STRESS RELIEF

when you are having a bad day, honestly ask yourself why you are unhappy and honestly listen to your answer. No one can make you angry unless you let them – unless you forget who you really are.
The next time that you having a bad day, try one or all of one the following suggestions:
” Practice your postures. A feeling of healthy and vitality and release will ease away your tension.
” Sit and breathe deeply. Nothing is more relaxing or more peaceful.
” Get out into nature, even if it’s only sitting outside to watch the leaves below. Listen to the crickets or take a walk. We are part of nature. Sometimes, one of our biggest mistakes is thinking that we are separated from nature. By reestablishing your connection with nature, you can also find your peace.
” Forget about yourself before a moment and do something for someone else. It’s been scientifically proven that those who extend themselves to others are happier individuals and live longer.
” Make a list of positive and negative sides of the situation. Be grateful that the list of good things is generally longer than the list of bad things.
” Always remind yourself who and what you are. When you are lonely, upset, unhappy, or depressed, you’ve forgotten who you really are. You are a whole person – precious and perfect at this moment. Stay in this moment.
Staying in this moment is what we’ll be doing when we do our meditation. Some people meditate as a seeding. But really, what is there to seek that you don’t already have?
Postures
Side Scissors.
Lie on your right side and support your head with your right hand. Your left arm is stretched out along your body, as though you were relaxing on your side at the bench. Inhale and lift your left leg straight up. Exhale and lower your leg down in front of you and bring your left toe as close to shoulder level as you comfortably can. You can place your left arm in front of your abdomen to give you a little more balance and support. Try to keep your leg straight. Inhale and raise your left leg up Exhale and lower it down to its original position. Repeat this movement three times on your right side. Turn to lie on your left side, raise your right leg on your inhalation and lower it on your exhalation. Repeat three times on your left side.
Gate first.
In a kneeling position, stretch your left leg out to your side, while keeping your left leg and left foot turned to the side. Your arms are by your sides. Inhale and lift your arms up parallel to the floor. Exhale and bend your body to the side over your extended left leg. Inhale and lift your body up. Exhale and lower your arms back to the sides. Return your left leg to its original kneeling position and extend your right leg. Again, inhale and lift your arms up to the sides; exhale and bend your body to the side over the extended right leg. Inhale and lift your body up; exhale and lower your arms.
Gate second.
In a kneeling position, extend your left leg out to the side, with your left leg and foot turned to the side. Inhale and lift your arms up. Twist at the waist and face your extended left leg. Raise the toes of your left foot straight up. Try to reach for your toe with both hands and bend your head down to your knee. Inhale and raise your body up; twist to face forward. Exhale and lower your arms. Repeat this movement for your right side.
Relaxation/Meditation: The Pause of Lightness
To truly relax is to pause – to bring everything around and about us to a standstill, to a great silent pause.
Just as nature pauses in its autumn and the bird pauses on the limb, we too must pause, turn off, and tune in. It begins with a single thought: “I an going to let go!” This experience allows us to discover the essence or ourselves and realize that we are complete. It leads us further into precious peace.
Lie down in a centered position – your body comfortable on the floor. It is always important to make sure that your body is comfortable so that it does not disturb your meditation. Release and relax with your eyes closed, and rid yourself of all tightness, tension, and restrictions. This following relaxation emphasizes lightness.
Starting with your heels, imagine that you can feel the space between your heels and the floor. Try not think of either your heels or the floor; instead, feel the space between the two. (pause.)
Feel the space between your thighs and the floor. (pause.)
Continue your relaxed breathing and try to feel the space between the floor and the following parts of your body:
Your buttocks. (pause.)
Your back. (pause.)
Your hands. (pause.)
Your arms. (pause.)
Your shoulder. (pause.)
Your head. (pause.)
Try to feel all these various points as one surface. your whole body is floating on the space between, suspended, light, relaxed, and carefree. (pause.)
With each inhalation, you feel lighter, and with each exhalation you feel more relaxed. (pause.)
Go one step further and make the space between you and the floor grow. The wider it becomes, the lighter you will feel. This state of lightness is the pinnacle of freedom. Each time that you inhale, feel your body become lighter, as though you were floating or drifting up, slowly into space. Be relaxed and know that you are safe and free. Keep following your inhalation, let it lift and guide you. Let go and enjoy. (pause.)
Lightness is your true essence. Heaviness – feeling weighted down – attributes of the ego. When you release your ego, your lightness returns. Absorb this feeling of lightness.
In order to come back down, concentrate on your exhalation instead of your inhalation. Every time that you exhale, let your body slowly and gently drift toward the floor again, like a leaf riding the gentle breeze. You drift downward. Take your time and enjoy your feeling of lightness and freedom. (pause.)
With one final deep exhalation, you are back on the floor. You are home again, safe, secure, and serene. Smile to yourself as you go into your first lazy stretch. Lightness always bring laughter, just as laughter makes us feel light. Say to yourself: “My body is relaxed and my mind is peaceful.” Enjoy a full stretch, a twist or a turn, and a yawn. Life is a celebration.
The Essence of Happiness
There are two kinds of happiness: conditional and unconditional. Conditional happiness is limited form of happiness, dependent on things outside ourselves. Generally we depend on other people in order to be happy. As such, we are very vulnerable. We are slaves to our needs. We become full of desires, which are not always fulfilled and lead to frustration. We fear that we may lose our happiness, and become anxious trying to hold on to it. This kind of dependent happiness is very dangerous. Its loss, in extreme cases of dependence, can cause destructive depressions.
We need unconditional happiness – independent happiness without strings or attachment. Happiness is detachment. However, it does not mean that we can’t enjoy attachment to someone or something. It simply means that we should keep our attachment in perspective – balanced to our being. Happiness that is outside ourselves is always incomplete – always limited. In order to happiness to be real, to be lasting, it must always come from within you. No one can touch real happiness, no one can destroy it. It is boundless, not limited.
Ask yourself what brings you happiness? Your answer will tell you whether it is lasting and permanent, and whether you are free. Unfortunately, most of us find ourselves experiencing limited happiness, rather than unlimited. So, where can we find this inner happiness? The essence of who we are is always happy. The inner being within us is always calm, in harmony, totally balanced and happy. We forget to tune and turn on to this inner being – this inner essence. We keep running around looking for happiness outside ourselves.
Postures
Raised or Leap Frog.
Take a kneeling position – buttocks on heels – and spread your knees apart. Make fists out of your hands and place them on the floor on the insides of your knees. Inhale and raise your body up as high as you can. Your weight will be on your fists and tops of your toes – do not turn your toes under. Exhale and lower your body. This posture strengthens the each of your feet and ankles. For a greater and slightly more difficult stretch, bring your fists closer to your body, midway between your knees and your groin. Inhale and raise your body up. Exhale to lower your body down. For a maximum stretch, bring your fists right in to your groin area, and again inhale to raise your body and exhale to lower your body.
Sit-up Twist.
Lie flat on your back with your legs six to twelve inches apart and clasp your hands behind your head. Inhale and raise your body up to sitting position. Exhale and lower your left elbow to your right knee. Inhale to raise your body to a sitting position, and exhale to lower yourself down to lie flat. Reverse for the other side. Inhale up to the sitting position and exhale to lower your right elbow to your left knee. Inhale to a sitting position and exhale to lie down flat. Repeat three or four times for each side.
Wall-Ceiling Variation.
Stand with your feet far apart. Inhale and lift your arms out to your sides. Turn your left leg and foot sideways. Exhaling, bend your left knee and place your hands on each side of your left foot. Your left knee should not extend beyond your left toe. Your right leg is extended out behind you, resting on your toes, which are turned under. Slowly and gently, from your hips, raise your body up and lower it down again – up and down. The idea is to loosen your hips and stretch the muscle at the top of your extended thigh. Repeat for the opposite side. Practice at least three or four times for each side of your body.
Relaxation/Meditation: The Forces of Past and Future
This time begin by standing. Just as you lie in a balanced position, so too, you should stand in a balanced position. Your feet will be directly below your hips – knees slightly bent or relaxed, rather than locked in place. Your back is straight but not stiff. Your lower back is gently relaxed downward. The tip of your tongue is resting lightly on the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth. Picture a golden string attached to the crown of your head – pulling you up toward heaven – allowing the upper part of your body to be light and relaxed. Try to stay in the now – be aware of this moment. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to stay in the present moment, our mind keeps slipping forward to the future or backward into the past. When we miss the now, we miss life.
Picture yourself standing in a huge magnetized tunnel. The force of this tunnel could easily overtake you if you decided to leave. In order to feel this force, surrender yourself to it. Keep your body relaxed enough so you can flow with the force. You are still standing fairly balanced and centered. In a second, there is going to be a flashing light to your left and the word PAST will light up. At that moment, you will feel a powerful force pulling you to the left.
To your left, the light – the past, the force – is pulling you further and further off balance. You whole body wants to go to the left, and you give in to it.
You must hold your body there until the light goes off – until the urge to stay leaves you.

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