Yoga and Other Stress Relief Techniques

When throughout life we all deal with stress, it’s a natural way our body works, we use stress for the creative, purpose driven motivation and in some cases, our very survival depends on how we react to our stress. However, when that same motivating stress turns against us and makes us overwhelmed, we need to find healthy ways of releasing that stress. For a lot of people, simply watching a movie or being around friends is a way that they release stress, but that only seems to be a temporary solution and may not work in all situations. There are proven stress relieving techniques, which include various forms of meditation as well as the ancient arts of yoga and Tai Chi.

Meditation

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When looking for a way to relieve that stress as well as promote good health, you can look no further than the ancient Indian art of yoga.  There is a plethora of yoga styles taught by many more instructors who have dedicated their lives to this practice of mind, body and spirit. Some of the most well known styles of yoga include Satyananda, which is a spiritually based form of yoga that focuses on the acts of meditation and gentle movements specifically made for the beginner and those who are looking for a more meditation based form of yoga. Another well-known form of yoga that is better known is Hatha yoga which again, another introductory form of yoga as long as you look for a class that is designed for the beginners because it can get advanced quickly. Finally, for those that find an effective workout to be a great stress reliever, there is power yoga, which is becoming very popular in the west. It combines the workout routine of modern fitness with the spirituality that yoga is known for around the world. If you are unsure about which form of yoga is best for you, it doesn’t hurt to do some research online or call a local studio and speak with an instructor who will help you guide your yoga practice in the right direction.

Another popular Eastern stress relief technique is the millennia old Tai Chi which started in China. There are hundreds of forms of Tai Chi that are used for just about any health concern as well as a self-defense. With slow relaxing movements and focused concentration, Tai Chi in America  has now been used more as a meditation and stress relieving practice. There is a wide selection of schools and teachers who can help guide you in the right direction. However, keep in mind that although you can buy a DVD for both yoga and Tai Chi and learn it on your own, it is best to be taught by a competent teacher who can guide you through the sometimes complicated movements and proper breathing techniques in order to get the most out of your practice.

For those who are looking for more ways that don’t involve spending money, there are plenty of other techniques that will make that stress melt away with discipline and a little effort on your part. The practice of meditation has been found in many of the Eastern religions and their proven ways of relaxing the mind have made their way to America and offer calm and relaxing stress relief in this hectic life.

One of the easiest forms of meditation is the deep breathing meditation. It is easy and effective for those who are experiencing shortness of breath and can be done whenever you are alone. Sit in a room by yourself, be sure to get comfortable and make sure that your back is straight, place a hand on your stomach and your chest and inhale through your nose and exhale out of your mouth. If you find your mind wandering, then try playing some relaxing music. It’s just that simple, breath in, breath out.

Another meditation technique that has its roots in Buddhism is what’s known as mindfulness meditation. Find yourself in a relaxing position, sitting on the floor with your back straight, some prefer the Lotus position, but whatever is comfortable for you. The next step is to focus on something. It can be internal or external; there are some that use a candle or a stick of incense. The most important thing is to not be distracted or bothered by your thoughts as they come and go. The point of this practice is to be mindful of all that is around you, the sounds and smells of the room, the thoughts that come and go. This is an ancient meditation practice that has its roots in both Hinduism and Buddhism. This is a relatively simple practice that is easy to learn but difficult to master. It requires both concentration and dedication.

A more new-age form of meditation is what’s known as visualization meditation, which is just like it sounds – a form of meditation that you sit quietly and picture something relaxing. As with all meditations, sit in a room in a comfortable position with your back straight, with this meditation, you can either choose to have your eyes open or closed. In your seated position, imagine something soothing, anything that is peaceful to you, a parent’s house, a field, the ocean, anything you can think of you that puts you at ease. Breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth and focus on every aspect of this scenario. Music is also helpful with this form of meditation, something calming and relaxing to help put you in the right mood to picture your peaceful place.

So now that you have some ideas of what will work for you in reducing your stress, how do you go about putting these practices into your life? The first thing that you have to do is decide when you are going to do them, some people say every day, some say every other day, and some say once a week, it all depends on you and your level of dedication. One of the best ways to practice regularly is to set a specific time when you are going to do this and stick to it. It is very easy to miss a day and say that you will do it tomorrow; this is a mistake that a lot of people make and often find them slowly fading out of their routine until they do nothing at all. Even so, if that does happen, go easy on yourself, if you are really dedicated, you will find your way. It’s about progress not perfection – no one becomes a master in one day. Another common sense tip is not to practice while you are sleepy; if you are practicing a meditation technique, and you are half awake then you will find yourself just flat out asleep!

So when you are stressed out, and the world is getting to you more than it should, remember that there are a lot of holistic ways of treating your stress. Stress is an interesting animal. It makes us as humans accomplish some amazing things, but it can also be dangerous when it becomes overwhelming – it can lead to many complicated health problems. So don’t be afraid to go through a trial-and-error phase when looking for a way to treat your overabundance of stress, there is a different answer for everybody, you just have to find what’s right for you.

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