You’d be forgiven if you think that life today reminds you of a hamster running around on their wheel in their cage. The faster that wheel turns, the quicker that the hamster has to run. Technology, although it has had astronomical benefits for our life, it’s also sped up the pace that things happen. We are expected to run many things simultaneously because it is thought that because apps and smart devices have made specific tasks ‘easier’ that we can divert our attention to other things.
However, the result of this is rather than making us less stressed it’s making us more stressed because there are so many processes that are happening that it’s challenging for us to keep up. We still need to monitor the processes that technology has taken over because, although it is very intuitive, it can’t make decisions about whether or not the task has been done correctly.
Yoga is an ancient exercise form which was developed many centuries ago. Together with specific positions (which are called asanas in Sanskrit) that work the body, yoga brings in an element which exercises the mind as well. This is called meditation.
The premise behind meditation is to quieten your mind and let all the strains and stresses go. During this quiet time, we listen to our bodies, hear what they are telling us, and feel the space which we find ourselves in. The banishing of stressful thoughts – such as what our bosses need us to do – helps us to eliminate the stress that we are feeling.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel stress-free after your first meditation session. It takes time and practice to cement the habit of meditation into your life and to reap the full benefits of it. There are many forms of meditation out there, so don’t think that you have to remain in one place, cross-legged and chanting ‘ohm’.
A popular alternative form of meditation is walking meditation. During this practice, you walk to a specific point, and while you’re doing this, you concentrate on what you’re doing. You make sure that you focus on your surroundings, the air and sun on your face and empty your mind of any extra thoughts. By honing your attention and emptying your mind, you can think more clearly and apply your mind to the challenges that you need to find solutions to.
Asanas to relieve anxiety
Easy Pose (Sukhasana) with Forward Bend
The addition of a forward bend intensifies the exhale, which leads to the relaxation response.
Sit in Easy Pose. Make sure that your shins are crossed and ensure that your right shin in front. Come into a slight forward bend. Remain here for five breaths and then put the other shin in front. Put your hands on the mat and then straighten both of your legs into a Standing Forward Bend.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) with Shoulder Opener
Forward bends increase the exhalation, which helps to relieve stress and also turn us inward. Also, with the arms behind the back, shoulder tension is released. This pose also assists with releasing the hamstrings, which can get extremely tense when you’re stuck in fight-or-flight mode.
When you are in Standing Forward Bend, utilise your front thigh muscles to pull your kneecaps up towards your hips actively. With your fingers interwoven and your arms behind your back, lift your arms away from your back. Hold for five breaths and then change the interlace by putting the other index finger on top. Remain for an additional five breaths. Put your hands to your hips, and your thumbs to the top of your butt. Drop the flesh of your butt to the floor to propel you up to stand. Take a giant step out to your right-hand side.
Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
This asana has the benefits of a forward bend with the comfort of your head touching a prop. This also releases some of the pressure in your head.
Turn your feet parallel to each other and put your hands on your hips. Inhale, lift your chest and, with an exhale, bend forward from your hip joints to come into a forward bend. Put your hands on the mat, shoulder-distance apart. Make sure that your fingers are in line with your toes. Release your head towards the mat. If your head doesn’t reach the mat, you can put it on a block. Maintain the pose for 10 breaths. Inhale and come to a flat back. Put your hands on your hips. After this, drop the flesh of your butt to come to stand. Heel-toe your feet together and step to the front of your mat to transition into Child’s Pose. Take your knees to the floor, sit on your heels, and fold forward with your head on the floor.
Yoga will bring in the benefit of elongating and stretching your body with a calmness of mind. If you’re searching for these two, then we recommend that you give yoga a shot!
To learn how you can become a Yoga instructor, please follow this link.