3 Simple steps to a calmer life
By Maria Kelly on 2nd May 2016
Step 1. Take a deep breath….
Breathing – it’s simple enough, we do it all the time and without much thought. This automatic breathing will get you through the day sure enough, however deep conscious breathing will lead you to a place of inner calm helping to deal with stress and the effects this has on our wellness.
The quality of our breath is a great indicator into our physical state of wellbeing. Shallow breathing is when our diaphragm doesn’t move fully and this shortening of breath is quite common when we are stressed. We end up breathing into our chest and shoulders creating tension in these areas and limiting the amount of oxygen that we get.
The deep breathing performed during yoga asanas (postures) helps the body to function more efficiently, relieves tension and has a calming effect on the body and mind as a whole.
Diaphragm (Yogic) Breathing.
Begin by either sitting or lying in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and bring your awareness on to your breathing. Place one hand onto your chest and the other onto your tummy. Take a deep breath into the tummy noticing how this rises on the inhale and then how this falls on the exhale. Pause for a moment between each breath noticing the stillness in this space. Continue this, deepening the inhales and exhales by counting to 3, then pausing for 1. Do this for 5 minutes or longer if you have time.
Step 2. Learn to love the mundane…..
Ok, so not many of us enjoy doing house hold chores but we realise it is one of many necessary evils. So instead of viewing them as chores, why not try to find a way to enjoy them. Taking enjoyment in the little things can have a very large impact on our general outlook. Think about it, if we spend our day rushing from job to job only focusing on getting them done, then it’s no wonder we’re worn out by the end of the day and in need of that reward…..cue chocolate bar and glass of vino!
So next time it’s your turn to do the washing up try to enjoy the process and actually be in the moment. Take pride in seeing your plates clean, perhaps they were a gift from someone you care about. Notice your breathing and posture whilst you’re doing this – it is here that you create that tension rushing to get the job done! And remind yourself of this Buddhist saying……. “If the simple things in life don’t put a smile on your face then you will never truly be happy”.
Step 3. Get you Yoga on……
We have been designed to move and yet we have created a sedentary lifestyle, albeit with the good intention to make our life easier. However instead this has made our bodies inflexible and our minds overworked. Once you understand the importance of movement and how great this makes the body and min feel you begin to understand why it’s such a good idea to get up off that ass..ana!
By practicing Yoga you’re bringing not only movement but also the deep breathing and mental focus into your lives. By being present in each of the postures you’re able to focus and enjoy the process of learning to let go. Understanding where you hold the physical tension also shines a light on your mental outlook (remember the rushing from task to task). The deep breathing enables you to relax and release this built up muscular tightness. During this process we mentally become more in tune with ourselves, connecting once again to our true nature and bringing about a sense of joy and freedom in this journey that life most certainly is.
Maria is a Yoga Instructor based in Cheshire specialising in Vinyasa Flow, Pregnancy, Post-natal and Baby Yoga (www.mariayoga.co.uk) . Along with her husband she also owns Tranquillite Retreats (www.tranquilliteretreats.co.uk), a yoga retreat set on the edge of the Dordogne in south west France. It is their mission to show that keeping life simple can lead to a happier more tranquil you.