Yoga and Stress
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Lotus Yoga Off The Mat Challenge
Day seven: Yoga and Stress

Hello Yogis!

Day seven of the Lotus Yoga Off The Mat Challenge theme is yoga and stress.

It seems like I’m always writing about how yoga can help us deal with stress. So when I sat down to write the post for DAY 7 of the Lotus Yoga Off The Mat Challenge, a flash of embarrassment shot through my mind: wow, I must be overstressed; I need to get that under control! On the tail of those thoughts however, was the voice of reason and the image of reality: we are all overstressed; it’s the state of our times.

Unlike those in generations before us, we are far removed from nature; our lives are on high-speed treadmills; our foods and buildings and even our air is polluted with toxins; our relationships are even contaminated with toxins; and we are over-saturated with choices and demands. We can’t return to a slower pace or a cleaner environment. Stress is simply a part of our current state of life. So, what to do about it? How can we cope?

My answer, of course, is yoga.

I’m not suggesting that on an individual level, yoga can clean up the world or protect us from all of our stressors, but it is indeed an effective tool that can assist us. All the Asanas have physical, mental, and spiritual benefits that linger long after we leave the mat. Do you have special poses that impact your response to stress?

For me, it’s simple breath:

  • Notice the breath coming into the body; feel it spread cool air into the nostrils, fill the chest, belly, be in my being;
  • Notice as breath moves back out; feel it retreat – belly cavity, chest relax, warm air exit my mouth.
  • Notice the temples relax as a result of focusing my attention to breath
  • Notice skin on my head release its grip on skull
  • Notice the jaw give up its clench
  • Notice the support of the floor
  • Notice the hips surrender their defense
  • Notice breath; observe stress exit my space.

How does yin yoga help you to tap into your inner calm in stressful situations? I look forward to hearing your stories! You can post on the Lotus FaceBook page until we can get the comment feature glitch here sorted out. Pictures on Instagram are also encouraged! Be sure to include the hash tag: #lotusyogaoffthemat in your comment.