Chill Out: How to Relax Amid a Stressful Season

It’s nearly impossible to be stress-free at a time when the world seems to be in complete chaos. Rather than binge watch yet another show on Netflix, our minds and bodies need moments to process, relax and escape. A simple breathing exercise, meditation technique or yoga pose can re-invigorate the spirit and lead to fresh perspectives.

Mindful Breathing

Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes. Be sure your surroundings are quiet. Notice your breath, in and out. Are they shallow or deep, quick or slow?

Now as you inhale, inflate your abdomen like a balloon. Exhale as if the air from that balloon is escaping slowly. Set a timer for three minutes and melt away without the worries of the world on your shoulders.

Meditation

Meditation is a practice of learning how to live in the present moment, anchoring ourselves to the here and now on purpose. It can provide some much-needed space in our minds, allowing for more capacity for loves ones, decision making processes and clearer feelings.

  1. Set a timer. It can be as short as five minutes.
  2. Notice your body. Sit however you feel comfortable.
  3. Follow the natural rise and fall of your breath.
  4. Notice when your mind wanders and don’t judge your thoughts during this time.
  5. When you’re ready, lift your gaze and notice your environment. How does your body feel? What emotions are you feeling?

Yoga

You don’t have to be an advanced yogi to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Simple techniques can help loosen stressed muscles, reenergizing,

rejuvenating and restoring those muscles.

  1. Reverse Triangle (Parivritta trikonasana): This action circulates fresh blood and strengthens neck, shoulders and arms.
  2. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana): A powerful pose that awakens upper body strength and offers a wonderful stretch for the chest and abdomen. The backbend energizes and rejuvenates the body, providing relief from fatigue and mild depression.
  3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): A deep stretch that can provide relief from headaches, insomnia, fatigue and mild depression. The flow of blood to the brain can also calm the nervous system, improving memory and concentration and relieving stress. 4. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III): This pose enhances the ability to concentrate, keeping your mind calm and focused when faced with difficulty. It also improves balance, posture and full-body coordination.
  4. Corpse Pose (Savasana): This pose is essential to practice at the end of a yoga sequence. It rejuvenates the body, mind and spirit while reducing stress and tension.

Mindful breathing, meditation and yoga are all practices you can do anywhere, and South Bend has an array of parks and places perfect to find your inner zen. For a full list of yoga and meditation classes coming up, visit sbvpa.org.

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To read more articles from the Fall 2020/Winter 2021 Spark Magazine, click below.