6.5

YOGA AND SELF-CARE

There are many scientifically proven health benefits of yoga and a lot of these benefits do not require any physical poses, per se.

The four short videos below come from yoga and dance instructor, Hemalayaa Behl and introduces viewers to some simple practices that can be incorporated into one’s life.  None of these exercises require any body positions, but are rather more focused on specific ways to focus in on one’s breathing – an integral part of yoga.

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Stress Break

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Morning Practice to Awaken the Soul

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Warrior Stress Relief

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Nada Yoga (Om / Aung)

Reflection Question: Try one of the breathing exercises Hemalayaa demonstrates in the videos above. Which one did you try and what was the experience like?

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25 thoughts on “6.5

  1. I tried the morning practice. I found that like many of the peace actions, this was a good way to refocus energy and attention onto positivity and light (literally). While I rather enjoyed the practice and can see myself doing it again, I wondered what could be done in its place during the winter months, the short days being a time when I need this kind of jump start the most, since I most often leave home before the sun rise and return after it has set?

  2. I did the warrior stress relief. Honestly I felt kind of foolish doing it, (thank goodness nobody saw me). I mean here you are sticking your tongue out like a Lion and breathing in through your teeth and at the end of all of it making sounds that sound like a horse breathing. It was a little unnatural at first but once I got over that, I could see that it did sort of make me calmer in the sense of my face felt more relaxed. I can see something like this working in my classroom to bring me back after I might get flustered. Almost like a woosaw moment that allows me to recollect myself.

  3. I tried the Om/Auing exercise discussed and demonstrated in the Nada Yoga video. The first time I tried it on my own, I used low voice because it felt silly to be sitting and randomly saying Om/Auing out loud. I practiced a couple more times and, with each try, I was able to increase my volume and extend my breathe out. I could feel the sound vibrations in my tongue and mouth and throat and it felt freeing to belt out Om/Auing. When I finished saying Om/Auing, I was smiling and felt more relaxed.

  4. I tried the warrior stress relief activity. At first, it gave me a slight headache rolling my eyes back and forth. This activity is quite different. I can’t say I would try it again. But in the event of stress or a peaceful moment needed I may have to incorporate it in my activities.

  5. I tried the Warrior Stress Release and found it revitalizing and would like to continue using it as I go through my daily activities. I was also intrigued by the eye exercises and will probably adopt it too. These exercises are quite personal and I know that I need to develop the discipline to do them.

  6. I tried “Stress Break” but modified it so as to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth (I got less dizzy). I found this exercise calming. I, also, tried and liked the eye exercises in the “Warrior Stress Relief”. Perhaps if I do this regularly I can help my nearsightedness (Think I read an article to that effect earlier this week.) Found it relieved my tired eyes. I wonder, does that mean they were stressed…

    To be honest, some of Hemalayaa’s descriptive text (i.e. “sacred and powerful”, “Vedic goddess of destruction” and “ancient spiritual practice”) made me uncomfortable in my spirit. Also to question, is yoga the only exercise program widely touted in peace pedagogy? And, if so, why?

  7. I actually tried all of them. The Nada yoga didn’t do anything for me. And the one regarding the sun doesn’t really fit my own view of spirituality. But I liked the three breaths and the loosening up of the face by doing eye exercises.

    I like the physical benefits of yoga but when yoga instructors get real spiritual, such as talking about making connections with the sun and stuff like that, I start getting resistant because their view of spirituality doesn’t really fit mine. I have some ELL students who come from conservative religious backgrounds and this could be an issue.

    At the same time, I’m looking for some ways to take mental breaks in class and I think doing breaths or loosening up the face could work. If I did any of this, I would present it merely as an exercise to become more alert or more relaxed.

  8. I tried the morning practice to awaken the soul. It actually felt great. Anything that would make my day a little more smoother. I went to football practice and it seemed different for some reason. I really don’t know what it was so I tried it again the next day and it was the same, so I,guess it does work huh. I will attempt to introduce something like this to my classes, I will modify it a little, but change is good and I am hoping it will be great for me and my students.

  9. I looked at all of these and was getting worried I wasn’t going to enjoy trying any of them. I finally tried the Nada Yoga! I thought it was kind of fun, but maybe I wasn’t doing it correctly because I was not able to feel the reverberations. This is kind of a disruptive activity if you’ve got roommates. Meanwhile I think I’m going to stick to the Thich Nhat Hanh Meditations.

  10. I like the morning practice to awaken the soul. This I am going to attempt to practice. When I did this it seemed as my day was non stressful to me. This also really helped me because I have a five year old to get ready every morning. This seems like I can do this without the sun being present. Just breathing is relaxing to me, but finding a special place in the house and relaxing before I get my day started, PRICELESS!

  11. Pingback: Week 6 – Yoga and Mindfulness (Summer 2013) | Peace Learner

  12. I did the warrior activity and found it a bit odd, yet enjoyable by the end of it. I think I’ll probably try and do this activity in the morning to bring a couple laughs and to calm myself for the day.

  13. Maria Schneider: I tried the stress break exercise that Hemalayaa demonstrated. I’ve done this exercise before in yoga class, but haven’t thought to incorporate into my daily life, or my “tool box” as she says. I really liked it and could tell that my breath was lengthened. I’ll try it more as I get stressed and need to center myself!

  14. I went through all of these exercises the other morning and found the breathing exercises helpful. I made an effort to do them yesterday when I got some extremely irritating news and I found it helpful. I don’t think I really felt silly as much as wondering why I was doing the other exercises – maybe it’s something I’d have to practice, but I didn’t find them to really make me feel any differently.

  15. Daniel Knoll – I tried the Morning Practice to Awaken the Soul exercise. To be completely honest, I felt pretty silly while trying to follow along with the exercise. I sort of half heartedly followed along, and I think part of the reason is that while I was sitting in my apartment, I realized that I don’t have an “alter.” I have no where to go to feel alone and concentrate on myself. This exercise makes me want to go and find that place. When I do find it, im going to try this exercise again.

  16. I tried all of the exercises but I really liked the warrior stress relief. I didn’t feel that silly because I was alone and I really did feel a difference afterward. I think the combination of the facial expressions, breathing through the mouth instead of the nose, and the multiple stops while breathing in and out combined to create a great exercise for re-centering and clearing the mind.

  17. I chose the morning practice. I thought it was best because I am doing this in the morning. 🙂 It was interesting for me. I found that it was difficult for me to actively imagine what she described. I also thought it was hard to take myself seriously while doing this. I felt a bit goofy. I think that I will try to use Thich Nhat Hanh’s exercises for breathing.

  18. I tried the warrior stress relief routine because the name sounded very appealing. Personally, I found that there was too much going on with the eye movements at the beginning. It sort of hurt my eyeballs. But the breathing part was quite fun and effective.

  19. I tried them all, but was less successful with the Nada Yoga. Somehow, I felt less private doing it. The experience with the stress break and awaken the soul were soothing and refreshing. I also felt good with the Warrior Stress Relief, but my eyes did hurt at the end.

  20. I followed along with all of the exercises. The eye exercises felt rather strange and kind of made my eyes hurt- perhaps I should have started out with smaller motions first… the first breathing exercise is one that I would most likely incorporate into my daily life. I try to do these kinds of breathing exercises when I’m on the metro, listening to music or when I’m stressed out. I notice that when I get stressed or overwhelmed I tend to hold my breath, so I try to be conscious of my breathing even if it’s only for a few minutes a day as I’m doing other things. I try to make a contest out of it by counting and seeing how far I can get building up the seconds of breathing in and out.

  21. I did the warrior breathing. The eye rolls made my face itch, and I didn’t enjoy that one bit, but I thought maybe it’s because I’m building my muscles – which can’t be a bad thing. I loved the dragon and collie breathing. Like Leah, I felt playful and energized by them. Ultimately, my face felt warm and tingly. Like someone had sprinkled fairy dust on it…

  22. At first I was taken back by Hemalayaa’s hippy dippyness but her breathing practices actually worked! I tried the morning practice and felt like sunlight was warming my body and then reflecting out through my finger tips and into the world. I would like to try doing it every day this week and see if it improves my day!

  23. I practiced the warrior stress relief. I have to admit I felt pretty silly making the breathing noises, but after I had finished the routine I really did feel better! I enjoyed doing the eye exercises and felt that it relaxed my face and cleared my head. I frequently get stress headaches and try to rub my temples to alleviate the pain around my eyes, but next time I am going to try this exercise when I feel the tension building. The breathing exercise was fun because of the fierce breath in, followed my the lion exhale out. It felt playful and after doing the energetic breathing routine and shaking out my face muscles I felt instantly more relaxed and in a lighthearted mood.

  24. I tried the Nada Yoga, and I especially appreciated the explanation behind how to make the “aung” sound. As the instructor explained, I could definitely feel the sound reverberating throughout. I appreciate how the use of sound enhances the breathing and self-awareness.

  25. I followed along with Hemalayaa when she did the warrior stress relief routine, and then did it again when I got stressful news. I purposefully waited for a time when I wanted to react to something stressful, and instead of overreacting or getting more worked up, I spend time rolling my eyes around, sucking my breath in and blowing it out, like she demonstrates. (This reminds me of the New Zealand haka!) My experience was good – it felt good to pay attention to my breathing during a moment when my mind would have been elsewhere, and also I felt that this exercise cleared my vision in some way. It felt like I’d avoided a headache, if that makes sense.

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