Meditation is the perfect vehicle for rejuvenation of the body, mind, and spirit. By its very nature, meditation takes you to the quiet place inside yourself and works gently to stem the fight-or-flight stress response. Through the restful awareness of meditation, it is possible to quiet and purify the mind and calm the stress response. People who regularly experience restful awareness develop less hypertension, heart disease, anxiety, and depression. They find it easier to give up life-damaging habits such as cigarettes, excessive alcohol, and drugs. In short, meditation is a very important way to purify and quiet the mind, thus rejuvenating the body.
While meditation is sometimes portrayed as a difficult or esoteric practice mastered only by monks spending decades sequestered in caves in exotic, remote locations, this mythical view couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, Everyone Can Meditate.
A regular practice of yoga balances the mind-body physiology, including the nervous system, endocrine system (responsible for the production of stress-relieving hormones), and digestion. Like meditation, yoga helps you experience a state of body-centered restful awareness that releases the grip of stressful thought patterns, allowing you to return to your natural state of balance, happiness, and wholeness. Read this month’s yoga feature in Agni or learn more about the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga here.
Exhale Your Stress
In the midst of stress, we have an unconscious tendency to breathe shallowly and tighten the solar plexus, emotions. Kapalabhati or “Shining Breath” is a yogic practice that releases anxiety and cleanses toxins from the body. Learn how to perform Kapalabhati here.
Take a Music Break
Every sound has a physiological effect, offering a powerful tool for stress relief. When you listen to a beautiful song or soothing ocean waves, your body produces chemicals that help you feel calm and joyful. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, experiment with sound therapy. Soothing classical, jazz, or New Age compositions may soothe you. The healing sounds of birds, the rustle of trees in the wind, and the rush of a river can quell anxiety. If you live in an urban area, take advantage of the local parks or listen to nature recordings.
Create a Restful Sleep Routine
At night when we experience deep, restful sleep, our body releases the stress of the day and we wake up feeling refreshed, clear-minded, and energized. Without adequate rest, our body accumulates tension and gets further out of balance. If you are having falling or staying asleep, a restful sleep routine will help you once again enjoy the pleasures and benefits of sleep. Find our recommendations for a restful sleep routine here.