Yes there are many breathing exercises and yoga routines that can help you reduce stress to help get you through the holidays, but what about ways to help boost happiness and joy within us! And the easiest lesson I could give to start this process is to simply: LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. If you can simply be in the present, you will find joy in the even the most mundane activities. Too often the mind is distracted by the future or past, which limits your capacity to be joyfully present. All forms of yoga and meditation can help reveal the jow of NOW.
Aah, it's that time of the year again where we "Fall Back", gain an hour of sleep but lose an hour of sunlight towards days end. For those who might not be early birds, it can be a bit daunting.
We should remember that "When you possess light within you, you see it externally". The following are articles found that can help us with these seasonal changes as well as remind us we can and should take the time to restore and rebalance.
Excerpts from the Huffinton Post and Yoga Journal:
At 2 a.m. Sunday morning, we finally recaptured that lost hour of sleep from last March as we marked the end of daylight saving time. And for the 47 million Americans who are sleep deprived, that extra hour is a chance to literally make up for lost time."This is one of those weekends we should really relish," said HuffPost blogger Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D., CEO of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation. "The fact that Americans are so sleep deprived, it's a nice reprieve from the busy lifestyles that we all lead."a New England Journal of Medicine report found that heart attack rates decrease the Monday after the end of daylight saving time, Harvard Health Blog reports, while a Canadian study found a decrease in car accidents after the fall change, though Harvard Health Blog does point out that another study found an increase in accidents after both changes.Yet while the transition may be an easy one, for many falling back also signifies a shift into winter and the changing light patterns that come with it. And perhaps that's the real health story behind the end of daylight saving time, stretching into winter long after that regained hour is forgotten.
For early birds and school children, the shift will mean it's light instead of dark outside in the mornings, which is good news for our internal biological clocks. When light stimulates a certain part of the brain first thing in the morning, it can make us more vigilant throughout the day and boost moods in the long run, Decker explained. "Now that the sun is rising a little earlier, we really want to think about getting up, going outside," he said. "Getting that bright light in the morning is absolutely key to health and performance and everything that goes with it."
But getting sunlight earlier in the day also means it may already be dark by the time people are leaving work. "There's always a psychological impact of it getting dark so early -- feeling that the days are shorter, and that winter is coming," Rosenberg explained.
And over time, that increase in darkness can lead to feeling blue and even experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the NIH, symptoms of SAD typically start in late autumn and winter and include increased appetite, increased daytime sleepiness, decreased energy in the afternoon, loss of interest in work, unhappiness and lethargy.
For years, winter brought serious mood changes for Natalie Engler. She craved carbohydrates, struggled with lethargy, and hated to get out of bed in the morning. The feelings lasted through April, when her mood brightened and her energy returned.
Engler developed a practice to combat her winter depression. It included pranayama (breathwork) and meditation; vinyasa yoga; and at least 20 minutes a day of restorative yoga, which she describes as the single most powerful part of the practice.
"Restorative yoga may look passive from the outside, but it's very active internally on both subtle and dramatic levels," says Forbes, who is the founder and director of the Center for Integrative Yoga Therapeutics in Boston. "Our nervous systems are designed to respond to minute fluctuations in our environments. Restorative yoga, combined with breathwork, is a potent tool to recalibrate the nervous system."
Restorative yoga and breathwork form the heart of the therapeutic yoga practice Forbes developed for emotional balance. Restore & Rebalance
Bo Forbes says the breathwork in these restorative postures makes all the difference in their effect on the nervous system. If you're feeling anxious and restless in your mind and body, as is typical of SAD during the fall and early spring, exhale for twice the count of your inhalation as you practice these poses. (If you're still feeling agitated after that, take a supported Childs Pose.) If you're feeling lethargic in your mind and body, make your exhalations and inhalations of equal length. Hold each pose for 5 to 20 minutes.
Last week we looked to the trees for some inspiration,
this week lets look what may be IN the trees for some more...
(characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.)
Take the katydid here, an example of how evolution (or something greater) helped design a species to easily blend in with its surroundings. Flexibility is an important characteristic to our lives as well. Once we have become fully rooted in who we are, we also should find a balance to be flexible in our relationship with others. Let us remember to be open minded, experience new and old as well as finding a peaceful way to adapt to the ever changing world. We want to be fully awakened to accept opportunites that might come our way, or keep our health and state of mind when times may get tough. Like bamboo or branches that sway in the wind, they are strong and yet flexible.
With relation to yoga - mental flexibility and inner spaciousness are the core work of yoga, equipping you to engage fully with others and to understand your place in the world. A flexible body is a joyous by-product of that process.
The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers. -Brian Greene
I was out hiking in the woods yesterday trying to take in the fresh air and the overall fall feeling, when I noticed the cutest little purple mushroom growing out of the ground. Instead of just glancing at the mushroom and continuing on my way, I actually took a minute or two to really observe the fungi as well as my surroundings. I became fully aware of my surroundings, the mushrooms presence as well as my own. It was so small and myself so large. It thrives on light and moisture. We also need sun and water. But the special thing about seeing this mushroom (and fully appreciating its presence and how it helped me heighten my senses and feel more aware) was that the further along I walked on my hike the more and more mushrooms I spotted. It was as if the universe was rewarding me with a feast for the eyes because I put it out there that I was interested and amazed with the mushroom.
So in an effort not to ramble on too much, I hope to bring some kind of reference or conclusion to this story. And to sum it up here is a quote by Richard Miller: