Or are we?
Most of us are on overdrive. As a result, we are stressed out. We don’t eat well. Don’t sleep well. Don’t enjoy time with our loved ones enough. Stress interferes with everything. Especially our health. We have too many deadlines, and too many devices running our lives.
Read my previous posts “The Way Life Should Be,” “The Yoga Sutras,” or “Yoga at Sea” for my POV on balance. We don’t have to be at our limit. Stress is a state of mind, and we can change our state of mind with yoga for stress relief.
To help you get there, I’ll be launching Stress Busters workshops on May 19 at the D.R. Semmes YMCA, located at 281 and St. Mary’s. The six weekly one-hour yoga for stress relief sessions are designed to help people of all ages and levels of fitness to deal with the outer stressors. Classes will include breath work, guided meditation, hatha yoga, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, acupressure, and Traditional Chinese exercises. I’ll also provide self-tests, pointers, and readings about easy-to-incorporate lifestyle changes and practices to help manage stress in a chaotic world.
To ensure personalization within the Stress Buster series, workshops will be limited in attendance. The workshops are open to the public, with discounts for members of any YMCA. No prior yoga experience is necessary.
I’ve read countless books and articles that attest to how yoga practices can reduce stress. My personal path to yoga and meditation began in the 1970s, in my search for a way to manage my chronic pain brought on by stress. Many years later, it dawned on me that stress reduction was a good fit for me in the broad yoga world. Today, as a yoga therapist, my passion is helping people with blood sugar and digestive disorders. But guess what? It’s all related. Stress reduction is crucial for diabetics and pre-diabetics as well as most anyone with digestive disorders.
The best of the best in Western medicine, The Mayo Clinic, is on my side. “Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function. And almost anyone can do it.”
The Dalai Lama is on my side too. Or, better stated, I’m on his side. “We also often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, overreacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally…” says the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile.
Dr. Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist who has interviewed the Dalai Lama many times, acknowledges, “Since stress lowers the threshold for what may trigger anger, the first step is preventative: cultivating an inner contentment and calmer state of mind, as recommend by the Dalai Lama, can definitely help.”
Houston’s finest, MD Anderson, has an Integrative Medicine Center, and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend workshops with several of its doctors who recommend yoga for body and mind health. “Yoga is a quintessential mind-body practice combining movement, controlled breathing, and breathing exercises, and meditation. The focus on the breath in all aspects of yoga helps to reduce stress, leading to a healthy balance between mind and body.”
So if we think we’re stressed picking out clothes to wear, food to prepare, taking the kids to their soccer games, what about those whose jobs are to save people’s lives? If I make a mistake, will a typo or grammatical error really matter? For those in the medical arena, especially the operating room, one slip can be life or death.
Medical Daily, reported this week, about a nurses’ study on meditation and stress. “The study focused on members of a surgical intensive care unit who were routinely exposed to some pretty high-pressure — and often upsetting — situations.” After eight weeks of practicing mindfulness, yoga postures, meditation, and listening to music, the stress levels were reduced by 40 percent. “Meditation has been shown, time and time again, to hold the key to stress reduction.”
Yoga Nidra, for example, has had outstanding success treating thousands of vets, worldwide with PTSD. Richard Miller, Ph.D., has conducted a myriad of research studies to prove the effectiveness of his signature program, called iRest. Following one study conducted by the Department of Defense, the Deployment Health Clinical Center at Walter Reed began a weekly yoga nidra treatment program for soldiers. Through Miller’s leadership and direction, our service personnel, vets, and their families now have access to this form of yoga in more than 30 facilities around the country.
Reduce your stress. Restore your health. Relax your body, mind, and soul, with yoga. For more information on Stress Busters, Yoga for stress relief, contact me.