On the BBC website there is a news report about the rising levels of stress and the amount of time employees take off work because of it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11617292
Life has never seemed busier and the holiday season is no exception! Working, commuting, relationships, family, health - they can all be richly rewarding but also take energy and effort and stress can accumlate along the way. Generally we keep going until we reach a point where we collapse in a heap and need to rethink what we are doing. My students often come to me with chronically stiff shoulders, holding their stress in their posture or they talk about having difficulty relaxing or sleeping. And of course they come to yoga to take the time and make the effort to release and relax.
Yoga helps us to take time out to allow the body and mind to relax, helping to release some of the tension that builds up. It gives us time to reset, to reevaluate the stress we take on and to have some perspective on what the causes are. Stress is notoriously tricky to spot early, it can sneak up on you and then spill out over into your life before you really realise you are stressed at all.
Yoga is an obvious choice for relieving stress and tension and the benefits are becoming widely known. It gives us a regular space to help release it and restore our natural balance.
Here is a suggestion to help you release some stress over the holiday period...
- First find a quiet, comfortable place to sit where you won't be disturbed and place a lit candle before you
- Settle into a soft gaze into the heart of the flame
- Try not to hold your gaze too firmly, feel free to blink as you need to and not force it
- Continue gazing into the candle for a few minutes if possible, noticing the variations and gentle movements of the flame
- After a few minutes, gently close your eyes, seeing if you can maintain the image of the candle in your minds eye. Hold the image of the candle for as long as possible. If you lose it, open the eyes and gaze at the candle again and repeat
- Mostly, enjoy the candle meditation and enjoy the calm, still feeling it can leave you with.
Tip - if you find this difficult, some yoga postures beforehand can help settle you before you start.