It’s clear that the Holiday Season is upon us. The time of year when the calendar starts to fill with obligatory parties and gatherings and store windows glisten and gleam with the latest must-have gifts. The time of year when we find ourselves stretched thin on time and usually forgoing even the smallest form of self-care in an effort to make it all happen.
When our minds are racing and the to-do list is never-ending, we can find recharge with restorative yoga. Restorative yoga is a practice that uses props (bolsters, blankets, and straps) to allow both the body and mind to relax. Poses are typically held anywhere from 5-20 minutes, offering time to fully unwind and succumb to the benefits of the posture.
The challenging part about this practice is accepting the stillness. Letting the thoughts start to quiet, the breath start to deepen and the body an opportunity to fully relax. When the body and mind start to soften, more focus can be placed on the breath. As the breath deepens, we signal to our nervous system that we are safe. When the body feels safe, it can function at it’s best and restore from the inside out.
Check out your local yoga studio or gym to see if they offer restorative yoga. If you’re curious to try it, here’s one pose, Mountain Brook, that you can try at home. Gather up blankets and pillows, find a quiet spot, and set a timer. Take at least five minutes, press pause on the rest of the world, and revitalize yourself.
Written by: Christine Noonan
Originally Posted on: Christine Noonan Yoga Website
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Like many people in today’s hyper paced world, you’ve probably experienced bouts of constant worry, anxiety, racing thoughts, and stress. We’re all bombarded with images and messages that can lead us to think that we’re not good enough, must continuously strive for more achievement, more accumulation of material goods or experiences, more status, etc. This naturally leads to an unbalanced mind that could use a lot more peace and quiet.
Meditation can be an extremely powerful tool to focus the mind, decrease over thinking, mitigate stress and anxiety, and just accept the present moment. The key to the practice is consistency. One doesn’t need to meditation hours each day to experience its benefits. Even 5-20 minutes each morning will start to build on itself and show positive effects within weeks.
There are many types of meditation, but most come down to observing/focusing on your breath or thoughts. Many people believe that the point of meditation is to completely clear your thoughts, but this is both incorrect and extremely difficult, and can frustrate the beginner very easily.
Here are some simple steps to begin your meditation practice:
Meditation is similar to exercise, but for the mind, heart, and soul. Like any exercise, be patient, start slow, be consistent, and slowly build it up. Before you realize it, you’ll experience a multitude of benefits, including increased compassion, acceptance, focus, and a gentler mind.
Written by: Chris Prucnal