Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Feeling a little overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, and/or anxious? Welcome to the human experience. But fret not, friend! You have a wealth of tools available for you to feel supported and stress-free. Here are a few of my go-to mind calming techniques (in no particular order):
1. Take a pause to connect with breath by practicing pranayama. Here are a few specific breathing techniques to help activate the parasympathetic nervous system:
-nadhi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing): block off the right nostril, inhale through the left, exhale out right. Inhale through right, exhale out left. Repeat, inhaling through the same nostril as you just exhaled from. This brings balance to the hemispheres of the brain. It takes a bit of practice and patience to get into the rhythm, but it works wonders!
-slowing the breath: inhale for 5 sec, exhale 5 sec and work to elongate both to a count of 10, specifically the exhale to induce relaxation
-sitali pranayam: roll the tongue into a "U," with the tip just outside of the lips. Inhale deeply through the rolled tongue, exhale through the nose. incredibly calming and cooling for the mind.
-lions breaths: 3 deep powerful inhales through the nose and exhale forcefully like a lion, tongue out, even roar if you want to! This is a perfect way to immediately release pressure-great while driving in traffic, for example!
Ideally, pranayam is done with the eyes closed or a specific drishdi (focal point) to bring attention inward, but of course modify to your environment (driving for example-eyes open!).
2. Meditation. Find a style that resonates with you-as a practitioner of kundalini yoga, I have found immeasurable transformative benefits through incorporating a daily mediation practice and committing to it first thing in the morning, every day. Meditations that incorporate mantra have an immediate effect on the mind-kirtan kriya is a simple yet incredibly powerful one! Even 3 minutes is enough to make a lasting impact-pick a meditation and try it for 40 days!
3. Self care. Taking a hot bath, pausing for a cup of tea, a nourishing meal, curling up with a good book or even reaching out to a friend to connect with community are small but important acts that give space for your body, mind and spirit to rest and recharge.
4. Self reflection-accomplishment and inventory: Keep a single journal entry (or one per day if you love to write) to write down one thing daily that you are proud you accomplished, short and simple. When you are feeling overwhelmed, its nice to take a look back and see all you have done. I have a journal I like to write in daily, once in the beginning of the week to stay on top of my goals, commitments and plans, and daily at night to reflect on what I am proud of-sometimes its something really small, like “I took time to rest”.
5. Daily practice. Taking a few minutes every day to move your body, connect with breath, and meditate is essential to keeping the mind clear and body happy & healthy. If you dont use it, you lose it!
6. Give back. Helping others, whether that means taking time to volunteer, smile and someone, open a door, little and big acts of selfless service (seva) are incredibly powerful in reminding us that we are not alone and your efforts make a difference. Small acts of gratitude for others has a ripple effect!
7. Sound therapy. The healing effects of sound, such as the gong and singing bowls, as well as chanting mantra, activates the endocrine, glandular and nervous systems and helps to bring deep healing on a cellular level. You can find many sound healing classes and gong baths available weekly-if you reside in the Twin Cities, check out the Kundalini Collective (kundalinicollective.com) for ample options!
8. Bodywork. Allowing time for the body to fully unwind and recalibrate is truly a selfless act that allows you to show up for all those in your life at your best!