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Stress Lab

November 3, 2017

Welcome to the Stress Lab!

If there is one thing that defines our work experience today, it’s stress. It can be exhausting. If we’re not proactive, it can really mess with our health. It can compromise our immune system as well as our creativity, productivity and cognitive capabilities.
Come spend some time in the Stress Lab, where you can learn new techniques and tools to integrate into your life to finally help you get a grip on defusing stress

Method 1: Energy Meditation

reiki-moving-meditation-steps

Steps to do the Energy Moving Meditation

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take 3 deep breathe in and out and just be quiet for a minute, close your eyes too.
  2. Now bring both of your hands up about 6″ in front of your heart. Both palms facing each other being about 8″-10″ apart from each other.
  3. Stay for another minute or two, eyes still closed, breathing calmly and focus on your hands. You may feel after a while some tingling, warmth, or coolness, feel the energy flow between your hands. If you don’t feel anything don’t worry it can take time, don’t force it.
  4. Now move both hands way up, also breathing in, until both arms are stretched out. Turn the palms of your hands outward.
  5. Now breathe out and by doing so swing your arms around in a circle and bring your hands back where you started from, in front of your heart.
  6. Now, breathe in again and by doing so face the palm of your hands down to the floor and by exhaling motion your hands 3 x towards the floor. This is sending the energy into the ground also grounding us.
  7. Bring your hands back as demonstrated in # 2.
  8. Start again doing all the steps. Repeat these steps for a whole set 3x.
  9. Now, you start a chant and the chants I am giving you are just guidelines if you get more comfortable with all this you can create and use your chants.
  10. Holding your hands in front of your heart as described in # 2. Instead of concentrating on your breath cycle when stretching your arms above, you will say “I am fully grounded in this life, my life” by doing this you will follow the steps of # 4-6, repeat this chant 3x.
  11. End the Moving Meditation by doing the moving once again concentrating on the breath moving the hands swinging around and move it into the ground when exhaling, repeat 3x. Stand still for a minute keeping your arms at your side. Feel your body, feel the whole YOU.

 

These steps would be a whole set and it can take 5-10 minutes depending on how many mantras you personally like to add. Do as many sets as you like and feel guided to.

Over time you will experience how calming and refreshing this Moving Meditation can be and what a positive impact it will have on your mind and therefore on your whole persona.

Method 2: Sitali- Cooling Breath Exercise

Sitali, meaning cool breath, is a Yogic breathing method that lowers the fire energy or body’s internal temperature. This is a breathing practice for staying calm and cool calming anxiety and settling the body

  1. Come to a cross-legged seat
  2. Hangs to touch in prayer position
  3. Separate the fingers leaving the thumb and pinky connected- creating a lotus shape
  4. Curl the tongue or create an “u” shape.
  5. Breath IN through the curled tongue
  6. Breath OUT through the nose sending the energy to the flower.

Repeat 26 times.

Method 3: Restorative & Yin Yoga Poses

Whether it’s in your hips, hamstrings, or all in your head, tension has a way of accumulating as we hustle through the day-to-day. But there are ways to reclaim some very necessary “me” time with just a few simple steps.

Restorative yoga prioritizes stillness, relaxation, and a calmer state of mind, even more so than more traditional forms of yoga. These restorative yoga poses will calm and reset your entire body and mind to prepare you for ultimate relaxation.

Child’s Pose

  1. Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
  2. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs. Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points toward the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
  3. Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor. Feel how the weight of the front shoulders pulls the shoulder blades wide across your back.
  4. Child’s Pose is a resting pose. Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Beginners can also use Balasana to get a taste of a deep forward bend, where the torso rests on the thighs. Stay in the pose for 1 to 3 minutes. To come up, lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.
  5. Take the pose deeper by placing two blocks a little shorter than mat width distance. Place the elbows and back of the triceps onto the blocks. Bring the hands to touch and place the thumbs on the spine. Lower the head between the blocks.

Benefits

  • Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain when done with head, and torso supported

Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

This pose is a passive, supported variation of the Shoulderstand. For your support, you’ll need a block, thickly folded blankets or a firm round bolster.

  1. Start by setting up a cozy space around a wall– my personal favorite is to just lie in bed with my legs up the headboard. Next, shimmy your hips as close to the wall as possible, then start walking your feet up the wall until your body is in a somewhat L-shaped position. Make any adjustments to facilitate a more relaxing space– maybe place a pillow under your head, or let your arms rest on your belly or out to the sides. At this point, focus on your breath– try elongating your breath, taking a deep, slow inhale through your nose and a deep, slow exhale through your nose. Try to stay in the pose for at least 5 minutes for optimal benefits.

Supported Backbend

 You can practice it on its own after spending time with a rounded upper back, such as after driving, gardening, or time spent at your desk.
Helps relieve:
  1. Stiffness in the upper back
  2. Tightness in the front chest and belly
  3. Tightness and stiffness in shoulders (especially version 2)
  4. Improving breathing capacity
  5. An antidote for time spent working with a rounded upper back, such as factory work, restaurant work, deskwork, gardening, driving, etc.
  6. Improving poor posture, or text neck
  7. Fatigue or depression, as the pose has mild energizing and uplifting effects.

– While sitting on the ground, place a medium-height block behind you beneath where shoulder blades will lay and place another block behind that one to use as a pillow for the head.  Allow the body to gently rest on the blocks, adjusting their placement until you are comfortable, with arms resting on either side. Stay here for at least ten deep breaths. Start with blocks on medium height and adjust from there. For deeper shoulder opening, take the shoulder blade block to the medium height or remove it all together and rest head in clasped hands with elbows wide (pictured).

Yin Yoga Poses

Yin is an introspective practice that offers a chance to turn inward and nurture the calm and quiet. It is a practice in stillness, patience, and non-reactivity.

Through yin yoga, we become adept at self-care. For healthy range of motion, layers of connective tissue must allow muscles to glide over each other. But injury, habitual posture in daily life, and aging, among other factors, can bind these connective tissues together, creating so-called adhesions and restricting that movement between the sliding surfaces of the muscles. Like a traffic jam, adhesions block the flow of nutrients and energy through the body, causing pain and limiting mobility. Holding poses that gently lengthen the muscles and fascia helps break up adhesions, and applying mild stress to joints and connective tissues can increase their range of motion.

Hold each pose for 1-3 minutes. Beginners- hold the pose 30 seconds- 1 minute.

King Pigeon Pose:

  1. Come to all fours with your hands below your shoulders, knees below your hips. Bring your left knee to touch your left wrist. Keep your left thigh parallel to the side of your mat and inch your left foot forward until it’s just in front of your right hip. If your hips allow, walk your left foot closer to the front of your mat to create a more intense stretch.
  2.  Slide your right leg toward the back of your mat and lower both hips toward the floor. As you lower your pelvis, be sure that your hips don’t spill to the left. Look over your shoulder and make sure your back leg is extended straight. Press the top of your back foot into the floor to more deeply stretch your hip flexors. Stay here, with your arms straight and your hands alongside your hips, for 2 to 4 breaths, letting your hips settle toward the floor and observing the sensations in your lower body.
  3. Walk your arms forward Press your hands firmly into the floor as if pushing away the ground. Complement this action by rooting down through your front shin and the top of your back foot. Feel how this increases the opening in your front hip and back thigh.

Benefits of Dragon Pose

  1. Dragon Pose is a great stretch for the hip flexors, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps.
  2. Since the hip and pelvis area is the foundation of alignment in so many yoga poses, moving the hips through their full range of motion ensures that your body and your practice remain healthy and strong.

Dragon Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. On an exhale, step your right foot forward to the outside (pinky finger) edge of your right hand. Both arms should be to the left of the right leg.
  2. Lower your left knee down onto the ground and release the top of your left foot. Take a look down to ensure that the right knee isn’t moving past the right ankle, and distribute the weight evenly across both hips.
  3. Sink your weight down into your hips and check in with your body. If you feel comfortable, lower down onto both forearms. Keep the chin lifted and the chest open.
  4. To move even deeper into the pose, curl your left toes under and press up into the ball of the left foot. Actively lift the inner left thigh and press the left heel back while reaching the chest forward.
  5. Remain in your expression of the pose for 5 to 10 breaths. To come out, plant your palms down on the mat and step your right foot back to Downward-Facing Dog, resting there for several breaths before repeating on the other side.

Butterfly  and Half Butterfly Pose

Method 4: Guided Mediation

Meditation is a practice of aligning your mind, body and spirit. Guided meditation, deep relaxation and mind-body techniques are not passing fads, trends, or New Age nonsense. They are researched and proven approaches that have lasting benefits for radiant health, happiness and self-empowerment.

The following guided meditation is just over 7 minutes long. Find a comfortable place to sit, push play and discover the benefits for yourself! Remember, mediation is a practice. At any time you lose focus or get distracted, simply guide the focus back to the breath.

Push Play!

We don’t have to let stress take over. It doesn’t have to run the show.  We hope you have enjoyed experimenting in the stress lab. We challenge you to incorporate these new tools and techniques into your daily life to help you defuse stress, and keep a balance between work and rest.

*To earn your 50 make-up points, please leave a comment below, explaining what you have learned in the Stress Lab, and the techniques you are going to implement to help you defuse stress.

 

Thank you visiting the Stress Lab!

-Namaste

Denise and Emily

 

8 responses to “Stress Lab”

  1. Cindy Hennefer says:

    Meditation is something I already regularly do; however, I will try implementing some of the yoga poses (I’ve never done yoga) to see how that contributes so lower my stress level. Thanks for the tips and information regarding how the different poses help!

  2. Crleen Walker says:

    This was very informative. I have never done yoga before and I really like some of these techniques. I am going to start with some of the one I can do and work up to maybe all of them. Our lives are so busy we need to stop, relax and get grounded.

  3. Alicia Smith says:

    Thanks for these tips. I’m going to incorporate the breathing exercises and stretches.

  4. Kathy Romero says:

    I have never done Yoga before and some of these poses I’m not sure about, but I can understand how they can benefit the body and mind “)

  5. Aaron Whitehead says:

    I frequently use guided meditation to try and relieve some stress and I have seen some benefits of that. Like others, I have never tried yoga before but I am going to start to implement some of these poses in my meditation routines. Thank you for the great advice.

  6. Kelly Adams says:

    For the past few months I have done the deep breathing routine early in the morning when I take the dog out in the back yard. I have recently started incorporating some meditation along with the breathing. I will not try and incorporate some poses (in-doors to add to my stress relief routine. Thanks you for the information!

  7. Kory Luczak says:

    Thanks for the info. I actually did some yoga last weekend for the second time ever. Although some of the poses were a bit painful do to lack of some much needed pre-stretching/ limited flexibility, I did feel a lot more relaxed after. Thanks for listing the benefits here. I am all for improving mind and body. There are so many great techniques out there that I am not educated on so this gives me a bit more desire and motivation to incorporate these into my routine.

  8. Gina Swensen says:

    I found attending the Stress Lab helpful in learning about meditation and poses. Is there a way that the “Guided Meditation”, contained in this Blog, to be a permanently accessible link on the Salus Website? So it can be used often, instead of having to search through the blog history to find it? Thanks Denise and Emily for all you do!

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