MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06: About 150 yoga enthusiast attend Yoga Aid to raise money for charities and to promote the benefits of yoga on December 6, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Luis Ascui/Getty Images)
At just 31 years old (and looking more like 25), you might wonder what yoga instructor Shana Stein of Get Yogafied knows about leading a stressful life. That is, until you learn about her day job as a criminal defense attorney.
After picking up yoga in law school, Stein is now a ten-year veteran of the practice, dividing her time between the big city and her studio in the quiet town of Cross Roads in Denton County. She’s able to achieve peace and balance in her busy life with a few simple, insightful strategies.
Read on for her keys to rest and relaxation – just in time for the weekend.
Five Rules: (En)Lighten Up!
It’s no surprise that a yoga instructor recommends exercise for relaxation, but Stein’s all for freedom of choice. Like golf? Get swingin’. Or maybe try swimming or tennis. For those of us in the less-coordinated department, she points out that “walking is universal” and you can do it anywhere, anytime.
Learning to “breathe through” a stressful situation is an art in an of itself. Stein suggests starting with the following “simple and very powerful” meditation. First, go somewhere quiet and, in a relaxed position, breathe slowly in and out through your nose. While breathing, count to ten and back down to one, focusing on the numbers in your mind. With practice, this calming exercise will soon come naturally.
“When you stop learning, you stop living,” our expert asserts. From reading to music to gardening, Stein loves learning as a tool for stress reduction. No matter how random or quirky, find something that interests you and explore it.
“I think that people get tense because they don’t think they’re allowed to dream.” Stein believes that taking the time to let go of day-to-day concerns is key. Focus instead on positive thoughts, hopes and ideas, if only for a moment, and it’ll do you a world of good.
Last, but certainly not least, giving back works wonders both ways. Volunteering in your community and sharing more time with friends and family reduces stress and helps build stronger, supportive relationships.