hey, Jase. Tell us a little about yourself…

Kia ora I'm Jase Te Patu - lululemon Wellington Store Ambassador. I have been teaching in the health industry for more than 25 years – first aerobics, then dance, and now yoga and meditation. I am a co-owner of Awhi Yoga & Wellbeing and founder of M3 Mindfulness for Children. M3 encompasses mindfulness, movement and Māori stories in a series of videos and live sessions taught in schools and Early Childhood centres throughout New Zealand. Yoga and meditation have now become my ways of sharing some simple tools to support children and adults alike with their holistic wellbeing.

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Can you share with us what makes you passionate about self-care?

I’ve been asking myself a lot, why do we have to wait until we are sick before our health becomes a priority? When we are good, then life is good. Self-care needn’t be something we start to do when our health is failing. Self-care and self-love are a must. We must make our wellbeing an everyday practice.

Let’s change the paradigm that taking care of ourselves first is selfish. Zen Bhuddhist and Thought Author - Thich Nhat Hanh says "When you are here for yourself, when you have re-established some basic order and peace within yourself, then you can take care of the person you love". Self-care ensures that we can show up fully in life, with a full tank, rather than running on empty. When we are full, we can be of service fully for others.

What have you learnt from your teaching in yoga and meditation to bring this into practice?

The Yogic methodologies, indeed most wisdom teachings of the world align beautifully with the practice of Hauora. The word Hauora translates from Māori to English to mean 'the vital essence of the sun'. On our yoga mat, we get to be with the sensations in our bodies, the thoughts in our minds and our emotions, good and bad. Through mindful breath, we can allow the sensations, thoughts, and emotions to come back into balance, so that we can move about the world connected to ourselves, others and the world around us in a much more aware and vibrant way. The 'vital essence of the sun 'within us, emanates outwards when we are 'balanced and well' in our being.

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How has your lived experience shaped your passion for and practice of, self-care over the years?

In 2018, I lost my little brother to physical health problems. His mental wellbeing had suffered for years through complex family dynamics. This played on him emotionally, which manifested physically in his body and tragically he paid the ultimate price - leaving behind 8 children. I can't tell you how much his passing has impacted our family. Even more now, my nephews and nieces need support with their mental and emotional wellbeing. M3 Mindfulness for children was born from a want to support all of our children with tools to cope with, particularly, their emotional wellbeing.

The loss of my brother has personally activated me to be a leader and example of wellbeing for my family and community alike. So every day I begin my day with self-care. It isn't difficult. It only takes 15 minutes, and it's a must in my daily routine.

Could you share with us your routine?

Of course - every day I wake up and:

1. Mind
Meditate for 10 mins

2. Emotional
Write 10 things I'm grateful for in the present moment

3. Physical
Take a 2-minute cold shower to start my day.

This sets me up to go and teach classes at my studio or schools (social) with a sense of balance and the 'vital essence of the sun' or Hauora.

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How could the readers at home begin to be more intentional with their commitment to self care?

You too can devise a self-care package that is simple and effective to find balance with your physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. I encourage you. Tailor-make it to suit your lifestyle. Have fun with it as you create a daily routine that includes some physical, mental, emotional and social care. This is self-love in the fullest, this is self-care at it's most powerful - holistic and full, rather than one dimensional.

My friends, please ask yourself, what are you doing for your wellbeing? Is it holistic or one-dimensional? What practices can we all put in place to take much better care of ourselves beyond a 30 minute HIIT session? How can we take better care of ourselves holistically?

Any last words of wisdom?

Practice makes permanent. The more we make these practices part of our daily routine, the more wellbeing will become ingrained and natural. Please don't leave your wellbeing until it's too late and becomes a necessity. Make it a priority. Make it a must. It starts with us!

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