It’s difficult not to look at the headlines on the news lately. You want to be in the know, and to do so, the daily news is something that helps keep you there. But it’s essential to give your brain and body a break from the frightening, devastating, and truly unimaginable circumstances that we are all living in right now.
According to Jennifer Shannon, LMFT and author of Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind, setting ten minutes aside to worry, so that you can take a “different stance towards worrying” can be useful. It is a plan that leaves you in control, not your “monkey mind.” Just as you set time to worry, you should also be scheduling some time to relax, both Yoga and Meditation can help you do just that.
Yoga and meditation are nothing new to society; both Yoga and meditation have originated over 5,000 years ago. These two practices can have a very positive effect on your mind and body and essentially cost nothing.
Yoga is the Sanskrit word itself, which means union (of mind, body, and soul). It’s something I’ve been practicing now for about almost 20 years, with very successful results for my sometimes anxiety-ridden mind.
At first, I thought Yoga consisted solely of downward-dog, and strenuous eagle or tree poses. Still, as I’ve taken new and different classes I’ve learned that there are so many kinds of Yoga, there is truly something for everyone.
In my younger days, I enjoyed a lot of Bikram yoga classes, otherwise know as hot Yoga, and would often leave feeling renewed. I have slowly moved through all types (Aerial, Kundalini, Vinyasa, to mention a few) and now prefer restorative or yin classes. Since turning 40, I’ve found these classes to be a less strenuous type of Yoga, more relaxing, and let’s keep it real; restoration is what this old body needs these days.
I’ve been intrigued at how this practice can change your frame of mind, or as they say in restorative and yin yoga, calm your nervous system, I tend to have an overactive one.
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
My favorite application for mediation is Oprah & Deepak, a 21-day mediation experience. This application is, by far, the best mediation experience, you can also customize your journey based on your personal needs. If you are a beginner to mediation, the application, Headspace, is excellent. It lets you start slow and build from there.
My acupuncturist once told me, “If you calm the body, the mind will follow.” Karen Maezen Miller, author of Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden, states either stillness or motion can break the chain of stress you are feeling. “For stillness, it’s just a matter of trying to quiet the mind by taking some deep breaths. Doing this will bring attention away from the head and into the gut. But taking a walk can also help to clear your mind. You have to do so with intention and let the movement itself quiet your thoughts.” When it comes to relieving anxiety and stress, the body seems to lead the way. Relax the body, and the mind will follow.
Now is the time to try to work these amazingly beneficial exercises into your daily routine, now that we have the time. It takes just twenty-one days for something to become a habit, and there is truly no better habit than Yoga and Meditation.
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