Thursday, 24 May 2012

How Yoga Keeps you Healthy .. & Sane!

You've probably noticed that life doesn't always go to plan .. well, the plan you had in your mind for how you'd like your day/week to turn out.   

The trouble is, when plans go adrift because of something out of our control, getting stuck in traffic or a supplier missing a deadline, our immediate response is to feel annoyed or frustrated.   But as you know, annoyance & frustration increase our anger levels which in turn creates feelings of stress & tension.     So how can Yoga help in these moments? .....

The very next time you feel your anger or your stress levels rising, try these simple yogic techniques:

1) Start becoming more aware of how you are breathing.   If you notice your breath is shallow (in upper chest only), quiet or even rapid, immediately take deeper, slower in-breaths and longer slower out breaths through the mouth.  Do this at least 12 times.   This technique instantly promotes a deep inner release of tightness & tension and stimulates your bodies relaxation response which soothes and calms the secretion of stress hormones into our body.

2) If you are near a chair -sit down & try these simple yoga poses that help release tension in the spine .. which is where we tend to 'knot up' when we feeled stressed & angry:

* Place both feet on the floor, gently & slowly twist your upper torso to the left on an outbreath, hold the twist for a few breaths then, slowly twist to the other side on an outbreath.   Repeat these for at least 1 minute until you begin to feel your spine/back feeling at ease.

* Stay sitting & fold forward over your legs.  Rest your hands on your lower legs or floor if you can reach.   Relax your upper body completely.    Breathe slow & deep in this forward fold.  Close your eyes to help you 'go within' & take a short break from the stressful situation around you.   Hold for at least 1 minute before folling up slowly.  

Forward bends instantly calm & quieten the mind.  When folding forward you are withdrawing your senses away from stimulations of the 'external' world whilst also gently stretching the back muscles & increasing space between each spinal vetebrae thus relieving tension. 

* Sitting with your back snugly up against the back of the chair & gently lean backwards through your upper back & shoulders.  Relax your shoulders.   If you neck is free from injury, gently look up to the ceiling too - breathe deeply through the nose or mouth for as long as you comfortably hold the position.    

Backbends deliciously lengthen the front of the body and open the heart & lung space thus freeing any tension & tightness that has crept around the rib cage and diaphragm.

I hope this advice helps to keep you calm and centred when you next feel frustrated that 'things' are not going to plan!

Enjoy!  Come visit us sometime for a Yoga Break in Spain

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