Every time of year, there is an occasion for stress with work, holidays, family obligations, education, moving, and weddings. There is no shortage of reasons to be stressed out over something. Here is a Yogic method, which can help you handle stress all year long.
Learn from a Yoga teacher who remains calm “under fire.” It is easy to have the appearance of being calm and quite another matter to actually put it into practice daily. In life, you will see stressful situations and hectic moments, but the person, who remains calm, during a naturally stressful time, is a person you can learn from.
Now, what if the calmest person you know is not a Yoga teacher? You should learn by watching him or her, in action, and enhance your own powers of observation. Later, you could visualize yourself being calm in a similar chaotic situation.
Does this sound unrealistic? No, but the Sanskrit word “Grahana” comes to mind. This is a complex word, but one of the ways it can be defined is, as a perception, or the process of seeing things as they are. Grahana is a meditative state where your mind focuses on observing without judgment.
Some people scoff at the idea of Yogis, who practice positive visualization and observe life, with mindfulness. You may hear people say, “That will never work,” or “Meditation is a waste of time.” The truth is the person who is negative in life, does practice his or her own negative brand of Grahana. In fact, some Yoga teachers would say negativity is the opposite of Grahana because it is non-acceptance.
On the other hand, if we constantly look at the world with a pessimistic viewpoint, is this a truthful perception of life? To the pessimist, a negative perception of life is reality. A negative perception creates the “cloud of doom,” which follows this person around in life. Self-pity and negative thoughts are created, envisioned, and become a constant daily cycle, within the life of a pessimist.
Remember the saying: “Be careful what you wish for.” You could also say, “Be mindful of what you visualize.” A mindful and positive perception of life is “light baggage,” in comparison to the burden of negative thought.
Look at stress as a tool, which you can use for good. When you come to a Yoga class, you will notice that some of your problems seem to evaporate. What happened? You filtered thoughts, concentrated, meditated, and prioritized all of the day’s problems.
If you took part in a Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, or Kundalini Yoga class, the muscles in your body feel much less tense – due to the physical techniques you learned and practiced. When you finish your Yoga class, you are ready to put the daily stress of life to good use. This is a form of “Yoga off the mat.”
Yoga is not a “magic stress killer,” but Yoga does have many techniques for effective stress management.
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. http://www.riyoga.com He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. To receive a Free e-Book: “Yoga in Practice,” and a Free Yoga Newsletter, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html