I ran a Yoga for Stress workshop on Saturday which was a time for people to just switch off, let go and relax. Through the afternoon as I taught yoga I also incorporated some of my top tips to manage stress levels.
Yoga is a great tool to explore different ways of being in life and to manage stress. Our physical body and breath have an impact on how we feel, what thoughts are going through our mind. This is why so many people love how they feel after a yoga session, whether its completely relaxed or energised, both or some way else.
Following are some of the suggestions I gave to help combat tension and stress in day to day life:
- Dedicate an area in your home where you can relax. You may like to have fresh flowers there, inspiring pictures, symbols of your faith (if you have one), crystals, a candle and so on. Just what ever makes you feel inspired. A place where you know you can go to, be quiet and leave the day behind.
- Simplify your life. Make a list of everything on your mind. Then ask - what is the most important thing right now? Next write the next action step to take in this area, and just focus on doing that. Watch how life unfolds one step at a time.
- Breathe. Deepen your inhale and lengthen your exhale, this will trigger the parasympathetic nervous system to work which sends the message to your brain, all is well, there is nothing to fear. You'll notice how much calmer you feel by doing this.
- Bring your mind into the present moment. Notice your feet on the floor. Pay attention to what is around you. So much tension is created by thinking too much in the past or about the future. Right here now is what matters.
- Repeat a positive affirmation to yourself. Something like; all is well, I am safe, I am, everything I need is always taken care of, I can handle anything.....find one that resonates with you.
- Allow yourself time each day to relax. Just lying on the floor for 5 minutes can be a wonderful break. Lying on the floor with your legs up the wall is a great yoga pose to do to calm your nervous system down, calm the mind and help you sleep.
- Have a positive meditation/ spiritual/ self help/ motivational book to read daily. I like to keep a couple by the bath to read an inspirational passage while I soak.
Feeling overwhelmed and stressed can be a trap, unless we do something to calm our minds and bodies down, it can build up and up until something happens, like an illness, forces us to stop. Just doing something little daily to relax and reset your mind in a positive direction will have a huge impact.