Relaxation Techniques – relieve stress and anxiety with these tips

Relaxation techniques - AMALAwellness Teesside

Using Yoga and Meditation to learn how to relax.

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax”

Mark Black

Relaxation techniques are a great way of helping the body and mind to rest and recover.

Sometimes we can find it difficult to switch off. Especially as we have many day-to-day demands, work stresses and are constantly switched on due to notifications from phones.

This leads to increased stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.

– Why is it important to learn to relax? –

Symptoms of stress, anxiety and other mental health ailments can affect both our physical and mental wellbeing; as well as motivation, relationships, sleep just to name a few things. It can negatively effect the way we behave and react to certain situations.

Relaxation is not only about finding peace or doing a relaxing hobby. It has a very positive effect on both physical and mental health. These techniques help with maintaining wellbeing. They can help alleviate and regress long term health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of pain.

– How Yoga and Meditation can help –

Yoga is a mind body practice, that helps with not only physical wellbeing, but mental too. It combines gentle breathwork with physical postures, gentle, controlled movement, meditation and relaxation. There are a range of practices from the very gentle and accessible Chair yoga, to Hatha Yoga (most suited for beginners), to the very physical practice of Ashtanga Yoga.

When you find a practice suitable for you, it can help us become more flexible, mobile and active as well as reducing stress and anxiety within the mind and body. This in turn leads to a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.

The Best thing is, Yoga and Meditation is suitable for anyone. All you need to do is practice.

– Aimee, AMALAwellness

Meditation helps with becoming present, slowing the heart & mind down and feeling at peace. When practiced regularly, meditation can have a wonderful effect on mental wellbeing. However, like working our physical body, the mind must be trained to see the benefits.

– Relaxation techniques you can take anywhere with you –

down angle photography of red clouds and blue sky

Consideration of Environment…

Take time to create a peaceful environment where ever you are, whether it is your desk at work, or your bedroom or living room. Make time to create a peaceful and calm environment.

Set time aside for peace, calm and relaxation…

Whether its an hour to read a book in the bath, taking the dog for a long walk or attending a local yoga class. Taking this time is crucial for our wellbeing.

Gentle Yoga

Gently moving the body, stretching and having a focus on the breath can really help to calm the mind in a positive way. It helps to soothe the nerves and the nervous system, takes our mind to the present and gentle movement and stretching helps the body to produce hormones and chemicals which invoke a sense of relaxation and recovery within the body.

Autogenic Relaxation

Autogenic = coming from within…

Autogenic Relaxation uses visualisation and body/mind awareness to invoke relaxation within. It includes guiding muscles to gently let go and relax to take the mind and body into a place of deep calm. Usually, this is practiced lying down and to feel the benefits, 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted practice is needed.

Gentle Breathwork

Gentle breathwork is a process where we use or breath to change out physical and mental state for the better. It helps to soothe the nervous system. Slowing the breath and taking a one point focus to the breath helps us to calm the mind and body, slow down our heart rate and allow the mind and body to relax. Click here for a short practice to take with you anywhere.

Meditation

By just pausing, inhaling deeply, exhaling fully and gently closing the eyes, we can practice meditating anywhere we find ourselves. By just relaxing the shoulders, face, removing the tongue from the roof of the mouth and taking an awareness to the breath, it can being us back to the present moment.

– Guided meditations to practice at home –

Warm Autogenic Relaxation
7 Chakra Guided Sleep Meditation (Practice before sleep)
Guided spoken meditation for beginners
Meditation to Reduce Stress and Anxiety (Connecting to Loving Kindness)

Local AMALAwellness’ classes.

We run classes across Teesside.

Yoga & Meditation – Tuesday Evenings, Ragworth Community Centre, Norton, Stockton on Tees.

Gentle Yoga – Tuesday Afternoons // Meditation and Relaxation – Thursday Afternoons, My Core Wellbeing , Guisborough.

Yoga and Meditation – Friday Mornings, St Mary’s Chuch Hall, Nunthorpe.

See our Yoga & Meditation classes for days, times, pricing and location here.

What Relaxation techniques do you use? We would love to hear from you!

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

The 8 limbs of Yoga: Philosophy for Beginners

Ashtanga – The eight limbed path

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras state that to live a meaningful and purposeful life, one should follow ‘Ashtanga’. Ashta translates to eight and Anga translates to limbs in Sanskrit, so the word Ashtanga means the eight limbed path.

There are eight limbs to Ashtanga Philosophy, which focus on self-control, self-discipline and moral and ethical codes we should live by as Yogis.

They give advice on staying healthy, cleanliness of self and environment, meditation and physical asana practice.

The 8 limbs of Yoga: What are they?

  • Yamas – the five ethical and moral codes Yogi’s live by. Ahimsa – Non violence, Asteya – Non stealing, Aparigraha – Non greed, Satya – Truthfulness and Bramacharya – being good with ones energy.
  • Niyamas – Five self disciplines. Saucha – cleanliness, Santosha – Contentment, Tapas – Austerities and heat, Isvara pranidhana – surrenderin.g to a higher power, Svadhyaya – Study of the self and Yogic Scripts.
  • Asana – The physical postural practice of yoga. The most common perception of Yoga, where we focus on the physical and mental well-being.
  • PranayamaGentle breathwork and breathing exercises, designed to help pranic energy (life force energy) flow and nourish the body, as well as helping to calm and still the mind.
  • Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses through meditation practice.
  • Dharana – One point focus, removing all other distractions, focusing on inner awareness.
  • Dhyana – Contemplation and meditation. Quieting the mind, unbroken flow of meditative state for long periods of time.
  • Samadhi – Union with the divine and self, deep sense of peace and stillness.

Beginners Philosophy, where is best to start?

It’s best to start with the physical asana side of practice and focus on bringing the Yama’s into your practice. There are many Yama’s we can incorporate into our lives both on and off the mat.

Often, Yoga is practiced for fitness reasons and the essence of the practice is lost. Incorporating the eight limbed path on and off the mat helps us to benefit from the philosophical and meditative sides to the practice.

A good place to start with asana practice is learning Surya Namaskar – The Sun Salutations. They help us learn proper breathing techniques within the practice. It also helps us build strength and flexibility, as well as teaching the foundations of building a lasting practice.

pilot-fish


For example, incorporating the Yamas – Ahimsa and Satya into practice.

Ahimsa – No harm in thought and action.

Ahimsa - the yogi dictionary

Ahimsa translates into Non-harm/Non-violence in Sanskrit. We can start to incorporate this into our practice both on and off the mat.
It becomes obvious to not harm in action, but how often do we do this in thought? Especially to ourselves? are we kind to ourselves on the mat? Do we practice with ease, or do we force ourselves?
could we modify our diet to practice Ahimsa? Perhaps, leaning to more vegetarian or plant based diets. Could we look after ourselves, or others, mentally and physically more?

All of these pointers will help us practice Ahimsa both on and off the mat.

Satya – Being Truthful

satya - being truthful

– What is Satya? –

Satya translates to truth in English.

When practicing Satya – Our thoughts and actions should be true, whilst not causing harm and being positive. How truthful are we daily? How many white lies do we tell? To ourselves, to others?
See an article I wrote on the subject of Satya here.

To Summarize…

We can all benefit from learning and practicing the eight-limbed path along side the more physical asana practice.

Do you incorporate philosophy and meditation into your practice? I’d love to hear from you! Comment or like below.

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Yogi Experiences : The Kriyas – Jala Neti

The experience of Kriyas (1) – Jala Neti

Aimee of AMALAwellness has used a Neti Pot for many years, here she speaks of her experiences:

– What are Kriyas & What is Jala Neti? –

Kriyas are a cleansing technique used in Hatha yoga to help clear toxins and purify the body. One of the most popular Kriyas is Jala Neti.

I have had the chance to experience a few of the Kriyas in my practice and Yoga teacher trainings. One I love doing and regularly do is Jala Neti. I practiced it a lot in Rishikesh, Northern India and still continue to practice to this day.

– How do you use a Neti Pot? –

As the diagram shows; salt water is passed through the nasal cavity, with the aid of a ‘neti pot’ or lota.

When you hold your head at a certain angle and pass salt water through one nostril with your mouth open, it passes out the other nostril.

– Sinus Relief –

Some common symptons with sinus problems include:

  • Pain / Pressure / Swelling / Tenderness in the face
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal dripping
  • Reduced smell and taste

Neti pots with a saline solution help to clear the sinus cavity and reduce these symptoms.

– What are the benefits of Jala Neti? –

Physical Benefits

It is really effective at removing mucus and dirt from the nasal passages and clearing sinuses. I had really bad sinusitis recently and practising jala neti reguarly recently has helped to clear it and my sinuses feel a million times better! Its been a good thing to practice as it can be quite dusty here, so I have been doing it regularly early morning before practice.

It definitely improves a persons ability to breathe more clearly.

Mental & Spiritual Benefits

This process helps clear and cleanse the third eye chakra (agna chakra), helping us think more clearly and aiding with stilling the mind when practicing meditation.

– Give it a go …! –

I would definitely recommend it to anyone who suffers sinus problems or asthma.

It may seem weird at first (I can remember the 1st time I did it and thought… what is this bizzareness!) but its a practice definitely worth doing. When I have showed my friends how to do it, they also enjoyed it!

What are others experiences with Kriyas? I’d love to hear from you!

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com