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7 Tips to slow down and relax this summer. Implement this in your child’s Yoga!

7 Tips to Slow Down & Relax This Summer

By Melissa Green
Between work, social engagements, family and friends, the forever long ‘to do’ list, trying to fit in a good workout, and other obligations, most people are constantly running and doing, leaving little to no room for relaxation, activities they truly enjoy—most importantly, themselves.
The summer is the perfect time to slow down and create more space in your hectic life for YOU.
Here are seven tips to slow down, relax, and enjoy your summer vacation—even in the comfort of your own home (or backyard).
1. Take a minute and think about all of your obligations. If there are any you don’t want to do or attend, politely decline. It’s okay to say NO.  Packing your schedule with social events can be fun, but also draining, so think about the ones that don’t excite you and take a night off.
2. Review your to do list and assess what is truly a priority and what can be done another day. If it’s not urgent, don’t stress if you can’t cross it off your list. There is always tomorrow.

3. Pick an activity you’ve wanted to try or restaurant you’ve heard rave reviews about, and go out and try it! It’s a great time to take up a new hobby or visit somewhere you’ve never been. It will give you something to look forward to and even put a smile on your face while doing it.
4. Take advantage of the weather. Many of us complain when it’s freezing and snowing out, so try and appreciate this time of year. BBQ, eat outside at your favorite restaurant, go for a walk on the beach or on a scenic hike, enjoy a swim, etc. Get outside and soak in the sun and fresh air (and of course wear your sunscreen!).  It’s good for your health and overall well-being and happiness.
5. Create a morning ritual. Before you have your morning coffee, tea, or even get out of bed, start your day on a positive note. Do a breathing exercise, think of a few things you’re grateful for, and set an intention for the day. This is a great way to start a fresh day—with a clear, calm mind.
6. Be a little selfish and schedule “me time” in your calendar. Whether you take a yoga class on the beach or just sit in your backyard with a good book, it’s important to take time for yourself and do things that nourish you and make you happy. Schedule this time into your week, just as you would a work meeting or that infamous happy hour.
7. BREATHE—when you feel yourself getting stressed out or worked up, take a moment, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Re-examine your situation, and remind yourself it’s summertime—and time for you to slow down and chill out.
Stop speeding through life. Slow down and enjoy the ride…
Published June 29, 2012 at 9:03 AM

About Melissa Green

I am a certified Holistic Health Coach. I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and came in search of this career after working in the fashion industry and feeling unfulfilled, stressed out and truly unhappy. This switch has opened my eyes and heart to my passion and a happier, healthier, and more positive way of living, which I hope to spread on to each of my clients.
As a Health Coach I help young women achieve their health and life goals by incorporating natural foods and healthier habits that work best for them. I support them in creating balance in their busy schedules, reducing stress, increasing energy, and achieving pure happiness, beauty, and confidence from the inside out. Together we make gradual, fun, and lifelong changes to ensure each individual is living their best self!
Website: liveyourbestself.com
Facebook: Live-Your-Best-Self
Twitter: @liveurbestself
Source: MindBodyGreen

Ocean Breath-Relaxing The Sympathetic Nervous System

When we breathe in a rhythmic and audible fashion breathing in and out of the nose with the mouth closed, sounding like the waves of the ocean or Darth Vader, we are actually doing more than just breathing, we are stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.  The breath is the steady part that resides within all of us.  It is always there and automatically occurs whether we are aware or not.

Whereas most of its actions are involuntary, some, such as breathing, work in tandem with the conscious mind.

When we breathe in a mindful manner, it calms the  autonomic nervous system, which consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are located in the portion of the brain stem entitled the medulla oblongata.

The sympathetic nervous system is fight or flight.  This happens when we get stressed or have to run away from a bear, for example.  Our heart rate accelerates, our breath is either rapid or non-existent and we feel tightness in our body.  Most of us stay in this state of mind when we get in this state, we need to breathe and that is usually the first thing that. The parasympathetic nervous system is the relaxation response in the body.

 Mindful breathing can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and help us come into a relaxed state of mind.

Inhale/Exhale Pose-Yogic tool box series

    Tools to deal with default behavior!

Last week we talked about default behavior.  What do you do when life and events get a little heated.  There are specific tools which yoga brings to the table to handle these default behaviors.  When I feel myself getting stressed, or having a tight feeling in my belly which I have come to recognize as fear, I mindfully begin to breathe.

I learned from one of my yoga instructors, her method of staying calm and centered is to say to yourself as  you are breathing, I am breathing in, I am breathing out as you inhale and exhale out of your nose.   This self-talk brings mindfulness to the breath, which in turn calms the mind and the nervous system.  I teach this to my own kids and when I teach yoga to children.

Having  this simple, yet powerful tool, can turn a potentially crazy situation into a calm one by the use of the breath.

Mindfulness

Let’s take a look at a theme today and use it in our every day lives. The theme today is, “What is your default when things get a little uncomfortable?”  This can apply to yoga practice and life (off the mat).  Do you flee, distract or indulge yourself, become angry, have fear?  How do we know what our default is?  Being mindful and learning to become an observer instead of a participant.

What is it that you are avoiding?  The way we handle difficult things can be an opportunity for growth and can enlighten us about ourselves.  Are we avoiding growth.  What would happen if we embraced the growth and looked at the challenge straight in the face?  Points to ponder for sure.

This concept can be helpful when instructing kids yoga.  If they are acting crazy or distracted during certain poses that may be difficult for them, this may be their default behavior.  This can be pointed out to them so that they become aware of their tendencies.

Remember that yoga is all about awareness. It requires focus on the breath, the body, the mind, and the spirit. Sometimes when we get uncomfortable we forget where we are and what we are doing and give in to our emotions, when it is best to step back and evaluate them. Practicing yoga and finding your breath is a great way to step outside of yourself and see things from another perspective, offering us enlightenment. Children are highly intuitive and have the ability to do this as well; even with their ever changing emotions. They just need to be guided in the right direction and taught how to recognize these emotions and perspectives, and how to deal with them in a positive and healthy way to prepare for the life ahead of them; where there will constantly be twists and turns and new challenges for them to conquer.

  A great pose for recognizing your inner emotions and taking a step back is yogic sleep, which is in our ABC Yoga Cards for Kids Deck. Share your experiences and thoughts as well. We would love to hear them!