February 8, 2011

Don’t Freak Out: 6 Yoga Tips for Staying Cool When Life Goes Nuts.


I know this happens to you, too: sometimes, life goes nuts. One day you’re floating along, taking naps, chatting on the phone to your friends, and meandering from one place to the next. And the next you’re literally running from one commitment to the other, snoozing on the bus, and sending out mass “I still love you” messages to the people you haven’t caught up with in ages. Sometimes, life gets crazy.

I’m working on a new dream project–a top secret mission (for now) that encompasses my damned if I don’t determination to help make the world a happier, healthier place. And things have gotten a bit non-stop. I’m watching hours tick by like seconds, days like minutes. And I’m loving the rush, the high from following my heart.

But I’m only hanging in there because of a few key practices I’ve picked up along the way.

6 Yoga Tips for Staying Cool When Life Goes Nuts

  1. Notice your breath. Yin Yoga Master and scientific research nut Bernie Clark teaches that if you take a 4-count inhale or exhale, with a one-count pause on either side, you’re scientifically proven to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. That’s your rest and digest system–the one that helps us stay calm and strong. Bonus: You can breathe like this any ol’ time.

  2. Mindfulness. This Buddhist/yogic practice can also be done any ol’ time. Even while working. For me, it’s the biggest, bestest way to get a ton of different things done in a day. Just be there completely, not worrying about what you have to do next, or rehashing what you did. Just be aware of exactly what you’re focused on.

  3. Laugh. Current research shows that laughter is a great stress buster. It reduces stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and increases health-enhancing ones like endorphins (love those) and neurotransmitters. Don’t see anything funny? Google funny videos on the web. Remember something that made you laugh. Or just fake it till you make it. There’s a reason laughter yoga exists.

  4. Blessed. A great friend of mine (she’s also involved in this secret dream project) said to me years ago, “Linds, what if you called is ‘blessed’ instead of ‘stressed?’ Holy insightful Batman! She was bang on. I had a ton on the go, but really, truly, it was such a blessing to have the abundance of projects I was passionate about in my life. She was right, I was blessed. Still am.

  5. Get outside. There’s this new term: Tree Bathing. Ha, yup, imagine it for a minute. But the serious point is that recent research shows that getting out into the trees decreases your pulse rate, blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system activity. So hug a tree. Inside tip: practice mindfulness while you’re there. Full disclosure: I take a morning walking meditation as part of my daily sadhana, and can occasionally be spotted in the park with my arms around a tree.

  6. Move your body. The fastest, bestest way to get outta the worrying, planning and rehashing in your head is to get into your body. So take a walk or a jog, dance yourself happy, or do some asana. Flow and be and let be. Ahhh.

Do they work? Trust me. People who’ve known me for years keep on asking me who this girl is. If they keep me happy and healthy–former nervous wreck–they’ll work for anyone.

Want more tips? Find 6 more tips for staying cool when life goes nuts on my blog, Joy For Life.



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