FIVE STEPS TO RECLAIMING YOUR BODY, MIND AND EMOTIONS THIS SUMMER.
Summertime and the living is easy, right? Not so for everyone, apparently. I was astounded to read that, according to the American Psychological Association, “75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.”/1/
What about you? Are you singing a happy tune this summer? If not, why not explore the reasons with support from a compassionate and sensitive professional at your side. Consider scheduling a Yoga Therapy appointment today, and continue reading for tips to help bring the joy back into the everyday.
According to the book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” by Stress Physiologist Robert Sapolsky, our advanced brains are at the root of increased stress in the body/mind. According to Sapolsky, if all we had to do was to find our next meal and avoid being someone else’s next meal, we would experience less stress. Really. But… because we’re always thinking - about the grocery list, or bills we have to pay, or vacations we’d like to take, our mind is constantly active. Even at night, when we’re supposed to be recharging our body through sleep, many people are tossing and turning, their minds full of anxious thoughts. It’s that constant mental activity that he suggests leads to stress. So what are we humans supposed to do?
Here are some suggestions to help reduce the influence of stress in your life:
1) Get out for a walk by the water: It is said that the action of water hitting land (think water falls or waves) creates negative ions, which boost health and wellbeing by increasing oxygen to the brain, resulting in increased alertness and the potential relief of depression. /2/
2) Take a deep breath: Getting more oxygen to your cells will definitely help you feel better. How many times do you go through your day only to find you’ve been holding your breath, or breathing shallowly? So often, we never take time out to simply breathe with awareness, yet this alone can relieve depression, lessen blood pressure issues, soothe a frantic mind, and more.
Consider attending our Blessed Breath and Other Movements Class on Mondays at 12:15 PM for an assessment of how well you are breathing, or schedule some one-on-one time to have this evaluated.
Check out a link below (3) to an article on WebMD that offers simple instructions for basic breathing practices. While I certainly don’t agree with everything they say in the article (for instance, if you have any concerns with bone health, including osteopenia or osteoporosis, please consult with me before trying the rolling up portion of the morning breath presented there or you could crack your spine. And if you have blood pressure issues, please do not hold your breath, as suggested in 4-7-8 breathing. It amazes me the misinformation one can find on medical sites).
For those of you who’ve been coming to classes regularly, I encourage you to start practicing Alternate Nostril Breathing at home. It’s a great way to start your day. It’s also a nice way to let the stress of the day go before you crawl into bed. Follow this link to instructions hidden deep within the Mountain Wisdom Yoga website: http://www.mountainwisdomyoga.com/ancient-yoga-wisdom.html
And remember, stressed spelled backwards is DESSERT! Please ask me if you have questions as you explore breathing more consciously.
3) Smell the roses: I’m sure you’re aware of how fragrances have a potent effect on our bodies, minds and emotions. Consider the scent of seaside breezes, or crisp mountain air. How about the delightful smell of flowers in the garden, a delicious meal being prepared, or cookies in the over? Did you know that simply smelling the scent from different Essential Oils can influence your wellbeing? Essential Oils (EO) are simple products that come from the goodness of nature and they are simply amazing! In many cases one drop of specific oil is all it takes to clear up a longstanding issue.
For instance, the top of my foot was hurting after jumping on and off our raft for several days on a river trip. When I came home, I applied the Oil of Wintergreen to it a few times, and the pain went away.
Recently I used Lemon Essential Oil to remove a sticky residue from some left- over tape on the side of the frig. This hardened, sticky mess had been there for a year or more because nothing else I tried would remove it. I read about Lemon Oil, tried it, and it worked instantly! A couple drops on a cotton ball and some elbow grease and the mess was gone in no time!
My daughter had a cold last month. When a cold sore began to develop on her lip, she applied a drop of tea tree oil 2–3 times a day for the first couple of days and the sore disappeared! Amazing, right? I love these wonderful, natural remedies for just about everything. Rose Oil is soothing, Peppermint Oil is cooling, Rosemary uplifts, and Eucalyptus opens the lungs…. I could go on and on about essential oils. And I will, over time… Look for details about specific oils in future posts. I am able to order them wholesale, so if you’d like to try one out, just ask.
4) Sit still and do nothing: If you attend classes with me, then you know that pausing between poses is just as important as the poses themselves. While there’s value in keeping movement in our lives, and not stagnating, I believe that we get better with adequate rest. Coachers tell you that in weight training and in sports that muscles grow stronger in between the workouts. And neuroscience as well as business psychology have pointed out that our brains work better, too, after a rest. Need to solve a challenging problem and it’s late in the day? Take a break. Come back to it later. You’ll be glad you did!
5) Take a Yogic Nap: Yoga Nidra, known as the Sleep of the Yogis, is an amazing antidote to stress. I find it to be better, in many ways, than all the stuff I just wrote about. It is an ancient yogic practice designed to calm the nervous system and rewire the brain. It allows hormones to find homeostasis in the body, and can support you in achieving your life’s ambition.
Contact me to learn more about this transformative practice. Check out my website for information and plan to participate in a series of practices soon! They are scheduled throughout the year. Yoga Nidra is really great! I sell CD’s with practices of varying length or you can purchase a downloadable practice, as well. Let me know what you’d like, and I’ll tailor one for you, that’s how great I think this practice is!
Can you tell that I love my work as a Yoga Therapist, Yoga Nidra Facilitator, and a Health, Wellness and Lifestyle Consultant? I do! And it’s because I get to support people like you in reconnecting with parts of themselves that may have been lost in the shuffle of life. Whether you want to work with movement, breathing practices and scents, or visualizations and affirmations, I believe you can maintain or reclaim your health and wellbeing, especially if you start today.
Email me to explore how we might work together: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to support you on this path!
~ Sharon Harvey Alexander, E-RYT
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