By Brian Leaf
Whether you're stressed this holiday season from the gift-buying and consumerism, the in-laws visiting, or just too many wakings in the night, try these quick and easy fixes to move you from stress case to relaxed mama.
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing
2. Goofy Yale Breath
In the 1970s Herbert Benson, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, published work on what he called the relaxation response, a physiological response where the body and mind relax. Benson reported that the relaxation response was triggered by practicing 20 minutes of a concentration exercise, basically meditation.
Ask a friend to practice this exercise. Sit side by side, but facing in opposite directions. One person goes first and speaks, and the other person listens without validating or responding in any way. The speaker reports her experience. Reporting can include physical sensations (“My lower back feels stiff.”), thoughts (“My mind is spinning about the presentation I gave at work today.”), or emotions (“I feel so angry at Tom for snapping about the trash this morning.”) The goal is not to vent (which is being the feelings), but to note sensations, thoughts, and feelings (which is seeing/feeling the feelings).
Excerpted in part from the book Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi ©2012 by Brian Leaf.
About Brian Leaf
Brian Leaf is author of the yoga memoir, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness. You can find him online at www.misadventures-of-a-yogi.com.