Yoga and stress relief

yoga is a powerful way tool for stress relief

stress relief

This is a great infograph. Some of the take aways are subjects you have already seen here. It is a great reminder of how we can certainly, throughout our day, make choices to ensure that we give ourself a window of calm.

If you are looking for mini-breaks, just know this is what I created the YOGA MIND CD for (visualizations, breathing, mindfulness, relaxations). I think, I know, when you are in touch with yourself, you will be able to add to the above list, or choose which of them make no sense to you. I am not a gum chewer, so even sugarless gum would not be on my list!

Stress relief is very much about balance too. Being able to balance all your activity with rest, or with activities that cultivate the rest and digest mechanisms. You have heard me talk about restorative yoga, which is definitely something I would add to the above picture…!

BKS Iyengar wrote “the practice of asanas and pranayama is the most powerful natural thera[y for stress. Practicing asanas with props builds your stamina and allows you to benefit from the posture without unnecessary strain”

yoga and pain management

yoga and pain management: “A lot of the pain that we are dealing with are really only thoughts” hmmm….

There is a growing body of evidence that yoga can help with chronic pain. Now, if you are actually in pain then hearing that your thoughts are causing it will probably frustrate you. However, you will be among an estimated 50 to 75 million Americans who are living with chronic pain, and to know that your mind is involved, may actually help move you to a better place. This does not mean that your experience of pain is not real, but, what it does involve is that the source of pain is not limited to where you think it starts from or where you are feeling it.

Chronic pain is a complex issue. Fortunately, when you think of it as a mind,body,spirit ‘issue’, then you can treat it from the toolbox of the yoga system, which will include restorative yoga, breathing practices, relaxation, and meditation.

The body basically detects pain through a sensing of incoming threat- which then stimulates and stresses certain nerves in the spinal column and then travels to the brain and becomes a message of suffering/anger/fear/ and other reactions. When pain becomes chronic, our nervous system has been taught already what will trigger pain, and it may be so sensitized and protective that it is like dialing 911 all the time. It can be exhausting on all levels.

There is more to it, but certainly, since our brains can learn, yoga does steer us to train the brain to turn on healing responses – for example, slowing down the exhale, watching thoughts, being poses that offer a chance for the nervous system to recuperate..


Endorphins alert!

Endorphin alert ! “Walk yourself out of your bad mood. Studies show that even a ten minute walk immediately boosts brain chemistry to increase happiness” ~ boosting endorphins ? Absolutely wonderful remedy for stress relief which by definition means stress hormones get defeated by the releasing of endorphins, our happy molecules

Wow! I would say the same thing for a short yoga routine. Do you have a ten minute strategy? Everyone should have a recipe to uplift and boost endorphins. I am certainly available for private yoga lessons to amp up your home practice, or you can download my CD for a track that you can use as you walk to the subway. It is also nice just to know that a walk around the block endorphins alert!

Stillness And The Ability To Listen Inwardly

Be still and listen..rather an art form.

Here are some tips to start cultivating this art :
1. Make notes of anything in your life that is difficult, painful, joyful, and notice how your breathing, heart rate and other bodily sensations respond to each of these.
2. Pay attention to what your body feels like. For example, do you feel fluid, numb, or stuck? These feelings are your body’s wisdom; clues in your inner guidance system.
3. When you experience a bodily sensation such as “gut reaction,” back pain, a headache, a stomach ache, pay attention to it. Are emotions such as anger or fear connected with any areas of your body? When a sensation arises, stop, lie down, breathe and wait with the emotion or sensation – what insights come up through this process?
4. Notice how you routinely talk to yourself. Do you chastise or appreciate when you look in the mirror? Are you hyper critical or do you give your body positive messages, and gratitude. Your body digests meals, breathes in and out, and your heart beats 24/7… Cultivate a positive chain between your inner mental dialogue and the rest of you.
5. Understand that you risk your health when you consistently undermine your body. Burning the candle at both ends, worrying incessantly, food choices, activity choices, friendship choices…it all affects our system as a whole.


Pranayama Practice Of The Day

It’s incredible how the breath can give us clues-be a barometer for-what is on our mind. Perfect example, navigating traffic in a foreign place. Not Europe. Jersey City. I just moved here but my GPS is on the fritz and gives me directions that are way off. I noticed how panicky I was and made a conscious effort to slow my breath down. Of course, the first step is always noticing the natural, essential breath and if it is anything but, that is a sure sign you are stressed out.

The photo shows a pranayama called alternate nostril breathing which is also balancing, though more of a formalized practice, not one you can do in your car. Yoga is a practical system and helps us in many ways contend with the daily grind. So when you get up and go don’t forget you are not leaving home without a built in anti-anxiety tool.



Learn To Be Calm With These Yoga Practices

“Learn to be calm and you will always be happy”

The message here is to find your own path to your inner peaceful center ~ a state where you are calm and can respond, rather than react, to the circumstances you are facing.

People sometimes think that they are breathing properly when in fact, their patterns of tension are restricting rather than rewarding. If you want to learn more about the yoga therapy of breathing click here

The most simple breathing practice for stress relief is to practice the Essential, Natural breath. For detailed instructions click here or contact me either to schedule a workshop at your yoga studio for CECs or a private yoga lesson to help you understand how you can improve your breathing and breathing posture


Learn to be calm

Savasana Funny

This is hilarious!

Everyone is different of course, some people “can’t” relax, some people fall asleep instead of relaxing. I find in many classes that I have seen, there is only a 5 minute savasana; it isn’t enough. Mostly I think people just want to come in and bang out a work-out, but you really aren’t doing your Yoga justice to omit the very core of practice ~ integration, calm, witness, awareness, dropping into your light body…..

You can build a sustainable relaxation practice on your own. By that I mean, time spent on the mat that cultivates the calm tools for getting through daily stress.

There is one track on my Yoga Mind cd that I like for learning, called Diving Deeply into Relaxation, I think you can listen to a clip on I Tunes

If you are a bit overloaded by Saturday, which many of us are, just taking some time to lay out your mat, cover your eyes, and turn the world to mute will refresh you. Try it :-)
Savasana funny comic