When it comes to stress management, there is still a centuries-old tradition I haven’t mentioned yet: Yoga. As we continue our conversation about how to feng shui your business and bring more joy into your life and work, I wanted to remind you of the amazing healing powers of yoga.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and has become quite popular in North America over the past decade or so. It’s no surprise to me that it’s so popular however, yoga is incredibly effective as a relaxation and stress management technique.
"Doing even just a few minutes of yoga each day really can make a huge difference in your energy."
Doing even just a few minutes of yoga each day can make a huge difference in your energy. If you have been working on something and feel stuck, or if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, stepping away from the desk for even five minutes and doing something as simple as bending forward and letting your head hang heavy, or lying with your legs up the wall, all while breathing deeply, can dramatically shift your energy.
There are many different styles of yoga as well, which makes it really accessible to all types of people. You can enjoy an active yoga practice, like Ashtanga yoga, when you want to pump it up and feel energized. My Ashtanga days are behind me now, but I used to enjoy that style of yoga. If Ashtanga’s not your thing, you might enjoy restorative yoga when your feel your body needs a rest.
"Restorative yoga is such a wonderful gift to give yourself, and greatly helps reduce stress and provide relaxation."
In restorative yoga, you are invited into a posture that is already fairly easeful, and then supported by pillows, blankets and bolsters in order to allow your body to really sink into the pose. Restorative yoga is such a wonderful gift to give yourself, and greatly helps reduce stress and provide relaxation. While you are in the poses, you breathe deeply, the mind calms, and the body is allowed to have a supported stretch.
Another wonderful style of yoga is yin yoga. We’ve talked about the yin-yang balance in this series, and yin yoga is really about receiving. Yin yoga, like restorative, invites us to hold postures for a long time. However, unlike restorative yoga, you are not supported by props. All the same, letting our bodies stretch and relax for several minutes in a pose truly rejuvenates and restores us. This gives us the passion and energy we have for our businesses, and gives us that good kickstart we need to keep going.
What makes yoga such an effective form of stress management is the combination of movement and breath, especially the deep breathing that is encouraged in the practice. Even if you don’t have time to do yoga, just taking three deep breaths before you sit down at the desk, or before you have to communicate with someone, or anytime, can be so relaxing in and of itself. As Laura Gisborne says, oxygen is a great drug! So keep breathing and using that oxygen, knowing all is well.
"As Laura Gisborne says, oxygen is a great drug! So keep breathing and using that oxygen, knowing all is well."
Yoga is actually a means of keeping the body healthy and flexible so that we can sit in meditation. I meditate daily, in the style of kriya yoga, and it helps me so immensely I can’t go a day without it. Just to have some time in the day to find that peace and calm within is truly so nourishing.
Whether you do vigorous yoga, relaxing yoga, work with breathing practices or start a daily meditation, I encourage you to take advantage of these modalities as tools to help you manage your stress.