Monday, March 7, 2011

3 Steps to Stress Relief

Lavender-scented aromatherapy oil has a calming effect.
(Photo © istockphoto/elenathewise)

Feeling stressed? A massage is one surefire way to relieve tension, but you don’t always have the time (or the money) to get one. So what do you do to get some peace of mind in a pinch? Here’s a 3-step process I personally swear by:

Step 1: Play an ongoing om. There’s a reason yogis chant the mantra “om” before a yoga class. This sacred syllable is believed to be the sound of the universe, and reciting it or reflecting on it has a deeply meditative, harmonizing effect.  (This is the Om CD I use at home.)

Step 2: Light some lavender essential oil. Lavender is one of the most powerful remedies in the plant world. When used in aromatherapy, the scent of lavender helps calm the nervous system, providing relief for mental tension, anxiety, depression, emotional stress, and even migraines.

Step 3: Put your legs up against a wall. Viparita Karani or Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose is an easy, restorative yoga pose that relaxes your nervous system and adrenals, lowers your heart rate, and reduces tension in your legs, feet, and lower back. Check out Yoga Journal for a photo of the pose along with some great tips on how to do it.

Bonus Tip: Five minutes will do the trick, though I highly recommend at least 15. Let me know how it goes!


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