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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

breathe-fully

The guided meditation CD, Breathe Fully Live Free: Meditations to Release Anxiety and Fear, is ready at last and available on www.cdbaby.com/cd/meenamodi2.  It is a recorded adaptation, in response to all the feedback, of the BVMI fundraiser “Yoga for Fear and Anxiety” we did last July. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes will have it in a week or two–will post links. New Jersey Whole Foods stores will carry it but this is a longer process and will take more time.

The 80-minute audio guided meditation CD combines wisdom from the East and West, science and contemplative traditions, clinical research and psychotherapy, talk and practice. For 2014, the profits will be given to charities that fight human trafficking and care for the victims.

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Mahasri Yoga is now on You Tube. Certain breathing practices help significantly with hypertension. It is hoped that the following two audio tracks in English and Gujarati recently uploaded on You Tube will be helpful and enjoyable:

Mahasri Yoga: Pranayama-Body Stillness (English)

Mahasri Yoga: Pranayama-Body Stillness (Gujarati)

Dealing with hypertension in its early stages, using yoga and breath awareness, is much easier than when it progresses extensively. Prevention is better than cure. These are simple, effective, basic practices used before starting the more familiar pranayamas.

As stated on www.mahasriyoga.com/pranayama:

“The first step to having an effective pranayama practice or meditation practice is learning to use the breath to still and calm the body. As long as the body is restless or tense, the mind is drawn to the body and distracted by it. Making any progress in pranayama is difficult in the agitated or distracted state.

Conscious breathing, used to become aware of the physical body, will allow you to stop running ragged with the mind and emotions. It gives you a way to slow down, to stop. When you breathe in, know that you breathe in. When you breathe out, know that you breathe out. Without your attention, your awareness, the emotions run out of energy and slow down. With the awareness focused on the breath and body instead of on thoughts, the mind becomes still, the body calm.

A still body, not a sleeping body, tends to increase attention span and pacify a restless mind. A restless body can be a reflection of a scattered and unfocused mind. This practice will help the body become still and quiet, the mind more focused. It is also effective in releasing stress and pain.”

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How can yoga and meditation help with anxiety? Often stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Sometimes they join hands with depression. However, everyone who is anxious and stressed does not have to be clinically depressed.

Yoga asanas may be very helpful in dealing with anxiety, stress, and depression as shown by the Harvard and Bangalore studies written up in previous blog posts. Instead of passively holding positions, a dynamic practice is suggested. A vinyasa flow such as surya namaskar, or sun salutations, is a wonderful dynamic practice. In the perfect sequencing, one position flows into the other with the breath (vinyasa flow).

There are numerous ways of doing surya namaskar. Highly energetic ways incorporate leaping from one position to another. Some move rapidly, some flow slowly. Many of you really love doing several rounds with surya mantras, moving slowly for a few rounds, then quicker with bija mantras, and then slowing down again. For seniors, we have chair sun salutations that are adapted for their needs (high blood pressure, bad knees, replaced hips).  It is a popular sequence. So everyone can move at their own comfort level. The important point is to form the discipline to move regularly for about 45 minutes, if possible. Vary the sun salutations with other yoga movements and sequences of asanas.

Gentle, dynamic movements such as those given for the upper and lower body on www.mahasriyoga.com are good additions for seniors and those who prefer gentler yoga. You don’t have to be leaping and twisting!

The endorphins released by physical movements help alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression. So any form of exercise may be helpful. Synchronizing the breath with physical movement may be particularly helpful.

In cases of high blood pressure and other medical conditions, physical movement should not be done when the pressure is high, or if there is any pain or discomfort in the body. Consult your doctor!

There are other suggestions as well that will be in the next blog post.

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