Wendy Hassenpflug, owner of Vayu Yoga®, shares tips on how to live life healthier, happier and more completely.
By Wendy Hassenpflug, MS, E-RYT
When it comes to reducing stress in your life, it’s tempting to seek out the easy-fixes that require no change in your daily life. While there are some easy, quick-fixes, that can provide temporary relief, there are also some techniques that can give you more permanent relief.
What if you could allow challenging situations to flow through you, but not overwhelm you?
What if you could learn to better manage stress instead of escaping from it or ignoring it?
What if instead of going into reaction mode, you were able to stay in the moment, notice what is happening, and choose the best response?
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Stress is typically defined by a situation in which the demands required exceed a person’s ability or resources. The best way to combat stress is to come to terms with our stress.
We have to learn how to recognize what causes stress, how much stress is too much, and then how to better manage it so that our body and mind can deal with it effectively. Stress is usually caused by two things:
1) Whether you think a given situation is deserving of anxiety
2) How you react to your anxious thoughts
When we are constantly in a state of stress our body goes into protection, or ‘fight or flight’ mode, and perceives all situations as potential threats. This explains why we act so differently when we are highly stressed, you may have noticed this in other people’s behavior.
Have you ever noticed people that seem overly sensitive or aggressive, or just difficult to be around? Do you experience shallow fast breathing, a high resting heart rate, or high blood pressure? These could all be the effects of stress.
It is often difficult to see that we are actually in this stressful state of being, because we have allowed ourselves to operate on a daily basis with a certain amount of ‘regular’ stress. But it is easy to identify stress in others, thus making us more aware of our own actions and reactions. One of our best ways to combat stress is to find activities that allow us to counteract the stress response, not just control our reactions to stress.
Think about two things that we are constantly craving in our daily lives, more energy and more time. There are many ways to go about creating more energy, however, the need for more time indicates that perhaps we need to learn how to manage our time more effectively. If we increase our energy then we can increase our capacity for life, handle challenges better, thus enjoy life more.
Three ways to increase your energy and create more time in your life are to:
- Get enough sleep each night (7-8 hours)
- Exercise daily, doing something you enjoy, start with 20-30 minutes a day
- Avoid stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, refined sugars) they cannot calm you
There are certain activities that have proven to help with stress reduction: yoga, meditation, and tapping techniques. Yoga is one of the oldest complementary and alternative medicines used, it has been around for over 3000 years.
The practice of yoga is based on bringing the mind, body and spirit together. Yoga can have a great impact on your health and can reduce the effects that stress have on your body. Meditation has been shown to effectively reduce symptoms of anxiety reduce stress, and boost the immune system.
Energy Tapping (Emotional Freedom Techniques) can bring you quick, effective relief from stress, anxiety, pain and suffering, and distressing thoughts.
While all of these activities have proven to help reduce stress, it is important to choose the right type of activity for yourself. For example, not all types of yoga will help you reduce stress, if you are attracted to power yoga where you are constantly challenging yourself, and not allowing yourself to be still or relax within your yoga practice, you probably won’t transform your stress response.
The best place to start to learn how to trigger the ‘relax response’ is to learn how to still and quiet the body and mind. Meditation, restorative yoga, gentle yoga, and forms of therapeutic yoga are a great place to start your practice.
Meditation is a term used to find a relaxed state of being. There are many types of meditation techniques that all share the same goal of achieving inner peace. Some examples include: Guided Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, Tai Chi, and Xi-Gong (pronounced Chee-Gung).
Some common similarities of meditation techniques include: visualization, guided imagery, increased awareness, acceptance of living in the present moment, relaxation and breathing exercises. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance, and can help you carry on through your day with an improved outlook.
For over 5000 years Eastern medicine has taught us about our meridian pathways, these are key points of the flow of our body’s energy. Energy Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Tapping, uses the meridians for tapping points.
Tapping is an easy and simple technique:
1) tune into your body and mind
2) speak a truth about how you feel right now
3) choose how you’d like to feel…
4) all while tapping on specific points on the body.
There are nine different tapping points on the body, each is used for different purposes. Tapping can help you transform procrastination and frustration so you can achieve your dreams by removing blocks to abundance, vitality and vibrancy.
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Vayu Yoga® provides a broad range of specialty instruction that pertain to training the body and mind via floor-based yoga, aerial yoga, YogaWall®, Pilates®, and other related stretching and therapeutic practices.
We offer many styles and levels of yoga, including Restorative, Meditation, Gentle, and Therapeutic Yoga. We provide personalized attention to our students through small group trainings (1-8 students). Vayu Yoga® gives students the tools they need to perform a safe practice for their individual bodies, teaching how to listen to their bodies, and create a strong awareness in their practice.
About Santa Clarita Vayu Yoga® Owner Wendy Hassenpflug
Wendy Hassenpflug is an E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher), through Yoga Alliance, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Pilates Teacher (Pilates Method Alliance), Certified Personal Trainer (National College of Exercise Professionals). She holds a Master of Science in Kinesiology and a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science, and has over 26 years of experience as an educator of secondary and higher education.
Wendy teaches private, duet, and small group trainings at her studio Vayu Yoga®, located at 24353 Main Street Newhall, CA 91321. Visit http://www.vayuyoga.com for more information or to schedule an appointment or book a training.
Wendy hosts “Vibrant Living with Vayu Yoga®” on AM 1220 KHTS radio in Santa Clarita, CA, Tuesdays from 11:00am till Noon. Click here to listen to podcasts.
Source: Santa Clarita News