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Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

Yoga to the rescue

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

For over 12 years, yoga has amazed me with its intricacies of abatement. ‘Splain that one to me, Lucy.

OK, I mean the lessening of my own intolerances, decrease in back pain, and reduction in my podium-thumping ‘me, me, me’ and ‘mine, mine, mine’ way of thinking.

A host of other benefits lie in its mystery, like flexibility in an overly muscular body I thought would never see or feel a ‘stretch’ much less to a full wheel backbend or a forward fold without pain.

Then, there’s strength. Oh, not the bicep-curling or ‘90-degree leg press with two 45-pound plates on each side’ kind of strength, but the power of soft, steady concentration and focus that lets me press up into a handstand and gently pulse with the intensity from within the tone of my muscles, including the muscles of my brain.

That back pain I deal with? Alignment. With awareness of our misalignments, we gently bring our bodies into the same general space as our optimal blueprint, that energetic double of us. When bones are aligned, muscles strengthen around the appropriate alignment and pain diminishes.

Action. It’s the steady beat of muscle energy (strength to hug the midline) combined with the right quotient of organic energy (expanding from the center) that keeps me steady on and off the mat.

And I clearly can’t leave out attitude. The quality of the heart that yoga lets me slide into, that leaves me calmer. Reason? Yoga quells the ‘fight or flight’ stimulus to our nervous system and evokes the calmer side, the resting side, the peaceful and contented side of our bodies, mind and soul. The deep breathing we evoke in our practice actually creates an abatement of stress. We breathe more fully and expansively.

In so doing, stress is alleviated. Most of the time. There are days. And when I am enveloped in a road rage moment, I pause and remember my practice. Then take in a very deep breath, release my grip on the steering wheel, and offer blessings and gratitude to that crazy-ass driver. He may have just saved my life by slowing me down to his foolishness. Thank you.

I’d love to hear your amazing yoga abatement stories. How has yoga helped you in your life?

A drop in the ocean

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Being by the water instantly soothes. Circulating stress molecules ebb right out of the body. Breathing in moist and salty air, inhaling the scent of surf, feeling the purposeful breeze flowing over skin, visually captivated by the water’s subtle movement and boats bobbing silently in the sea, I soften.

As I gaze out upon this vastness of blue peace, I’m reminded of the quote ‘People understand that the Ocean contains many drops. Less understood is the concept that a single drop contains the Ocean.’ No matter how small I feel next to this largeness, I am That largeness. And That’s soothing.

In Feng Shui, the water element helps restore balance, harmony and prosperity in your environment. Water features move and stimulate Chi, attracting the cosmic life energy. All of the elements support each other in the way that follow the supreme order of the Universe.

Oceans are the ultimate water elements, rivers, lakes and streams close seconds. Sans an ocean, indoor wall or table top fountains and waterfalls circulate and refresh the Chi while pleasing the eye with movement and ear with movement’s sound. Any reflective surface simulates the water element. Think mirrors, reflective metal and glass and crystals. Art work depicting waterfalls, boats on water, or a simple blue canvas (or charcoal grey and midnight blue) instills the effects of water on our mind and in our heart and soul.

In our hustle and bustle world comprised of wood, metal, earth and fire, adding water to your environment in any form deepens your commitment to living within a calm, peace, and tranquil inner world.

 

Going Mental?

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Glass of green tea on coaster, close-up

Five cups compared to one cup of green tea a day cut mental stress by 20% according to a Japanese study with 42,000 participants published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Now that sounds dandy to me.

A rounded tablespoon of raw sugar or a giant squeeze of agave nectar or honey, plus an aromatic jasmine or tropical green tea, and I’m all set on a cold winter day (in summer, after steeping the tea, I pour it over ice and enjoy it cool). Other de-stressors, like reading a good book, focused breathing exercises, a whole foods diet, walking and yoga are perfect adjuncts to green tea.

Chrysalis – A Boy and a Butterfly

Monday, August 31st, 2009

ChrysalisOne day a boy found the cocoon of a butterfly and a small opening appeared. He sat and watched it for a very long time as it struggled to force its way through a tiny opening. All of the sudden it stopped, appearing to have gotten as far as it could on its own and could go no further.

The boy decided to help the butterfly and with a pair of scissors, snipped away the last remaining bit of cocoon.  The butterfly emerged easily. When the butterfly emerged it had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The boy watched and waited for the butterfly to take flight but that did not happen. The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with shriveled wings and a swollen body and he never did fly.

What the boy did not understand in his kindness and haste to help the butterfly was that the restricting cocoon and the butterfly’s struggle were all a part of the universal plan. The restriction of the cocoon and the butterfly’s struggle would give the butterfly strength so that when free, the butterfly could force the fluid from his body into his wings so that once free, he would be able to fly.

We all have the crysalis around us.  Sometimes struggles are what we need in our lives.  If Grace allowed us to go through our lives without any struggles, if She shattered our chrysalis, it would cripple us and we would never fly.

Like the butterfly, a deep longing arises inside us to push out against the pressures of life.  Against this stress, we become more open.  We have the capacity to draw in energy to equalize against the pressure.  We are drawn into the strength of the power of Grace. We are pulled more strongly into the brightness inside. 

 The crysalis is like a manifestation of Grace.  Without stress, we do not grow.  Offer a prayer to the spacious energy.