Recovering from family drama. Post-holiday crowds at the stores. The financial pinch from buying all those holiday gifts. The cleanup after hosting your in-laws for two weeks. The temptation to eat all that leftover food in one sitting. The new year can start out stressful!
Summer is a time for relaxation and fun with more open schedules, warmer weather, outdoor activities and vacations. However, there can also be a sense of pressure and stress in trying to meet our expectations of a laid-back season.
Just the other day, I looked at my calendar and felt overwhelmed by all of the activities on it. Delving deeper, I realized that I needed to create some space to simply be: read a book, go deeper into my meditation practice, savor the smell of a peach as I cut into it or the smell of flowers while sitting in my yard.
Taking the time to be present in the moment is a beautiful practice in its own right, and yoga and meditation are two ways achieve that goal by creating a space within, bringing your attention inward and turning your thoughts away from distractions.
When I first began practicing yoga in 1983, my teachers didn’t just tell me to breathe; they gave me explicit instructions on how to breathe, how to feel the sensations of breath, and how to become familiar with the muscles of respiration. When I began studying the Ashtanga style of yoga at age 22, I was introduced to ujayii pranayama, or the triumphant breath. It was a complete revelation to me.
There are an infinite number of exercises we can do with the breath, but the fundamental one that we yogis all come back to time and time again is to lie down in savasana (relaxation or corpse pose) and observe the breath with as little manipulation as possible. In this video from our online yoga club, Colleen and I walk you through three versions of savasana, with do’s and don’ts plus tips on using a simple prop and adjustments to help completely relax your body and mind.
When we’re stressed we overeat. We have a hard time sleeping. These reactionary ways of dealing with stress are usually automatic — and they put even more stress on your body in the long run. But you can take a proactive approach to stress management this holiday. Try one or more of these five steps I’ve seen help my clients the most:
- Right-click to download a free sample podcast from the Gaiam Yoga Club with Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee
Holidays! Uggghhh. How do we navigate this season of so many mixed emotions? What is the key to our sanity when all is so chaotic?
Back in my college days I took a music listening course, thinking that it would be an enjoyable easy credit. Little did I know that I would be required to listen to hours of music not of my choice, and listen for structure and story, and then be tested on my analysis of the music. I am sad to say, I did not appreciate the course.