Friday, July 31, 2009

Managing Stress with Desk Pranayama

Try this for a mental boost -- instead of another cup of coffee.

The close relationship between respiration and changing emotional states works two ways, allowing us to relax through mindful breathing: With deep inhales, long exhales, and alternate nostril breathing, we can alter our state of mind, improve brainpower, - and banish emotional stress.

In The Yogic Tradition, 'Breath is the Foundation of All Life...'

Begin by relaxing and opening your body.
. Reverse Venus Lock: Rub you hands together until you feel some heat. Place your right palm over your heart center and cover it with your left hand. Close your eyes. Take a few deep abdominal breathes, until you feel centered.
Fold your hands together and interlace your fingers. Stretch your arms out, as you turn your interlaced fingers away from you. Now raise your interlaced fingers toward the ceiling – take a deep breath to the count of four (more if you can) – and drop your shoulders.
Exhale and release, relax your arms by your side.
Practice this several time to open your chest.
Desk Pranayama
Through pranayama, or breath control, you can calm emotions, and sharpen your mind. Your breath is a metaphor for your life. Are you drinking deeply? Or just taking little sips.
Remember to ‘check in’ with your breath frequently.
Place your relaxed palms just above your knees (assuming you're at your desk)
Focus your awareness at a point between your eyebrows, or at your heart center. Breathe in slowly through your nostrils, moving your awareness from your rising belly to the top of your head. Once you feel 'full', release slowly by exhaling deeply. Practice this, at least 10 times, until you feel calm.
Use 'So-Ham'
Once you're relaxed, turn your palms up and add the Hamsa meditation to your breath, saying silently 'so' on the inhale – and 'ham' as you exhale.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Yogis consider this the ultimate method for calming the mind and nervous system. It also works to balance both sides of the brain, unleashing optimum creative thought and logical reasoning. Last, but not least-- alternate nostril breathing cleanses the vital channels, freeing more energy and reducing fatigue.
Start with three up to 20 per day.
1. Seal off the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril to the count of four seconds.
2. Immediately close off the left nostril with your right ring finger and little finger; Hold your breath to the count of sixteen.
3. Release your right thumb and exhale to the count of eight.
This completes one half round.

Quick Tips
  • Avoid sugar, it dulls your ability to concentrate and, along with refined carbohydrates causes sharp drops in blood sugar that make you feel more tired.

  • Connect with Nature.

  • Take a brief walk in the morning sun, and/or meditate outside, as the sun sets.
  • Try gazing into the sun for just a few seconds shortly before sunset... inhale its energy deeply.

  • Take your shoes off. Find a place where you can walk barefoot on the grass.

  • Take time to connect with friends and family.
  • Trust in the Divine Plan. You are where you are supposed to be.