Yoga Love

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.

6 Yoga Poses to Help Aid Digestion After Thanksgiving Dinner!

If there was ever a day to turn a blind eye to your diet, it’s on Thanksgiving! With turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and plenty of pies to go around, there’s plenty of room for your cravings to be satisfied … but we all know that achy, tight feeling of full belly bloat. Thankfully, we have a few yoga poses to help aid digestion for you to add to your list of gratitude this year!

Here are six of the best yoga poses to help aid digestion after Thanksgiving dinner.

Legs Up the Wall Pose

Legs Up the Wall Pose.jpg

Photo from Yoga Journal

This pose starts off exactly how it sounds. Find a wall, lay down with your feet facing it, and move your body forward until your legs are resting up the wall at a vertical angle. You may want to experiment with props like blankets, pillows, and blocks for back comfort and pelvic elevation. Legs Up the Wall pose is helpful for digestion because it helps you move stagnant fluids and tension in your body thanks to gravity. It also helps regulate your blood pressure and is deeply relaxing! Try remaining in this pose for 10-15 minutes.

Supine Twists

Supine Twist.jpg

Photo from Yoga Basics

When you do Supine Twists on both sides of your body, it opens your hips and shoulders and stretches the back muscles and the spine. It also stimulates the kidneys, abdominal organs, urinary bladders, and intestines, which is ideal for digestion. To do a Supine Twist, lay down on the ground on your back, bend one knee, and cross it outside of the opposite foot. Use your hand to add slight pressure on the bent knee – this will help push it further toward the floor, giving you a good stretch. Your shoulders should remain squared and rooted to the floor. Your hand that is not on your knee should be extended, and your eyes should gaze toward that hand. Once you’re done, switch and twist to the other side!

Cat/Cow Pose

Cat Cow Pose.jpg

Photo from Popsugar

Cat/Cow pose is familiar to many regular yoga practitioners and offers a perfect gentle flow. It stretches your back and neck while activating and strengthening your organs, particularly your kidneys and adrenal glands. To practice Cat/Cow pose, start on your hands and knees, keeping your knees directly below your hips. Point your fingers forward. Slowly inhale as you curve your back upward your belly to the mat in Cow. Gaze upward. Then, exhale and draw your belly toward your spine, rounding your back toward the ceiling. This is Cat, because you’ll look like a cat stretching! Repeat 5-20 times.

Extended Puppy Pose

Extended Puppy Pose.jpg

Photo from Yoga Journal

Extended Puppy pose is a sort of cross between Child’s pose and Downward-Facing Dog. It lengthens your spine and stretches your body, giving your food a chance to move easily down your digestive track. To do this pose, start on your hands and knees, walk your hands forward a few inches, and curl your toes under. Exhale, stretch your bottom back, and stretch your hands out, keeping your elbows off the floor. Let your neck relax. Press your hands down and your bottom back to deepen the stretch.

Seated Forward Fold Pose

Seated Forward Fold Pose.jpg

Here is another great pose for stretching! Seated Forward Fold pose stretches your spine, shoulders, and hamstrings, stimulates your liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus, and improves digestion. Don’t worry if you can’t stretch all the way forward on your first try. The more you practice this pose, the more flexible you’ll get. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you, folding forward to grab the outsides of each feet (or your thigh or calf, however far you can reach). Slowly stretch further with each inhale. Stay in this pose for 1-3 minutes.

Savasana

Savasana.jpg







Ah, you knew this one was coming! Savasana typically happens at the end of your yoga class. This pose is the very best for a state of relaxation and allows you to gradually enter a meditative state to close out your day’s practice. Though Savasana is typically practiced by laying down flat on your back with your hands out by your side, you can alter your Savasana pose however is most comfortable for you. This pose is great for aiding in digestion as you slowly relax each muscle and open your diaphragm – and it’s also the perfect prelude to a long, after Thanksgiving nap!

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We hope you enjoy your day spent with your friends and family, and we are grateful for your support. What are you most grateful for this year? Learn more about Chasing Nirvana Yoga at www.chasingnirvanayoga.com, and connect with us today to learn how to bring onsite yoga and wellness classes to your office building, tenant-owned facility, and community.