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How to Practice Being Present When Your Stress Levels Seem Impossible to Manage

Being Present

There is a quote that says, “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” This mantra is the perfect reflection of mindfulness, the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the present moment. Mindfulness and being present have many benefits, including stress reduction, positivity, increased focus, and improved memory.

Being present isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. The ability to completely be yourself and to be fully here without distraction is a powerful way to reshape your mind in a more positive direction. If you’ve ever felt stressed at work or about your future, read on! 

Once you become aware of the thoughts, feelings, or moods you are having, or where your attention is, and the content of those thoughts or feelings or moods or where your attention is fixated, you will notice which level of existence, state, condition or mood you are in at any given time. You will begin to also notice how often you are in the past, present or future.
— Knowledgism

Here's a situation we can all relate to. Say you work in an office and you know there is a job opening in the pipeline, one that would be your dream to land. You would have more creative freedom, more managerial responsibilities, and more money in your paycheck, which you may desperately need. You know that you’ll need to put in the work to stand out, and the uncertainty causes you great stress. You may ask yourself, “What if I don’t get the job?” or “If I don’t get the job, how will I manage my current financial situation?” Perhaps you even begin comparing yourself to other candidates, thinking, “Susan has worked hard this year and our manager seems to like her better. How do I stand a chance?”

“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” Reflect on this quote again for a moment. If you spend your day worrying about this potential promotion, you may not be spending as much time getting your work done to the best of your ability. You may bring your stress home to your family. You may even take on a palpable negative attitude in the office. However, if you bring yourself back to the present, you can learn to focus on exactly what is in your control at any given moment. You can observe yourself and improve yourself in tangible ways. You can clear your mind, reduce your stress, and adopt a more positive energy to carry you through. Ever heard of the Law of Attraction? This is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person's life. Always be sure you’re putting out positive vibes, and good things will come!

Here are three ways to stay present:

1. Breathe.

Try the 5x5 Breathing Exercise. Sit with your back straight and your hands in your lap. Breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, and breathe out for five seconds. Repeat this flow until you feel more calm, clear-headed, and aware. This will steady your heart rate and give you something else to focus on other than your stressors.

2.  Focus on your surroundings.

Here’s another counting exercise that many people suffering from anxiety disorders use to bring themselves back to the present. If you feel your stress mounting, take a deep breath and look around at your surroundings. Find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This works in a similar way to the 5x5 Breathing Exercise but also brings you back in touch with the body’s senses, allowing you to appreciate your being and how it supports you every day. 

3. Let go.

Stay in the present moment by letting go of tomorrow’s worries. There is another saying I like to abide by: “If it won’t matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes dwelling on it.” Similarly, if your problem isn’t something that can be fixed in five minutes, don’t allow it to cause you prolonged stress. Search for the steps you can take right now and check off those boxes. This will help you feel accomplished and will keep you moving in the right direction in a way you can manage. If your stress is caused by a person, practice forgiveness (this includes forgiving yourself!). And above all, if you’re trying your best, cut yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself and that energy will flow through to all aspects of your life.

Chasing Nirvana Yoga offers on-site yoga and wellness classes to decrease stress in community spaces and bring individuals back to the present moment. If you’re interested in learning more, or if you would like to speak with one of our experts for a personalized consultation, please visit us online at www.chasingnirvanayoga.com.

5 Yoga Poses to Start 2019 Off on the Right Foot

We’re officially living in 2019! How wonderful it is to celebrate the New Year. This is the perfect time to set new intentions and goals to carry you through the year ahead, particularly when it comes to your health. If you’re considering taking your yoga practice one step further (or if you’re taking your very first step!), here’s your sign!

We’ve compiled five yoga poses to bring you into the New Year on the right foot. We’d love to hear all about your New Year’s goals! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to share your intentions with our community!


1. Easy Pose

Easy Pose

Image from Yoga Journal

This pose may sound “easy,” but for many yogis, it’s anything but! Easy Pose is a great way to start your New Year in a calm state with a clear mind. Let all your stresses from last year go! To do this pose, sit on the floor (you can use a folded blanket or a yoga block under your sitting bones to adjust your height to your preference) and cross your shins. Let your legs stretch out slightly from your body, more so than your typical seated pose. Lengthen your spine and sit with your hands in a neutral position, such as face up on your knees. Alternate the cross of your legs if you decide to practice this pose for an extended period of time.

 

2. Warrior II Pose

Warrior II Pose

 Warrior II is an incredibly grounding pose that anchors you to the best parts of your past while still encouraging you to move forward. It helps with strength and concentration. Begin with your feet hips-width apart and your arms at your sides. Turn left, step your feet wide apart (make sure your heels are in line with each other), and turn your right foot outward about 90 degrees so your foot points toward the front of your mat. Anchor yourself in your feet and bend your right knee for support, letting your left leg extend long and strong. Reach your arms out, palms down, gaze straight, and keep your torso open. Inhale. Exhale.

 

3. Extended Triangle Pose

Extended Triangle Pose

 Image from DoYouYoga

Open your heart to the sky and give thanks to a new year! As you practice Extended Triangle Pose, you will be able to stretch deeper and deeper. This is an excellent pose for watching your progress and patting yourself on the back when you go one step further! To start, begin in a standing position and step or jump your feet out about 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach out, palms down. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right, about 75 degrees, and your right foot about 90 degrees. Align your heels. Bend from your hips to extend your torso over your right leg. Rest your right hand wherever is comfortable for you and stretch your left arm toward the ceiling to form a triangle. Press down on the soles of your feet to anchor further.

 

4. Chair Pose

Chair Pose

Image from Active.com

 Do you work in an office, or somewhere else where you sit for extended periods of time? If so, Chair Pose is the perfect New Year’s pose for you! This pose works your legs and glutes but also stimulates your heart chakra, bringing you into the new year with love and kindness. Start in a standing position and raise your arms to the sky. Exhale and bend your knees, leaning your torso forward to ground you. Tuck your tailbone toward the ground and push deeper, using your feet to ground you. Feel your power and take it with you into the year ahead!

 

5.  Tree Pose

Tree Pose

Image from Every Day Health 

Tree Pose is a fun way to test your strengths, and an even better way to respond positively toward your body, no matter if you stumble. Find your center, be kind to yourself, and practice healthy self-talk during this pose! Begin in a standing position and shift your weight to your left foot, keeping your inner foot firmly on the ground for balance. Slightly bend your right knee. Reach down, grab your right ankle with your right hand, and place your right foot against your inner left thigh. If you can’t quite reach, try placing your right foot on your left shin, but not on your left knee. Bring your hands palms together to your heart center and find your balance. This pose is often easier if you pick a fixed spot in front of you and gaze at it. If you wobble, smile and try again! Take this attitude with you into 2019!

Chasing Nirvana Yoga offers on-site yoga and wellness classes to offices, tenant-occupied buildings, and community spaces. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please visit www.chasingnirvanayoga.com.

5 Gifts for the Yogis in Your Life This Holiday Season

It’s so hard to believe that the holidays are already approaching and 2018 is coming to a close! This year has been filled with so much love, success, and of course, many namastes. We’re so thankful for your support at Chasing Nirvana Yoga, and we look forward to bringing in 2019 on a high note!

That said, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably in the midst of holiday shopping. If you’re still looking for holiday gift ideas for the yogis in your life, look no further. We’ve picked out five of our favorite gifts below to give you some #YogaInspo!

1. I Love Chakra Bracelets

I Love Chakra Bracelet.png

If the recipient of your gift is a yoga lover, they probably are familiar with the practice of balancing their chakras. The chakras are seven energy centers that serve different parts of the being. These energy centers are pockets of swirling energy that are align vertically down the center of an individual’s body, but sometimes, they can become unbalanced, causing health to suffer. Learn more in our past blog post! These chakra bracelets from I Love Chakra are made of crystals that correspond to each of the body’s chakras and can be bought singularly to serve one chakra or in stacks. Have fun mixing and matching based on what your yogi needs most!

Take a look at the selection on the I Love Chakra website!

 

2. MOGI On-the-Go Yoga Mat Bag

MOGI.jpg

MOGI is a quick-connect yoga mat bag bicycle pannier which allows you to easily attach your mat bag to your bike rack or travel luggage. It’s perfect for on-the-go yogis, cyclists, and travelers alike! Your loved one can use their MOGI bag to effortlessly take their mat with them anywhere they go. Its clip-and-go design makes MOGI the only yoga mat bag they’ll ever need for city life and adventure.

Purchase today on Amazon!

3. Smudging Kit

Smudging Kit.jpg

The yogi in your life might want to clear the energy in their house or workplace this holiday season, and a smudging kit is the perfect way to do that. Smudging is an ancient ceremony in which you burn plants like sage or wood like Palo Santo and use the smoke to cleanse an area with positive energy. You can buy a smudging kit like the one above on Amazon, or you can mix and match different smudging elements to make one of your own!

See what Amazon has to offer here.

4. “C’Mon Inner Peace” Yoga Shirt

Inner Peace Shirt.jpg

We’ve all been there … it’s one of those days, and yoga is the only thing that will do the trick! Your yogi will love this hysterical shirt from oTZIshirts on Etsy. There is no such thing as having too many clothes for your yoga class, and there’s definitely no harm in promoting your love of yoga off the mat!

Buy it here!

5. A Yoga Class Pack or Onsite Consultation

Yoga Class.png

Of course, what better to get your yogi than a yoga class pack to visit their favorite yoga studio? Most studios offer package deals, but if you’re not sure what studio they like best, try pre-paying for five different classes at five different studios! If your yogi is the entrepreneurial type, another great idea is to gift them a few onsite yoga classes for their office.

Check out Chasing Nirvana Yoga’s onsite yoga and wellness offerings, and set up a consultation to discuss a holiday gift!