Yoga off the Mat – Breathe Deeper

Enjoy this re-post and reminder to breathe more deeply to stay balanced and reduce stress in life

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person rolling green gym mat

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“Yoga is about changing our habits”. ~Rodney Yee

One of the habits that shows up for everyone as they begin their yoga practice, is how we shorten and even hold the breath when sensation increases.

Holding our breath is a defense mechanism of the human body. It prepares us to react to a threat. However, it increases the tension and stress in the body, rather than bringing it to a state of balance.

In yoga we learn to deepen the breath when sensation increases. We breathe through tension and discomfort and allow the energy to keep flowing, rather than getting stuck.

What a great lesson to bring to our lives!

Yoga increases sensitivity and awareness. It will reveal where the body is tight, where mobility is limited and where energy is blocked.

In yoga we learn to breathe, feel, and where possible let go. Ultimately this helps us make more skillful, conscious choices and allows us to create greater fulfillment in life.

And it all starts with the breath.

Inhalations bring in new energy and help us feel. Exhalations release negative energy and help us relax.

Breath deeply as you move through the highs and lows of life, and make the ride easier.

Namaste

* Being Present at Work

Being present is the ability to be completely in the moment and flexible enough to handle the unexpected.

be present at work

~ Take a moment to consider how useful this can be in every day life:

When you are driving; playing golf or tennis; walking the dog; preparing food; or looking after a toddler. When we are present we are focused and alert.

~ And how useful at work:

When you are under pressure; about to make a presentation; giving feedback in a performance review; receiving feedback; when you notice you aren’t getting things done because you can’t focus; when dealing with conflict; when you need to make an important decision.

When we learn to come in to the present moment, we can overcome fear and become focused, alert and be our best.

being present is a present

Being present not only benefits us, but others too.

When you face and overcome fear you build confidence in yourself. Confident people are attractive. People are drawn to you – bosses, peers and those you lead. You can be relied on to do a good job. You build trust.

Being focused and ready also inspires confidence within others. You become a role model for others to be their best.

The advantages of being present are obvious. We are at our best when we are fully in the moment.

But why is it so difficult to get here?

There are many reasons, but most of all its because the “moment” keeps changing. Our world is always in motion, and with today’s technology everything is speeded up. Everyone is trying to do several things at once, yet no one thing gets our full attention. This frantic activity exacerbates the underlying problem – how we react to our own feelings of fear.

In one form or the other,  fear is what keeps us from being present.

fearful turtle

When we feel fear it isn’t the feeling itself that keeps us from being present but the thoughts that we attach to the fear that create problems.

There are two human responses to fear:

  1. Fight or Flight Response.

One of the biggest obstacles to being present is the adrenaline rush that comes when we humans face a threat. Our body goes into hyper-drive as we prepare to attack or run away at great speed. When the physical threat is real it can save our lives. But this same response is triggered by our pressure packed high stakes days, key meetings, and often the commute itself!

  1. Our Inner Critic.

Most people describe their inner critic as a voice or voices in their heads that constantly evaluate their behavior. It is every person’s Achilles Heel. The inner critic is a contracting diminishing voice. As it grows louder, we become smaller, weaker and less open. The inner voice can be so powerful that it prevents many people from ever trying.

Even the most confident of people have an inner critic.

To find out more about the practice of being present, please click on this page.

Part 2 of this post will look at the 4 practical ways to become more present and mindful in our daily lives.

 

*Note: This post was inspired and adapted from “Leadership Presence” by Belle Linda Halper and Kathy Lubar.

* When the Going Gets Tough

 

grounded

When the going gets tough … the tough get grounded.

The past couple of weeks have been like a proverbial roller coaster.  Now I have time to to reflect and share some insights.

I noticed there was a rocky start when I was in shock and denial. Wishing things could be different.  But the more I sat with the reality, the more I let go of resistance and found acceptance.

Yes, there was fear. Fear about what could happen. Fear about loss. Projecting anxiety into the future creates more  worry in the mind … and stress in the body. That is why finding time to pause, walk outside, meditate, BREATHE and practice yoga became so important to me.

Coming into the present moment and accepting the way things are, brings alignment rather than resistance and tension.
The universe aligned the best people and resources to tackle the situation and I knew that we were in good hands.

Since then I found time every day to pause and come fully in the present … and live my own words.

“Life is a series of highs and lows

Be grateful for the highs

Be graceful in the lows

And find contentment in your middle ground.”

The Middle Ground is always there for us every time we pause and bring our attention inwards with an open mind and heart. It is where love and spirit reside.

May you find it for yourself and let it nourish you through the lows of life.

 

* Tips for Handling the Highs and Lows of Life

I came across this list in a training manual for helping people manage their stress. I’m not sure who the originator is, but I would like to acknowledge Dr Laura Belsten and the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence for sharing it. Good stuff 🙂roller coaster

  1. Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you are the statue.
  2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  3. Drive carefully. Its not only cars that can be recalled to their maker.
  4. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
  5. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  6. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
  7. Since its the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
  8. When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
  9. You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
  10. Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
  11. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all live in the same box.

riding roller coaster

So much wisdom for navigating life!

#7 caught my attention this morning…. Have fun with these 😎