Everyone experiences stress throughout their lives. It is your body’s physical response to mental or emotional pressure and can often leave you feeling overwhelmed.
At Luluh Lane, we care about our community and we truly believe your home should be your happy place. To help, we have compiled a list of 5 calming techniques inspired by yoga that you can do in the comfort of your own abode.
1. Three-Layer Breathing
Have you ever watched a baby breathe? Their little belly rises and falls fully on every inhale and exhale that they happily take. As adults, our breathing becomes shallow and we tend to breath into our chest, which unsurprisingly only gets worse when we feel stressed. Try this Three -Layer breathing technique which can help you to breathe deeper and also relieve tension.
Find a space to sit comfortably, or alternatively lie down on your back. Close your eyes and begin by breathing normally, starting to bring your attention to your breath. Any thoughts or distractions that come to your mind, accept them and then let them go, bringing your attention back to your inhales and exhales.
Next, place your hands gently on each side of your stomach and as you inhale allow your belly to expand, noticing your hands get further apart, exhale and notice your hands come back to where they started. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Next rest your hands on each side of your rib cage, breath deeply into your belly and up into your ribs and then exhale slowly. Notice the movement of your hands as you breathe. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Finally bring your fingertips onto each of your collar bones, inhale fully into your belly, ribs and chest and then exhale slowly again paying attention to the movement of your hands. Repeat this 3-5 times.
From here release your hands, gently open your eyes and relax your breath. Hopefully you should be feeling calmer and in a better head space.
2. Yoga Poses
Yoga poses are a great way to help relieve stress and tension, benefiting both body and mind. There are many variations from relaxing Hatha to more energetic Ashtanga, it can take time to find the right one for you but once you do you won’t look back. Here are a couple of relaxing poses that can be done easily at home.
Benefits: This is a total spine exercise. It increases circulation into your face and head and can help release pent-up energy.
How to: Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands flat on the floor directly under your shoulders. Spread out your fingers and keep a slight bend at the elbows. Knees are straight down from the hips, tops of feet are resting on the floor. Inhale as you tilt the pelvis forward and arch the back. Lift your head up and back (cow position). Exhale as you tilt your pelvis the opposite way and at the same time push up through your shoulders, arching your back, tucking your chin into your chest (cat position). Inhale through your nose into cow position. Exhale through your nose into cat position. Allow your movements to become smooth and guided by your breath.
Benefits: Can help quieten your mind, easing stress and anxiety, while giving a gentle stretch to your back.
How to: While sitting on your heels, knees slightly wider than your hips, bring your forehead to the floor and stretch your arms forward, with palms on the floor. Bring your sit bones back towards your heels. Hold the position as you breathe long, slow and deep. To relieve even more tension, try placing a yoga block (if you have one) beneath the third eye point on your forehead. This should really help you let go.
3. Gratitude Journaling
Ever been told to count your blessings? Well actually this can be a really helpful way to reduce negative thoughts and replace them with a more positive outlook. Find a time each day, we suggest either first thing in the morning or before going to bed to write down 3-5 things you are thankful for in your life. Not only can this help you feel better at the time but can help shift mindset in general to being more positive. Plus, if you have a day when you are feeling particularly down you can reflect back on your journal to help lift your mood.
When you need to reduce stress, find a cosy spot in your home and take yourself on a journey that’s all in your head. Get yourself into a comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine your relaxing place, such as a beach, a mountain view or whatever works best for you. Visualise the sights, smells and sounds. The more vivid the image you paint in your mind, the more your body will respond to the invitation to relax, helping you feel calmer and happier.
5. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This can be practised at any time of day either sitting or lying down to help relax the body and the mind. This a wonderful technique to learn to help you switch off from those racing thoughts. Start by finding a comfortable position and closing your eyes. Practice tensing and then releasing each of your muscle groups. Begin from your toes and work all the the way up to the muscles in your face. This a wonderful technique to learn if you have trouble switching off and are finding it difficult to drift off to sleep.
Remember, stress can affect anyone from any age so why not involve the whole family. Children will love joining in with you!