Fitness, Mental Health/Wellbeing

Yoga, Meditation, and Breathing Exercises

When I am in desperate need of relaxation, it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint what exactly can help me unwind. After trying various exercises and practices, I have found three stress relieving techniques that work for me every time. As always, it may be different for you and there’s so many different ways to chill out, mentally and physically. Just find what leaves you feeling the most refreshed!

The first thing I do when I’m stressed or strung out is yoga/stretching. I choose the style of yoga I would like to do at the moment based off what I feel my body and brain needs. Sometimes it has me sweating and gasping for breath, other times I focus on flexibility and a slow heart rate.

I turn to yoga to take care of myself in a natural, fun, and challenging way. Recently, I have even started to push myself to do daily flows just to better connect with my body and to have frequent stress relief.

The second thing I do when the pressure is on is meditate. It’s a soothing way to either release or confront anxieties and fears. This practice is rather new to me, but I have been doing more research. My university is also working with a company that produced a website called Calm Circle which acts as an online meditation guru. Using this tool is what sparked my interest in the more spiritual aspect of self reflection through meditation.

There are tons of apps, videos, etc. that can lead you into an easy meditation session if you ever wanted to try it out in the comfort of your own home. I highly recommend this technique if you struggle with anxiety, PTSD, and any other disorders or circumstances that involve tension. It may feel corny at first, but the farther you get into your experimentation with meditation, the more peaceful it becomes. You may even start to look forward to that 5/10 minutes a day; I know I do!

Lastly, I also utilize breathing techniques to relieve my anxiety. I have mentioned these types of activities before, but just wanted to revisit the topic.

These exercises slow the heart rate, place your focus on the rise and fall of your chest, and may help to see a situation in a more calm light. As breathing takes no special equipment, these techniques can be performed anywhere at any time which is why it is one of my favorites.

There are numerous different ways you can control/focus on your breath that can benefit you, you just have to search the web to find some you like. If you don’t want to get too fancy with it, simple in and out breathing is just as effective. Some is always better than none!

Overall, each of these practices is related in some way. Yoga involves both stretching as well as deep and focused breathing. The cool thing is that they can also be done separately if one part of the combination isn’t your forte or it isn’t a reasonable time for all three.

Every now and then I do just clump all three together, but I also have done each individually quite a few times and know they have the same “healing” or comforting factors. I haven’t found myself as benefiting from these techniques just anxiety wise, but contentment and energy wise as well.

Stress and mental illness can really drain a person. Through yoga, meditation, breathing, or all of the above, we can take care of our bodies and minds in gentle ways. Even if it takes a while to master the different actions, they’re all worth it as are all of the other practices out there. 32202870_10214910042898284_8830381309500063744_n

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