Yoga To The Rescue
Some tips I've learned through years of studying yoga that can help in stressful situations:
BREATHING: Pranayama (controlling the breath)
When tend to have this habit of breathing from the chest area, shallow and short. So, I make it a point a few times through out the day to check in with my breathing. These two breathing techniques work great when you out and about.
Belly breathing: Full deep breathes in through the nostrils, filling up belly like a balloon and exhaling back out through the nose. 5-10 cycles of breath.
Retention breathing: Breathing in for a count of three, holding the breath for a few comfortable seconds, then exhaling for a count of six. (what ever number you inhale, just double for the exhale)
Sutra 2.52, Patanjali writes, “As a result [of pranayama], the covering that blocks our own inner light is reduced.” In other words, through the practice of pranayama, you can reduce all of the mental noise—the agitation, distractions, and self-doubt—that prevents you from connecting with your own inner light, your true Self. In this way, pranayama can have a profound effect on your life.
- WATER- One of the five elements. Our body is made up of almost 60% of water. Drinking water helps with grounding. Being grounded provides an outlet making the release of any negative energy easier. Most of the time we are truly dehydrated and could always use a glass of water. It's also good to drink a full glass of water if your feel an anxiety attack coming on. Water helps our bodies remove toxins and waste from our cells. Stress produces chemicals in our bodies that could overtime become toxic, that's why it is good to drink lots of H20 to flush that junk out.
- MOUNTAIN POSE- Also known as Tadasana, is a great pose to help with centering/grounding. Plus you can do this pose anywhere without anyone knowing that you are actually doing a yoga pose, not that that's a bad thing, but could look a little inappropriate in certain situations. Standing tall with big toes together or feet slightly apart parallel from one another, strong legs, rooting down through all four corners of your feet, relaxing shoulder back and down, reaching up through the crown of the head, taking 5-10 breaths here. You could visualize yourself growing deep roots out through your feet connecting with the Earth's center. I also like to visualize my 7th chakra, which is the crown of the head, wide open seeing in my minds eye the beauty of the solar system and my connection with this space.
- MINDFULNESS: Being fully present in whatever it is that you are doing. Like if you are eating, putting you phone away and really focusing on the act of tasting, chewing, and enjoying your meal. You could also be just checking in with your body and doing a full body scan to see if you are holding onto any tension? Do you have pain somewhere? Can you feel the connection of your body to the seat your seating in?
- GUIDED MEDITATION: I love doing this and often go to YouTube to find a 30 min guided meditation video. If you feel weighed down by stress and worry, lay down and listen to a meditation. Meditation is a great release. It's ok if you fall asleep, it's still beneficial and your subconscious mind is still listening. There are many benefits here.
- GENTLE YOGA: Taking the time for yourself to go to a quiet space and go through a 15 min gentle yoga flow on your mat. The key here is linking every breath with every movement. I like to do this laying down on my mat with my eyes closed. It could be as simple as turning your head gently side to side or knees to chest. Just be gentle and kind to yourself.
- WALKING: Walking in nature - to be clear! This for me is a metaphor for life... We need to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other, even if everything in us is begging not to go. Get outside, take in the fresh air, listen to the birds, feel your feet hitting the earth, listen to your breathing, look at the beautiful sky, and most of all keep on moving FORWARD.
- Prayer: Last but not least. Can't say enough about connecting with God or your higher source. Sometimes, I say all the Catholic prayers I've memorized from childhood, sometimes I go through a grateful list, and then there are times I just talk to God asking for guidance.