5 Stress Relief Tips with Sarah Moody

Stress. Ah. That word alone makes me want to let out a big sigh. It’s hard to avoid, nearly impossible these days. And in some ways it’s become our cultural norm; the standard as to how we measure our busyness. If we’re not stressed, we perceive it as a sign that we’re not doing enough, aka not valuable or important enough.

Practice: Next time you ask someone how they’re doing pay close attention to their response; do they reply with something along the lines of, “I’m just so busy!” or “There’s so much to do and so little time!”?

Notice for yourself, are you inclined to respond in a similar way? And maybe taking it one step further, how does it feel in your body when you express these emotions? Notice how the constant pushing feels in the body.

I’ve spent many years letting stress run my life. And I’ve also dedicated many years to studying, teaching, and working with clients on how to channel stress for the better. There will always be some form of stress in our lives, and a certain amount is healthy. The right kind of stress can spur us to go for our dreams, to ace that presentation, to not settle for less than our best. The wrong amount of stress can create dis-ease in the body, harm relationships, and negatively impact our work.

It’s a delicate balance, and like anything it takes practice and a whole lot of patience.

But I promise the more you do it the easier it will get. It’s like any other muscle, you have to use it if you want to get stronger. But remember, once you get in shape you don’t get to stop working out, you have to stay on it if you want to stay mighty.

Below are the top 5 ways I choose to de-stress. In no way is this list exhaustive or all inclusive. Find what works for you, then do more of it.

This is a big one. The more time I spend hunched over a screen the worse my body feels (wrist, shoulder, neck tension anyone?!), my eyes ache, and I actually feel more disconnected. I’m committed to turning my phone off at least an hour before bed and choosing to read or spend time with my partner instead. Use your phone as your alarm clock? Put your phone on airplane mode so you’re not tempted to check your email or IG page for the 73rd time that day (the average American checks their phone 80 times in a day!).

 Water is medicine. Baths can be both soothing and energizing. Try adding different ingredients into your tub for different results. Two of my favorites: epsom salts for tired muscles and an overworked mind; or for a moisturizing soak combine 1 T. coconut oil, 1 T. apple cider vinegar, and 1 t. honey (just make sure to clean the tub afterwards otherwise that coconut oil could surprise the next shower guest, and not in a good way!).

Mother nature heals. Have a picnic in the park; breathe in the ocean air; take a hike or go for a bike ride outdoors. Pressed for time?— even 5 minutes of soaking up the sun can improve your mood and stimulate a foggy brain.

Find activities you love and do them often. Aim to sweat a little every day. Sweating is therapeutic for the body; gives your mood a boost, and helps you sleep sweeter.

Laugh more. Those deep belly laughs. Call a friend, read the comics, watch a movie; get really creative here and let your playful side run free.
Here’s to strengthening your stress-less muscle!

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Water Meditation to Stress Less

Water meditation can enhance the powerful benefits of mindfulness practices. Reverberating a mantra’s sound current inside a human body of water can calm the overactive mind and encourage a feeling of non-attachment and weightlessness. Allowing ourselves to be fully present creates space for every day stress to fade away into the background.

This guided meditation is led by Anne Koller, Namaste’s newest Kundalini yoga instructor, and was created by Hari Kaur Khalsa, author of A Woman’s Book of Yoga: Embracing Our Natural Life Cycles, with Machelle M. Seibel, M.D.

This water meditation is meant to be performed in warm, shallow water that sits at or below bellybutton level. Fill a bath, light a few candles, and sink into your own meditative bliss.

To begin, cross your legs and find a comfortable seated position. Sit up tall with a lengthened spine, hit play, close your eyes, and allow your mind and body to fully connect with the water.

Anne has been a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher as taught by Yogi Bhajan for four years. Anne was trained by Hari Kaur Khalsa, named 10 Influential Yoga Teachers Who Have Shaped Yoga in America, in New York City.

Her passion for sharing the power of breath awareness, emotional-balance, self-empowerment and mind-body alignment permeates all of her yoga and meditation classes. She has been featured in Huffington Post, Today Show, Tennis Channel, ReachMD and YogaCity NYC for her work in wellness training, specifically in water healing and corporate mindfulness. She believes that if we can feel at home in our mind and body, we can thrive in any environment.

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September Theme: Cultivate Calm with Stress Less Stamp Cards!

Fall is on the horizon and the energetic nature of summer is winding down. Take this month to focus on cultivating calm in your life. Join us for a fun stamp card challenge as we practice ways to stress less.

OUR COMMUNITY PRACTICE: STRESS LESS STAMP CARD

All it takes is a simple reminder to breathe more and stress less. Carry this beautiful card with you throughout the month to support your mission of cultivating calm in daily life. Play along with our four Stress Less Challenges for a chance to win one of three amazing wellness prizes including luxury retail items, wellness services, and more! Simply accomplish each experience on your own time and let the front desk know when you are finished.

When you have achieved all four stamps, turn your card in at the front desk and wait for our winning announcement!

Share with us on social media using the hashtag #YearofEmpowerment.

Join our community Facebook groupYear of Empowerment Club for weekly tips and journal prompts.

Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips from your favorite Namaste teachers.

Want to check out past months?

Catch up on all of our Year of Empowerment and join us as we continue the journey.

  

    Community Building Yoga Oakland Berkeley

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Make 5 Minutes: Stand Well & Breathe

First thing when you wake up, before you have the thought not to do it, before you tackle your to-do list and your morning routine…SIT.

Sit for just 10 breaths. Just 10 breaths in and 10 breaths out.

Then get up and start the day. It’s amazing how this very simple, very short practice levels me before I launch. And it’s amazing to me how much easier it is to remember to close my eyes and take a slow deep breath later in the day when I really need it.

The other is simply the reminder that the practice is a breathing practice and a practice of paying attention and connecting with the inner quiet that we carry with us everywhere we go…

 

So while sometimes we go to class and are guided through 90 minutes of asana and pranayama, and sometimes we enjoy and extended practice of 2 or 3 hours, and sometimes we immerse ourselves in a workshop or training…

Simply standing in samastitihi, the pose of attention, for 10 breaths (or 5 breaths, or 20 breaths) IS a practice too. 

But most importantly, just stand and breathe and be quiet and strong and simple and still for a few moments. Then go off and live the day. 

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Summer Reading List: Volume 1

Stay Curious! Summer is a great time to catch up on your active desire to read more and be inspired. Here, we’ve collected some top yoga-relative reading from your fave teachers. So, before it’s too late, pick a book up from our boutiques or load up your kindle with some of these brilliant recs. Keep reading below to find your next favorite page-turner.

[We’ve asked Namaste teacher Jaimie Patterson to model some of our newest summer styles available in the Namaste Boutique. Perfect for lounging around with your favorite book!]

Bottom Left: ELANA MORGULIS, LMFT, E-RYT: Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now was the first big game changer in my life. I felt soothed and transformed just reading it. As I moved more into clinical work with people in my studies of wellness and mindfulness, Jon Kabat Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living was an informative, experiential read.

Bottom Right: JERRY GIVENS Art of Joyful Living, by Swami Rama. I often recommend this book to beginning yogis who want to know how they can take what they learn in the classroom out into their lives, answering the questions “how do I live like a yogi?” I find it to be inspiring while remaining grounded with layman practical advice for anyone at any stage of their practice.

Top Left: JILL LINDSAY: Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater!

Top Right: AVA ROY: any and all of the poetry by Hafiz.

Bottom Left: ANNA LANDAUER: A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield

Bottom Right: MARGI YOUNGYoga of the Subtle Body by  Tias Little, Light on Yoga!!  by Iyengar, anything by Dohna Farhi, The Inner Traditions of Yoga-Michael Stone (in tribute), Atlas of Human Anatomy by Netter, Yoga Sutras by Chip Hartranft

Top Left: SIMONA BALANTrue Yoga by Jennie Lee, When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron, Healthy at 100 by John Robbins

Top Right: REBECCA ROGERS:  Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson, Coming Back to Life (2014) by Joanna Macy, Trauma Stewardship by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky

Heads down people!

Learn more about our amazing teachers here. (Including Jaimi Patterson, featured in pics in this post.)

   

Shop local and visit our boutiques where many of these books (and clothes) are available for sale!

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Take ACTION August.

August Studio Focus: Take ACTION!

Our studio theme is to TAKE ACTION and our community practice is to MAKE 5 MINUTES. We say MAKE 5 MINUTES, not find 5 minutes, because empowerment happens when we take control of our time (as much as possible) and make things happen for ourselves.

It’s easy to philosophize next steps. Whether it’s finding motivation for creative projects or simply checking off that lingering to-do – sometimes the best course of action is to shine your focus on the task at hand and JUST DO IT. Being mindful is great, but like everything, moderation is key. If we don’t commit to action we can get lost in contemplation!

AUGUST COMMUNITY PRACTICE: MAKE 5 MINUTES

Stay tuned this month for suggestions on how to beat back procrastination and make five minutes every day for things that make a difference. Also, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter for special ACTION OFFERS this month!

Share with us on social media using the hashtag #YearofEmpowerment.

Join our community Facebook groupYear of Empowerment Club for weekly tips and journal prompts.

Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips from your favorite Namaste teachers.

Want to check out past months?

Catch up on all of our Year of Empowerment and join us as we continue the journey.

    

    Community Building Yoga Oakland Berkeley

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