Select from the following Tapas practices:
1. Set a time every day and stick to it. Keep it short. It's not about how long your meditation can be, but about the simple act of doing it as it will establish a lifelong habit.
The purpose of meditation is to lessen the noise in the mind.
Less noise = fewer thoughts, fewer disturbances = mental peace
The best way to begin a meditation practice is to find a class and a teacher. However, that's not necessary. Meditation is a natural state of mind and can be accessed at any time. A teacher serves only as a guide.
2. Start with 10 minutes of sit-down practice.
For specific guidelines, visit Yoga Meditation.
# Think and Plan a "Mini-Vacation"
If you live in this world, stress relief is essential.
Stress jacks up the nervous system, overburdens the adrenal glands, and lowers the immunity.
A swim in the ocean, a hike in the woods, a daylong rock-climbing outing, or two-hour self-directed yoga retreat are mini-vacations.
Choose a place where you can be TIMELESS just by youself, or with the people you love.
Plan a mini-vacation all the time!
# Practice Yoga Nidra (Yogic Deep Relaxation)
Deep Relaxation, or Yoga Nidra, is one of the most powerful methods of stress relief. It reduces deep seated mental and emotional tensions.
# Barefoot It
Anything 'barefoot': 'barefoot picnic', 'barefoot on the beach', 'barefoot frisbee', 'barefoot gardening', and so on.
The key is to connect to the Earth. Living breathing ground.
Not asphalt. No shoes.
Roll around. Smell the grass. Stretch.
For yoga asanas, use a towel instead a yoga mat to stay connected to the energy of the Earth.
It is my personal experience. I feel relaxed, restored, and rejuvenated after connecting with the real living ground.
We are made of the Earth elements. When we connect to the Earth, like a loving mother, It heals us, restores our energies, and makes us feel grounded. The Earth 'draws' your stress and negative energy out of you.
There is a layer of negative ions a few inches off the ground. The negative ions neutralize inflammation in the body. Much the same way that antioxidants in our food reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals.
This anti-inflammatory ionic layer is responsible for the quick healing of animals that are in contact with the ground.
Hence, the healing effect of gardening. Being in touch with the ground has been a living tradition in many cultures.
People who work with the Earth are known to live longer, and be more relaxed and easy-going.
# Ommm It
Om-ing is an effective method for achieving instant stress relief and peace of mind.
1. Breathe deeply when you Omm. Let the Os and the Ms be of equal length.
2. Let the vibration of the sound of the hum reverberate through your whole body. Feel the resonance in the chest and the head.
3. Om for two-three minutes at a time, or longer.
Can be done anywhere: shower, in traffic, in midst of an argument. It puts an instant stopper on most arguments.
# Practice Slow Breathing
Animals who breathe slowly, live longer. Tortoises and elephants, known for their longevity, have a particularly slow breath rate: 2-3 breaths a minute. Dogs and cats, on the other hand, breathing rapidly, don't square off as well.
Since we are able to control our breath voluntarily, it makes sense to practice slowing down the breath.
The key is not to strain or feel discomfort.
Step by Step Method
It's best to work up to a slow breath rate gradually.
Step 1: Start with 4 seconds on inhale and 4 seconds on exhale.
Step 2: When 4 seconds is comfortable, increase to 5 seconds and so on till 8 seconds. Should take at least a week of daily practice to achieve 8 seconds.
Step 3: After 8 seconds, begin to lengthen the exhalation until it's double of the inhalation (16 seconds). This should take a few additional weeks.
Step 4: Keep adding 1 second to the inhalation and 2 seconds to the exhalation, until infinity ... just kidding. (only until the 10-20 ratio)
This practice can lengthen your lifespan, and provide mental peace and physical stress relief.
# Connect to Animals Often
Animals are natural healers. Having a pet animal contributes greatly to stress relief.
Animals are incredibly present and connected to their emotions. When they see us as part of their group, they give us their unconditional love.
Energetically, pet animals share their positive energy/vibration with us all the time, thereby evoking the healing process in us.
It seems that pets see us the way we want other people to see us. I am always reminded of the bumper sticker:
"God, Please Help Me to Be the Person
My Dog Thinks I Am".
If you don't own a pet animal, ... they own you. ... (smile) ... What I mean to say is that you can connect to animals without owning one.
Click here for "Dog Wisdom"
You may volunteer at a shelter, which is always so greatly appreciated. You may just make it a habit to go to a dog park, or a dog beach, and watch how happy and present the dogs are. You'll definitely get their healing vibe and find yourself more present and relaxed. You can choose to ride horses, or swim with the dolphins. (Shark tanks are not useful for stress relief.)
Ayurvedic Perspective on Sensory Healing
According to Ayurveda, all diseases arise from the wrong use of the senses, which may be excessive, deficient, or improper.
Excessive sensory environment means overload. If you overeat, you'll get indigestion. If you overload your senses, indigestion happens in the mind. This may lead to anxiety, lack of focus, ADD or ADHD, disturbed thinking, and other mental disorders.
Deficient use of certain healing colors, sounds, and sensations is just as problematic. For example, if a baby does not experience the sense of loving touch, its immune system will be low. In some real-life cases, it would be too low to survive.
The sciences of yoga and Ayurveda give many recommendations for creating a healthy environment through the proper use of the senses.
1. Create a healthy environment and sensory healing through the use of healing colors wherever you spend the most time: bedroom, dining room, office.
Light blue, green, and beige are more healing and calming. Light yellow, and deep earthy orange are more healing and energizing.
Next time you paint the walls, hang curtains, or buy furniture, think of the healing colors above.
2. Create sensory healing with positive visual images.
Look around your house: What creates a positive feeling in you?
Images of nature. Flowers. Plants. Great art. Photos. Paintings.
3. Create sensory healing through the use of healing sounds.
Put a bird bath or a bird feeder outside. Have a selection of music which creates healing and positive feeling in you.
Avoid any music that's jarring, harsh, or aggressive. Unless, that is what you want to feel. Your physical body will register and 'copy' any sensory intake, no matter if it's healing or disturbing.
4. Use different scents and aromas for healing, relaxation, and well-being.
Play with different scents that make you feel good and relaxed. Your own feeling - your smell and your nose - are your best guides.
Just a couple of favorite scents, in the form of a candle or a scent diffuser, make a huge difference in making you feel relaxed and create a healing environment.
5. Clear physical clutter.
If your physical space is cluttered, your mind will pick up on that.
Take a look around your physical space. Get rid of unnecessary stuff. Get a box, walk around the house, and place in it anything that you haven't used in a while and don't absolutely need. Give the box away - human and animal shelters would appreciate it.
6. Update your book and DVD/video library, and replace anything negative with positive.
Consider getting rid of those books and movies that are 'downers' and have violence and aggression in them. Instead, get some positive uplifting books and movies.