By Faye Martins
When you are feeling a lot of stress and pressure, a sense of gratitude is the answer to recovery. Often times taking a moment to do something simple and slow down your thoughts can be really beneficial. Clearly, we are not talking about canceling every event on your schedule. However, some experts suggest leaving town for an indefinite period of time to get a break from it all. Yet, we all have obligations to some degree. We understand that sometimes you just don’t have the luxury of running away to find peace at the other end of the world.
Accessible Practice and Training
Fortunately, right in your own home, there is a truly accessible path for finding inner peace—one that is open to anyone of any age and one that can change your life forever. Online yoga videos make classes accessible to all of us. It is important to claim your victories, no matter what they are. Yoga is a nice way to celebrate small accomplishments because it reinforces the idea that wholesomeness is good and beautiful. Yoga has amazing benefits for the body, which include reducing excessive stress, improving muscle tone, improving balance, and reducing back pain.
Excessive Sitting Today
Yoga is the perfect formula for working out your muscles and achieving new postures while releasing stress in a non-confrontational way. Yoga helps release pent-up tension from days spent hunched over a desk. Consequently, people sit in cars too long. Moreover, there is all that other sitting we do during the day. If you’re highly stressed or experiencing pain in any area of your body, practicing yoga makes sense. Therefore, yoga poses have medicinal benefits during and after a training session.
Making Friends with Your Mind
Good health is an inside job. Practicing yoga or meditating every day not only boosts your mood and immune system but also makes you feel better psychologically. Additionally, remember there’s really no reason to push yourself past the point of exhaustion. Rest is a vital part of any self-care routine that helps you heal and regenerate. Get outside or call friends and be social. Socializing has been shown to release endorphins, the brain’s happy neurotransmitters, which help you relax and recover. Take a walk, run some errands or grab a coffee with a friend — I bet you’ll feel much better.
Quality of Life
It doesn’t have to be for a long time either — lasting less than 60 minutes can significantly improve mood. If you find yourself feeling down, get some sleep. Research has shown a “dose-dependent” relationship between sleep and quality of life, meaning that too little or too much can both negatively impact your mood. Talk to someone. If you are feeling down and can’t seem to snap out of it, consider reaching out by talking to a friend, family member, or coworker that you trust. The advice of someone that knows and cares about you can do wonders.
One Step at a Time
We often forget to celebrate every little step. In a yoga session, you’ll feel energized and fulfilled as the low-intensity movement helps focus on each aspect of your mind and body, so it’s clear why yoga is incredibly relaxing. The end result may not be spectacular, but those who take the time to practice know that there are many small victories within their practice.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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Cultivating a Sense of Gratitude
By Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
As a Yoga instructor, cultivating a sense of gratitude in your Yoga classes is particularly appropriate during any holiday season. Gratitude is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a sense of appreciation or thankfulness. To feel a sense of thankfulness also elicits a profound sense of being blessed as we walk through the world. When we become aware of the many blessings and gifts that surround us on a daily basis, it is easy to lead our Yoga students into a sense of grateful abundance.
One of the primary foundations for a grateful mind and heart is the awareness of how many blessings surround us every day. When you are cultivating a sense of gratitude in your Yoga classes, it is important to take a moment or two, at the beginning or end of a class, to allow your students a few minutes of repose as they contemplate the many blessings in their own lives. You may even wish to facilitate a brief sharing among your students of different aspects of their lives for which they are grateful.
Appreciation of Daily Life
If you have a student or two who is unable to think of any positive aspects of his or her life for which to be grateful, gently guide them to think of the many “little” blessings we all take for granted each day. For example, fresh water to drink and clean air to breathe. Remind them that the mere act of being able to physically and financially attend a Yoga class is a luxury many others may not be so fortunate to enjoy. Even the ability to see the beauty around them is a pleasure that visually impaired individuals are unable to behold.
Exercises for Thankfulness
When your Yoga students tap into the great abundance, blessings, and pleasures of life that they experience daily, their hearts will expand with gratitude. Some of the Yoga poses which facilitate a profound sense of gratitude are vigorous standing asanas, such as Sun Salutations and the Warrior Series. These poses remove deeply held tension and increase the flow of energy throughout the entire body. Many of these poses also expand the entire heart region, which facilitates a profound sense of emotional openness and a release of negative thoughts and beliefs that prevent a sense of gratitude from arising.
© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division