Mental Health Awareness
Last week was mental health awareness week and for five days I chose to share tips how to overcome anxiety with yoga, mindfulness and meditation. I chose anxiety, because it is a topic that feels close to me and something that I am prone to myself.
Day 1: Restorative yoga
A simple yet effective pose to reduce anxiety is child’s pose #balasana : you can have your knees together or separate, arms can be extended to the front or rest along your legs, head should rest on the floor - if it doesn’t touch the floor, use a blanket, yoga brick or a pillow to support your forehead. Relax your hips and practice deep belly breaths - on an inhale the air expands your belly may be touching your thighs, as you exhale - soften your belly, notice the weight of your body resting on the floor. 10x breaths with eyes closed or open will make you feel a little less stressed and less anxious
Day 2: Pranyama
Deep conscious breath is a powerful tool to reduce anxiety and even help to deal with panic attacks. The technique that I find is very calming - alternate nostril breathing. Sit yourself comfortably, bring the right index and middle finger into your palm and close the right nostril with right thumb. Breathe in through left nostril for a count of 4, close both nostrils with a thumb and ring finger, hold the breath for a count of 4, keep left nostril closed and exhale through the right for a count of 8. Inhale through the right nostril... Continue with this breathing technique for 10-20x breaths. Closing the eyes and visualising how air flows through your nose, your lungs and your body can also be quite relaxing and meditative.
Day 3: Meditation
Sit comfortably with a straight back, keep your eyes open, but very soft and relaxed gaze. Slowly inhale through your nose, expand your belly as if air fills it up. As you exhale – reverse – pull the belly in as if you squeeze the air out. Try to make inhalation and exhalation equally long. Close your eyes. Start to count 1 as you inhale, 2 as you exhale. Continue to count until 10 and then start over with 1. Continue for 5 minutes. Just before you finish, stop counting, and let go of any control of your mind for 10 seconds – let it do whatever your mind wants to. (It brings me the most blissful feeling 💕) After that start to gently bring back awareness to your body, where you are and open your eyes. Feel the peace in your mind!
Day 4: Aromatherapy
Two of my favourite essential oils are frankincense and lavender - there are so versatile, you only need few drops of them and the aroma is amazing! These essential oils are also known for their calming and mood brightening properties - few of my favourite ways to apply them: - Use in a diffuser
- Add few drops to the bath - Add few drops in my hands and spread around the wet hair - gives lovely aroma that lasts long 🌸
Day 5: Mindfulness
One of the best things that yoga and meditation taught me is to experience positive emotions from sitting back and simply observing. Anxiety often is triggered by being disconnected to what is happening in the present and noticing simple everyday things and details that surround us. My favourite way to do so is to observe the small changes that happen with plants on my balcony if I am at home - it brings me to a happy and calm place. You can try try this technique, no matter where you are: notice the colours surrounding you, the temperature and quality of the air, any smells or aromas, what are you sitting or standing on, details on your clothing, sounds that surround you.
Hope this was helpful, remember these tips can be used at any time of the day, any day and also all of them in the same day!