Yoga can help you manage stress, and the best part is it does not take a lot of time. You don't have to spend hours on the mat or invest years in learning complicated postures. Instead, by simply taking out a few minutes every day, you can reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life. A key component of yoga is that it empowers you to manifest these changes in your breath.
By changing the speed, pace, and quality of your breath, you can calm down your nervous system, thereby moving your body from a state of stress to one of relaxation. Namita Piparaiya, Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder -- Yoganama, shares three simple techniques that can help you:
1. Start with the Palming Technique
Palming is very useful for eye fatigue and stress from looking at a screen for long hours. Rub your palms together to find some heat, and then gently cup your eyes, creating a hollow dark space around them. Relax your forehead, eyes, and neck as you hold this for a few breaths.
You can follow this up with a gentle head massage, particularly focusing on the eyebrows, temples, and forehead. Then bring your hands in front of you as you open your eyes with a few gentle blinks looking directly at your palms. If you're doing this outdoors, you can also look far into the distance. Taking a few moments to look outside, preferably at some greenery or standing by the window and looking outside in natural light, is also very helpful.
2. Do some deep breathing
When you are emotional, stressed, or physically tired, your breath becomes shallow and loses its rhythm. The good thing is that this is a two-way street. By consciously relaxing your breath and bringing it to an even pace or rhythm, you can reduce your stress levels. This is important because we spend a lot of our modern-day life in a stressed and hyper state, making it even more necessary to make time for activities that counter stress. Deep belly breathing or Diaphragmatic is just the technique you need as you can do it anytime you're on an empty stomach. Just remember not to become overly conscious of the breath and start forcing it to breathe deeply. By paying attention to the breath, you will naturally slow it down. Immerse yourself in the beautiful experience for 3 minutes, three times a day.
3. Practice stillness
After some deep breathing, the mind naturally comes into a calmer state, and that's a great time to practice meditation. You can do this by choosing an object of meditation; it could be a deity, a symbol, an affirmation, a mantra, a chant, or even your breath. And try to spend at least 3 minutes observing the nature of your object, introspecting on its meaning, or simply trying to maintain your attention on it. For example, if you've chosen the breath as your object of meditation, try to take five slow breaths without getting distracted. If you do get distracted, which is very normal, start again at one and repeat till you've taken those five breaths with your attention intact.
In this way, you can integrate yoga into your everyday life. These techniques are simple, don't require any equipment, and can be done anywhere. But they are immensely powerful, and you will start to see the difference within a couple of weeks of practice.