“Stop and smell the flowers.” This old adage holds great truth and advice especially for the over-worked, over-stressed citizens of the modern world. We fill our days with fast paced activities and chores that lead to frustration, increased weight, and depression. Trying to cram too many activities in each day can have disastrous effects. Many ask how they can ward off the ill effects of stress. Besides reducing your activities you can look to the beneficial effects of meditation.
There are many ways to meditate from deep breathing to calming exercise such as yoga. Yoga has become a popular choice for many celebrities. Celebrities have stress upon their life on a grand scale. They not only have the unyielding demands of work, but also the critical and watchful eye of the critics, fans, and paparazzi. You may not have cameramen taking snapshots of you going to the grocery store, but you can have comparable levels of stress. Therefore, why not follow the celebrity craze in yoga and see if it works for you.
Yoga comes in many forms and difficulty levels. You can practice yoga at a health club or by watching yoga videos. It is recommended that beginning yogis take classes at a gym or health club. It is crucial to perform the postures correctly. A certified yoga instructor will help you to properly align your body and point out any areas for improvement. This feedback is essential so that you can receive the maximum benefits of yoga. An instructor can also talk you through meditation helping you to clear your mind and thus reduce your stress.
The basics of yoga cover four steps: breathing, meditation, posture, and relaxation. Let’s focus on the meditation aspect of yoga. The purpose of meditation is to free your mind of worries. You literally want to wipe your mind slate clean. This can prove to be difficult as thoughts about the dry cleaning you need to pick up or the work report you need to finish race around your mind. A yoga instructor or audio tape can lead you through the steps to achieving deep meditation. They will lead you through focusing on the present.
When you focus on the present you automatically release any tensions that come from activities you need to do or things you are worried about from the past. Meditation allows you to look into yourself. Your mind becomes clear as stress and tension are swept away. This is sometimes referred to as “centering” the body. Try to listen to your body. Feel how the air moves from your belly through your nose as you inhale and exhale. You are getting back to the basics of life and the building blocks of your existence.
Classic yoga meditation involves sitting cross-legged on the floor with your spine straight. Rest your hands, palm face up, on your legs. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Try to breathe from the center of your body up and out through your nose. Make sure to relax your muscles, especially your jaw. In times of stress we tend to tighten our face causing jaw muscles to become sore. Take heed of the present moment. Remove the past and future from your mind.
When you become comfortable with yoga meditation breathing techniques you can move on to daily affirmations. Sit in your meditation pose and breathe deeply to allow your mind and body to relax. Next quietly say affirmations that are broad as well as personalized to your situation. For example, you can say “I will center my thoughts on the present.” Follow this by saying “I will listen to myself breathe.” It is important to find daily affirmations that will center you as well as revolve around the positive aspects of life. Finish each daily affirmation session by being grateful for all the joyous aspects of your life. If you have time, try to meditate five to ten minutes daily.
Your yoga postures will improve with meditation practice. Strive to engage in the deep breathing and affirmation techniques daily from the comfort of your own home. Supplement these meditation techniques with an actual yoga class. Not only will you gain valuable instruction from the yoga teacher, but you will also gain support and camaraderie of fellow yogis. This support group can help to alleviate stress and keep you interested in improving your yoga skills.
Ideally, you should attend a yoga class two to three times per week. However, this may not work with your schedule. Check to see if your local gym or health club has a diverse yoga schedule. Many health clubs offer yoga classes for varying difficulty levels in the morning, afternoon, and evenings.
The combination of daily meditation and yoga classes will bring you closer to a stress free life. Your mind and body will flourish from the healthy benefits of meditation and yoga. Now take a deep breathe and get started on your journey to stress free city.