© Lord Coltrane, Selfie: In studio before a busy day
RELAXING IN THE POSE THAT IS LIFE
My favorite yoga teacher, Bhavani Maki, challenges me to balance, lengthen, and fire the correct muscles during each of my poses. I often find myself trying to find more flexibility to stretch, more balance so I don't fall, and more strength to stop my tired muscles from wiggling with exhaustion - all at the same time! That's when she says, "Now you need to relax in your pose." I laugh inside at this.
But, yoga is a great metaphor for finding harmony, endurance, and the will power to keep stress from invading our every daily lives. In terms of creating your haute couture life, allowing stress to dominate you is not very productive or attractive.
Here are some easy tips to help you relax in the pose that is life, and move through stress gracefully and beautifully.
LEARN TO BREATHE
I know that sounds too easy and isn't "new news," but so many people breathe improperly.
Stand up tall and take in a deep breath. If your shoulders rise and fall with your breath, then you are breathing incorrectly. Your inhale should fill up the diaphragm first, followed by the chest cavity. Your shoulders have no business moving.
Every time you need to calm your nerves at work, in a traffic jam, or with your kids, take a moment to breath. Three long breaths is all it takes. Take in your breath for four counts and release it with another four, keeping your hands on your belly to make sure it goes in right. This takes 16 seconds of your time! The focus on your breath will take the charge out of your emotions. Plus, deep breathing is kind of sexy.
We can survive 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, and only 3 minutes without breath. Learn to breathe!
TAKE A WALK
Movement is proven to raise your endorphin levels, so taking a quick walk will make you feel better. It will also take you away from the immediate situation, freeing your thoughts from the shackles of your stressed moment. Your mind is free to wander for creative ideas that may help resolve the stressful situation. Who knows, you might even witness or experience something spectacular on the way.
If you can't get out, do some yoga postures, or simply stretch. Just move your body!
© Lord Coltrane, Selfie: in between clients
Close your eyes and take a moment to be fully present with what YOU are experiencing, not the external cause of it. Don't try to change or judge. Just be aware that you are angry, frustrated, exhausted, or stressed out. Instead of "I can't believe my husband is late, AGAIN!" Try, "I feel agitated right now." "I feel insecure sitting alone." "I don't know what to do with myself." At some point you will tire of the story and either get up and leave, or the charge will ease. You are the designer of your emotions now, and ready to receive any excuse with style.
The Buddha says that suffering occurs when we try to avoid pain, and try to hang on to past moments of pleasure. We must go through the discomfort before it releases (Finding Pleasure in the Pain). If you can make a habit of this, it will take years off!
SAY THANK YOU
I believe in gratitude. I think the breath behind a "Thank You" goes a long way. It also keeps everything in perspective. If you are irritated because someone cut you off on the highway, try thanking the situation and find gratitude in it. "Thank you for waking me up from my hypnotic state while driving." "Thank you for the adrenaline rush." "Thank you for avoiding a major accident." If your list is long enough, you will start to appreciate the present moment. "I'm grateful that I can drive this car." "I'm grateful to be alive right now." "I'm grateful I have a purpose to go somewhere."
All these techniques help you relax within the busy schedules, stressful moments, and incredible demands on your everyday life.
The experienced yoga practitioner knows how to relax in their pose. You too can take a very graceful, peaceful and beautiful approach the pose of your haute life.
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