Todd uses LinkedIN to connect with other professionals and peers in the Yoga world. Recently he answered a question someone put up on LinkedIN Answers and we wanted to share it here with you today because his answer is something we all could take the time to remember once in a while.
- “How do you relax or release stress. Many of us work 24/7 so how do you get to relieve your stress and get some time with the other people in your life ? I started a Martial Art when i was young and now i teach it and have done for 20 years approx (Absolute tae kwon do Association), 30 years in martial arts helped me. What do you do?”
Yoga, as you probably already know, is an awesome way to relieve stress because of it’s emphasis on the breath. When we’re stressed there’s tension in the chest and the breath is short. It’s so elementary, we often overlook it but just to pause and breath will be a huge relief. In yoga, we change the symptoms and through changing the symptoms, we effect the cause. In other words: you feel stressed so your chest tightens and you don’t fully breath. Then, because you don’t full breath, your chest tightens and you feel even more stressed. This is just one example of how if we’re not conscious, we can accidentally fall into a wheel of suffering. Because life IS good, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Next time you feel stressed, find a quiet place on the floor to sit. Elevate your seat on a folded blanket or a pillow. You want your spine to be straight and there should be a healthy curvature to the low back. If sitting this way is uncomfortable, sit against a wall or even in a chair is better than nothing. Rest inside your state of being and know that it is not the true you; that your true nature is to be happy and joyful; that underneath the stress, there is freedom, waiting to be discovered. Feel the breath flow, breathing in and out through the nose. Notice the shortness of your breath cycles and begin to lengthen them. Try playing with at least a five count inhale and a five count exhale. If you can, extend these to seven or eight. Bring your breaths all the way up into the top of the chest and even hold them there for a moment before releasing. Try not to “fight” with the breath, by clinching the jaw or gripping the shoulders. Rather, let the tongue rest in the mouth, teeth slightly separated, lips lightly together. The shoulders rest back and down. You want the inhale to last just as long as the exhale. Pausing at the bottom of the breath is also helpful. Working the breath even just three to five minutes will make a dramatic difference in your stress level. After you’ve finished, let your breath go back on autopilot and notice how the chest has opened, the breath is naturally deeper, and the stress feels like a distant mountain you’ve just conquered. You are not governed by your emotions. You have the gift of consciousness and with it, you can remember that emotions are fleeting. They come and go like the weather. Remembering this fact will help you see the big picture and weather the storm when it comes. Be well!
Todd Vogt (Studio Owner)
Thanks Todd, just reading your answer alone made me more relaxed and focused.