For many centuries yogis have known that the way to find serenity and achieve calm is to practice yoga. The techniques that connect yoga and meditation to the mind and body have been studied in recent years and the results have shown a significant positive effect on our mental health and physiology. Treating the mind and body as a whole system has it’s advantages.
Over the past 6 or so months people’s health has been greatly affected mentally and physical due to the uncertainty stress from the Covid Pandemic. It only makes sense that we work on learning coping skills that help us get through our own “Fight or Flight” response when we are faced with situations that raise our emotions and stress on our bodies . But, how do we cope with these situations when many of us were never taught the tools? I’ve trained with one of the Yoga and Mental Health leading experts, Ashley A. Turner in the field to not only help myself, but to help others.
Here are two easy tips to practice in order to ground yourself and transition a fight or flight response to a calm.
Begin to deactivate your response, we do this by practicing:
1. Breathing – Yes, it’s true. Taking breaths and counting will help. But, do it in a way that is very mindful, not just counting.
Extend your inhale breath, hold and then extend your exhale breath.
Start by inhaling 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and then exhale 4 counts. Do this 4 times. Then, on the end of the exhale, begin to hold 4 counts before inhaling for 4 counts.
Do this as many times last you feel necessary. But, within a few rounds you should begin to feel the calm settle in. Your whole body should start to relax more.
2. Move – After soothing yourself with extended breaths, being moving. Movement or shaking can be seen in animals who go through nervous or dangerous situations. The shaking is a result from excess energy. An animal who has just been threatened may begin to walk back and forth also. Both of these result in a depletion of excessive energy and is soothing. In humans, dancing, walking, running, shaking or any form of positive movement will bring on calmness, yoga included.
By beginning to use these 2 simple tools when situations arise, you’ll begin to automatically switch from the “Fight or Flight” response to a more effective way to deal with stressful situations.