mindfulness matters

mindfulness matters on and off the yoga mat

mindfulness matters

mindfulness matters
















“The mind is the vital link between the body and consciousness. The individual can live with awareness, discrimination, and confidence only once the mind is calm and focused, Yoga is the alchemy that generates this equilibrium”

“When the mind is fully absorbed by objects seen, heard, smelled, felt or tasted, this leads to stress, fatigue, and unhappiness. The mind can be a secret enemy and a treacherous friend,. It influences our behavior before we have time to consider causes and consequences.” BKS Iyengar

The way yoga practice works is that it trains your mind to stay still instead of jumping around so much, therefore taming and quieting impulsivity and reactivity. Discrimination and evaluation faculties improve as well so that the objects and situations we “see” do not have such a powerful hold on us. The mature and practiced mind builds awareness and thus can target bad habits, improve mood, and take note of repetitive behaviours that are not so good for us and replace them with nourishing thoughts and actions.

I have an easy to practice 5 minute mindfulness of breath practice on my YOGA MIND cd. Keep in mind that this is a journey, and practice is cumulative.

peaceful quotes for a stressful day

Reading these peaceful quotes for a stressful day will put you in the mood for my upcoming restorative workshop in Jersey City:

peaceful quotes













“May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be happy. May all beings be safe. May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature. May all beings be free.”

Unless you did not already know, stress can make you sick, or, just plain not in optimum health. Stress creeps in and begins with a physiological response when your nervous system perceives a threat – mental, physical, emotional. This heightened alert triggers the adrenal glands to secrete catecholamine hormones. What this means is that your heart rate, blood pressure, and brain ramp up to prepare for “flight or fight”. Obviously, this is the opposite to the relaxation response, which is pretty much going to shut off, and shut down. Peace? Where did that go? Exactly. This is where restoratives, savasana, pranayama can help. Really. Check out my calendar or book a private ~ cause the “antidote to stress is relaxation” (J. Lasater)

yoga and stress management

yoga and stress management

Right now, how stressed are you on a scale of one to ten ?

yoga and stress management












Did you know that :  “Stress is defined as “any stimulus that creates an imbalance in the internal environment.” ~  Tortora and Grabowski, Principles of Anatomy and Physiology

Did you know that there are 3 causes of stress?

-Physical -whether you have undergone a trauma, an injury or from sport-specific or other movement patterns that do not reinforce good posture and alignment.
-Mental/emotional –whether you are unable to relax, sleep, understand yourself, and make nourishing and supportive choices.
-Biochemical/environmental – whether your mood is affected or you are involved in circumstances that unbalance you.

Life is rapid. The modern person is suffering from common things like – overwork/fatigue, fear, hate, hurry and tension. The adrenal glands are adversely affected, causing dis-ease such as arthritis, myositis, psychoses, anxiety, headaches, back pain and cardiovascular and gastro-intestinal malfunctioning.

What to do for stress management?  There are two divisions of our nervous system, the flight or fright, which is triggered by stress and the parasympathetic, which is involved with deep relaxation.  Ease, or Dis-Ease, we are equipped for both!

Naturally, avoiding stress completely is an unrealistic solution for the 21st century. However, neutralizing the effects of stress, minimizing stress through empowering changes, channeling stress into creative endeavor, alleviating it and/or reinterpreting the impact of a stressor – namely, different kinds of coping behaviors – are better approaches to dealing with or handling stress.

stress managementAfter going through a fight or flight reaction, the body wants to return to homeostasis by relaxing and returning to normal activity levels. This relaxation response slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and stress hormone levels, and reduces oxygen consumption.

It is possible to manage one’s stress and consciously set the relaxation response in motion so the body can begin to use its internal intelligence to mobilize and heal itself.

Just ask yourself what feels better, being in a bad mood or being in a naturally good mood, where you feel you can cope with this rapid pace, neutralize the effects of a challenging situation and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep?

Health is wealth. The simple truth is that without any healing, we do not stand a chance against the treadmill of life. However, learning how to breathe so that you can consciously diffuse a potential stressor, learning how to mobilize your body so that it can let go of the potential pain in the neck, learning how to quiet the mind so that your split second decision-making skills are clearer, these are all tools we can learn to use, so that our lives are balanced with LETTING GO, not out of hand GO GO GO.

Have you ever been in a healing presence, had a soft and focused moment, experienced a yoga flow, or simply sat sitting in a park, feeling the soft breeze and listening to the grass and the music of a waterfall? If so, I am sure at some level you thought, hmmm, I would like to bottle this for personal consumption! This is the idea. You can learn and yes, it may take some practice, but the results are infinite. Contact me for personalized options


yoga and stress

yoga and stress


Yoga and stress: Are you “stressed out” ? Is your day “stressful”? In technical terms, stress is load. If you have too much load, you will break what you are overloading. It’s like over stretching and then tearing the muscle you are ‘trying’ to lengthen. The softer practices of yoga (and I am not saying don’t practice asana) are important and  complementary to our busy – ness in so many useful ways. This advice by Thich Nhat Hanh is a nice reminder that the breath is the link between mind and body. Letting yourself think think think about all your stress will just make your body tenser. A mindful approach, a breath by mindful breath approach is something that yoga can teach you.  If you have five minutes you can learn how to do do by downloading my Yoga Mind cd. That is what it is there for, and you can then take it with you to practice instead of letting things get out of hand.

Rana -yogaWe need to learn how to breathe and consciously diffuse a potential stressor, as well as how to mobilize our body so that it can let go of the tensions and learn how to quiet the mind so that our split second decision-making skills are clearer, these are all tools we can learn to use, so that our lives are balanced

Awareness: Funny

This girl is apparently doing a thinking meditation…LOL

Awareness is basic but if you have trouble going deeper through sitting practices, there are other ways to set up. Certainly breathing practices and relaxation techniques not to mention restorative yoga practices will help you calm the over thinker in you especially in times of speed and stress.

Do you find it hard to ‘get there’? Contact me for private yoga lessons for a personalized approach :-)  or invite me to give a workshop at your yoga studio :-)



Finding Your Peaceful Center

Aristotle said “we are what we repeatedly do”.  True with the words we say to ourselves ~ a mantra will lead us forward but “I’m so stressed out” will not…Life can be crazy busy, we can even feel homesick for our true inner self, we get so pulled in different directions.  If you feel like this,  I have a host of zen ideas for you -my fantastic blend between a yoga session and a massage called Yapana® Stretch One on One.  Or ~ check out my meditation tips, some breathing and relaxing tips on my Yoga Mind Cd; -and join one of my public yoga classes in Tenafly or book your private yoga class with me, we will work on your goals together

I want to go AUM

7 Easy Steps To Start A 15-Minute Relaxation Practice

7 Easy Steps To Start A 15-Minute Relaxation Practice

Featured on MindBodyGreen

7 Easy Steps To Start A 15-Minute Relaxation PracticeToday I thought I’d write about the jewel of yoga poses, savasana, also known as corpse pose or relaxation pose, a posture of classic importance both on the mat and off the mat. Judith Lasater says that The antidote to stress is relaxation. To relax is to rest deeply” – J. Lasater, Relax and Renew

We all know that racing around from one activity to the next can build up into a frenetic and stress-based approach to life. In this “place” we do not usually have much appreciation of life, and fatigue edges out our sense of peace and objectivity. A relaxed person copes better with everything. At the end of a yoga class, it’s necessary for the body-mind to integrate and assimilate all the energy from the flow of postures, breathing, and everything that was generated. It’s also a great stand-alone practice, and one that’s accessible to everyone.

The great thing about savasana is its simplicity, although you can spiff it up with a few pillows or cushions, a chair, or bolster for those of you who have stiff backs. Also, savasana is excellent yoga therapy for everyone. In fact, take a look at some of the benefits of regular practice and check off the ones you may want to add to your recipe for life and healthy, balanced, living.

A regular practice can improve your breathing, reduce stress hormones, slow down heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles, increase energy and focus, combat illness, relieve aches and pains, heighten problem-solving abilities, boost motivation and productivity, and can increase happiness by releasing immunomodulators to change brain chemistry.

Sound good? Well, usually the hardest part of trying anything new is setting aside time for it, and removing your expectations (and your shoes). In the beginning, or even for those students who have regular yoga practices, you may have days when the mind just does not want to cooperate. That’s ok. Practice anyway. Build to a 15-minute zone. Start where you are, but do start. You may want a timer, a “do not disturb sign,” try to turn off cellular phones, etc. Common sense stuff.

To help you initiate your practice, here are seven simple steps to get you started:

1. Get ready by settling in on the floor, with any support you require. I recommend a neck pillow (forehead slightly higher than chin).

2. Invite stillness and silence as if they were old friends, with grace and gratitude.

3. Relax the body, moving your awareness up from feet to head, then down from head to feet.

4. Ask your breath to settle, as you allow the body to take the support that is under it.

5. Continue to be aware of your breath; thoughts and emotions may surface — that’s ok — but don’t follow these with drama.

6. Without pull or push, receive the inhale and let go with the exhale.

7. Keep feeding the calm waves of breath and let your mind relax into this state.

Remember, it’s called a “practice,” so practice!


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Published March 12, 2013 at 6:52 AM
About Rana WaxmanRana Waxman Rana Waxman is a registered Yoga Therapist.  Her own love of Yoga began in the late 1990’s and she has been teaching ever since.  Rana’s extensive background in somatics and practice as a licensed massage therapist, have earned her the nickname “the muscle whisperer”.  She is well-known in her home city, Montreal, as being a pioneer of bilingual Yoga TV, with her show, “Yoga Chez Vous” which translates to “Yoga At Your Home”.  Rana believes that Yoga is a system which is accessible to everyone, although not a one-size fits all practice.  Her specialty is seeing the unique needs of each individual and tailoring the yoga practices that will help empower her students to lead meaningful lives off the mat.  Rana is a regular contributor to MindBodyGreen, Greenster and Elephant Journal, and CaféTruth and is often called the “Modern Yogini”.  Her inspired style blends, vinyasa, kinetic skills, alignment and restorative work.  Rana sees and teaches Yoga as an unfolding meditation in motion, leading to improved performance, posture, and peaceful positivity Follow Rana on Facebook and Twitter.

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More from Rana Waxman on MindBodyGreen

3 Methods For Practicing The Art Of Active Patience
Yoga and the Art of Listening To Your Body
How To Make Self-Reflection Fun
Use Mantras to Focus Your Mind and Change Your Life
Why You Need to Carve Out Time for Silence