Book: Life No Stress
What is this book for?
Managing stress in everyday life can be challenging, sometimes even ... stressful! The use of the mind to manage stress or optimize performance has its limits. So why not just exercise our bodies?
Body mediation is largely overlooked in our modern world.
It is however one of the essential bases of the structuring of an individual: solving mental problems by using our body. And for this... Yoga-coaching is ideal.
Yoga-coaching consists of using the 8 forms of Rāja Yoga to master the mind, a goal that coincides with the historical origin of Yoga!
As you will discover in this ultra-practical guide, this approach is eminently centered on the person. It is therefore a personal practice which is unrelated to group practice, however, is completely complementary.
You will practice according to your experience, at home and, at your own pace.
The main Yogi postures and practices are available in an accessible format… at home and without an instructor.
This is the first time that this adaptation and recontextualisation of yoga has been done. Thanks to this practical life guide, you will quickly find a Yoga solution to stressful and typically modern situations.
By alleviating your stress through regular practice of this personal Yoga, you will more easily overcome life’s difficulties. You will feel less overwhelmed, less oppressed, and less depressed…
Your life will take on the colors it should never have lost!
1 | What is Yoga?
Yoga is certainly the most practiced non-sport discipline in the world. Its deserved success comes from its body mediation approach which acts on all fronts:
- The physical plane of course with the increase of vitality and the maintenance of a flexible and toned body,
- The mental plane with stress management and the possibility of reaching a state of mental emptiness, which is so rare in our western world,
- The emotional plane with the control of the emotions by the control of breathing and muscular relaxation,
- The transpersonal plan with meditation and a philosophy of a simple and pragmatic life.
Yoga was born three thousand years ago on the banks of the Indus, but it was not until the fourth century BC that it was codified by Patañjali in the form of Yoga Sūtra. This text of more than 195 aphorisms - short sentences intended to be easily memorized - is still one of the reference texts of Yoga in general and Rāja Yoga in particular.
Yoga can be translated as the science of the union between body and mind. Patañjali defines Yoga as the "cessation of the waves of the mind". In more modern terms, it looks like "stress management and calming thoughts" which brings us to the theme of this book.
Among the Eight Means recommended by Rāja Yoga, the most known to the public is Hatha Yoga or Yoga of postures or āsana. Prānayāma or science of breathing, is a concept familiar to anyone who has practiced Yoga a little. Finally, Dhyāna is better known in its Japanese form: Zazen meditation. This makes three Means, three approaches, and three types of practice. There are therefore at least five others and even more if we consider the whole panel available by combination in Rāja Yoga. Ergo, Yoga is not only postures, as you will see in this book; it is also rich in many other tools often much simpler and more affordable than complex postures.
Yoga for whom?
If we exclude complex postures, Yoga is accessible to everyone and starting early as the end of puberty. Moreover, many youth centers and associations offer yoga classes, often Hatha Yoga. Yoga for all is therefore a reality in many cities and even villages.
Of course a medical opinion is requested for the practice of advanced postures, and this is normal. Also in the context of this book, we will not use any advanced posture or those that commonly have contraindications. However, if you have never practiced Yoga, it is necessary to see with your doctor if certain movements are contraindicated specifically for you. If you have already tried Yoga, you will notice how simple and accessible the version of the postures offered here is, and how it makes sense. On one hand it is a practice without an instructor, and, on the other hand, the objective of this work is not the mastery of Yoga, but that of relaxation and life stress management!
Yoga for what?
As we said earlier, Yoga, or rather "yogas", will be tools of well-being and more specifically, well-being within the framework of our "No-Stress" approach. Anyone aiming for a "No Stress Life" can therefore use Yoga as a means of self-coaching in order to achieve their goals.
Ultimately, it is said that Yoga leads to the direct realization of our true nature. What if our true nature was a no-stress inner state for a No-Stress Life? This is what this book offers you.
2 | Effects of the body mediation
The term "body mediation" is recent among scientists, while it is the ancestral basis of many approaches such as Yoga and Qi-gong. It is technological progress that has enabled scientists to "enter" the human brain in order to establish what is currently called neuroplasticity.
A few years ago, we learned in school that we had a "neuronal capital", which was exhausted over time and with physical or mental shocks of life. Neuroscience has shown that this is wrong: we are able to constantly co-create new neurons as we co-create new neuronal circuits through learning or repetition.
This new neurophysiological frame of reference, which teaches us that we can be in perpetual self-construction, offers the opportunity via body mediation, to modify our behavior in life and our reactions to stress.
Stress specifically targets the areas of the brain involved in the coordination of cognition and emotions: the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. These areas at risk will be those where we will find atrophy or a functional disturbance during aging. Body mediation, via proprioception, will call upon our neuroplasticity and we will be able to re-educate our neuronal structure.
Through stress our body schema can become a priority. Enriching one's body schema via body mediation, therefore has a restorative power because it allows us to experience "I am" independently of any prejudice, any conditioning, and any negative or poor learning in childhood. We can live this "I am an original unit" without taking into account a value of esteem or function. And it is this memory that will prevail in the event of stress.
On the one hand, the psychosomatic tells us that we are somatizing our psychoses, without the knowledge of our own free will. Body mediation, on the other hand, allows us to reprogram our psyche via proprioception and neuroplasticity. Our body in conscious action becomes a wonderful anti-stress tool of course, but also evolves. The brain is not a machine, or pre-wired computer, it is a superb tool for adaptation and evolution.
From the moment we are listening to our sensations during a movement or a breathing, as soon as we are present and aware of what is happening in our body, we strengthen our capacity to adapt to change and to the outside world. By voluntarily developing this attitude we come to enrich our body schema, that is to say the framework of neurological references where our acts as our perceptions will come to take on their full meanings.
For example, while breathing, focusing on an area of the body allows the cortex to take control from the primitive brain, which is usually holding the reins. Of course for the experience to integrate, the breathing exercise must be maintained for a certain time; regular practice is the basis.
The fact of associating consciousness with movement or breathing makes it possible to have a new sensory experience each time. A quality of being settles, creating a unification between the body and the psyche which gives us the means to concentrate and be genuinely present without tension, and without stress.
The simple fact of installing a count keeps the mind present in the breathing. In addition, conscious breathing allows a readjustment of all physiological functions normally under the control of the autonomic nervous system.
It is normal not to succeed in the exercise "on the first try", The lack of instant perfection is proof that it is the very exercise that needs to be practiced and that you have correctly discerned the stress described is adversely affecting you. For example, if for the posture of the warrior (sheet 23) you advance the foot too much or not enough, you have confirmation that the stressful situation described is indeed problematic, causing some struggle with adapting to the context.
3 | The No-Stress frame 5A+5R
The first point in Yoga-coaching is to create a non-stressful context. For this Rāja Yoga proposes to develop five universal attitudes (Yamas) and five mental rules or observances (Niyamas). They initiate the fundamental human dimension in Yoga.
The 5 Attitudes (the 5A):
A1- Take into consideration what belongs to the other / Asteya
This is not taking or internalizing the stresses or challenges that belong to others, it is leaving other individuals, no matter how near and dear, with the consequences of their actions. It is identifying which problems belong to someone else and not sharing responsibility for those problems. A lot of stress will be avoided by applying this attitude. This may initially seem selfish but on the contrary contributes to everyone's autonomy.
A2- Speak clearly, have impeccable speech / Satyam
Clearly express your needs without preconceived ideas of solutions, avoid negations, speak with integrity without slandering, all this makes things simpler and less stressful. A good tip is to start your sentence with "I": I think, I feel, I believe, ... and end with "... in any case, here and now".
A3- Communicating with kindness / Ahimsā
Do not live as "mean or bad" when you say no to another and maintain a firm, fair attitude; this creates a benevolent climate. Having a disposition of mind inclining to understanding promotes an interior state without aggressiveness which leads to an attitude of non-violence and therefore non-stressful.
A4- Favor Simplicity / Aparigraha
Putting simplicity at the heart of your life, whether in your relationships or in your material life, is key because it allows you to always stay focused on the essentials. Many of our stresses are related to complexity. Getting back to simple things also means being able, on a daily basis, to avoid the traps of overconsumption and unrestrained over-solicitation, caused for example by the development of multimedia.
A5- Differentiating desire and need / Brahmachārya
The difference between desire and need is important because it is desire that drives lust. Need is normal and legitimate whereas desire and even more so the compulsive desire only bring stress (frustration, anger, jealousy, ...). This concerns both the sexual and the intellectual planes.
The 5 Rules or observances (the 5 R):
R1- Search for a pure intention / Shaucha
What is my intention when I say this? What is my objective when I adopt such an attitude or when I take this kind of action? Taking the time to think about this will lead to a better understanding of ourselves and less stress. By identifying which target we want to reach, we avoid the multiple stresses associated with any state of confusion or vagueness.
R2- Establish a healthy lifestyle / Tapah
A healthy lifestyle is normally established via a daily "stress-free" routine (such as brushing teeth, eating, changing clothes ...). Integrating body mediation practices into it requires effort and discipline at the outset, but then one obtains very interesting and lasting mental results of decreased stress.
R3- Letting go to evolve / Ishvarapranidhāna
If there is one certainty against which we can do nothing, it is that of seeing that everything changes at every moment. Accepting it is essential if we want to save ourselves all the stress of a totally unnecessary struggle and resistance. Whatever we do the world around us evolves, so do not react in a personal way. By choosing to live everything with as many opportunities as possible to discover and opportunities to seize, we will develop our adaptability and our confidence in ourselves as well as in life.
R4- Cultivate contentment / Samtosha
Being able to recognize and be satisfied with everything we have, like being able to be happy with who we are, brings peace of heart and mind and a "stress-free" state. Being able to focus on everything that is already going well (the glass half full), cultivating your ability to see the beautiful within us and around us, seeing the gifts of life is an attitude that can generate joy, enthusiasm and a "relaxed" state. Whatever the circumstances are, let’s simply do our best and we will no longer need to run towards thean "always more" mindset which is so stressful.
R5- Study the inner temple / Svādhyāya
There is in us a space available at will and in all circumstances, which can become an ideal place of tranquility and serenity if we decide to get to know it. This is what is called the inner temple. Taking the time to enter into our own self-knowledge book, to reflect on the philosophical meaning that we want to give to our life, to acquire this faculty of feeling unified in all facets of our being will help to create in us an inner state of better-being on which the external elements will no longer have a hold.
Conclusion on the 5A and 5R
Through the five attitudes (5A) and the five rules or observances (5R), Yoga encourages us to reflect on our inner values and to become aware of what we want as rules of life. When we make a choice or when we adopt a behavior, our value system is activated. By establishing clear benchmarks through the use of 5A + 5R, we will be able to act coherently with ourselves. And it is precisely the quality of this agreement with oneself that is the guarantee of a stress-free state.
These first two stages establish an appeasement of the mental and the emotional while allowing us to live consciously with passions and instincts rather than being toyed with by them. Our life becomes virtuous not in the moral sense, but in the pragmatic one as we bring more well-being to ourselves.
4 | Taking posture and breathing
Even if postures are not the only tools of Yoga-coaching, they remain essential in particular in the process of change. In the Stress-free approach, breathing into the posture is more important than how it is held. Within the framework of this book, the objective of the posture is to put our body in situation symbolically and energetically and not to soften or strengthen it, even if these two effects will often be there too.
The general approach to taking a posture will always be the same:
- Away from the meal, put yourself in a natural initial position.
- Go slowly and smoothly towards the position of the posture, the simplest and most accessible version for you (the one from the book is one of the simplest).
- If you need assistance such as a cushion, the support of the wall, or a belt,… to be comfortable in the posture: do not hesitate!
- Once you have arrived in the position, without forcing, become aware of the breathing in the area mainly stressed due to the posture. It is generally a slightly extended area, allowing you to experience a stretching effect.
- While being aware of this area of the body - often indicated in the text -, breathe deeply through it (make "as if") and practice three deep breaths:
- When you inhale, feel the opening action of the lungs on the targeted area - specific area for each posture - like a bellows.
- When you exhale, release by tending towards the proposed position.
- Once the series of circular breathing is finished (inhale = exhale = 5 sec for example) return smoothly to the natural position.
- If the posture is on the ground, get up by rolling beforehand on the side then by leaning on the arms (avoid at all costs "kidney stroke").
>>> In any case if you have the slightest doubt, consult your doctor for the health side and your Yoga instructor for the posture side.
5 | What is stress?
Positive stress, negative stress
Let's start with its etymology: comes from the Latin stringere, which means "to make stiff", to tighten, to press. Then the English language ended with the word stress itself which translates as a “constraint”.
Any constraining situation is therefore a stress.
In biology, the word stress is used to designate all the reactions of an organism subject to constraints in its environment. Another equivalent term also used in this context: "general adaptation syndrome".
Already, we note that the word stress takes two possible meanings according to whether one takes the literal point of view or the biological point of view. To avoid any confusion, we will use the word “stressor” or “trigger” for the first definition - etymological meaning - and we will keep the word “stress” to speak of the reaction and the state that this stressful agent will provoke within us - biological sense.
There are two types of stress:
- a stress called positive, stimulating and beneficial for us and our organism: the “eustress” where our way of reacting vis-a-vis the constraint is just and perfectly adapted, the physical and psychic tensions which result from it increase our vitality, our creativity, our performance.
- a stress called negative, destructuring and exhausting for us and our organism: the "distress" where our response to the stressor is disproportionate, inappropriate, creating negative tensions at the physiological and psychological levels and therefore under-performance.
Sources of stress have existed and have accompanied men since the dawn of time. Any novelty in the environment, any change, any modification in our landmarks, as well as any risk of aggression, conflict, are all factors of stress with which Humanity has been faced and remains confronted daily.
Originally, facing a predator, only one objective: to survive, and two possible attitudes: flee or attack. From there follows a whole series of neurobiological mechanisms which will lead to a particular physiological state called “stress state”.
Faced with a context experienced as threatening, the body's response depends on two complementary mechanisms:
- The first mechanism is an "Evaluation> Analysis> Solution" process, the conclusion of which is specific to each individual, depending on their history, their socio-cultural environment, their internal references and their "self-image". For example, during a sports activity, the noise of the crowd can be experienced as stimulating by some, or on the contrary, as irritating by others.
- The second mechanism is innate, does not depend on the stressor and always reproduces in an identical manner, these are the 3 phases of stress (sheet 7).
6 | The 4 causes of stress
1- The causes of stress in the physical plane
As soon as one of the needs of our physical body is not properly met, we are out of balance. Our internal homeostasis is threatened, we are likely to return to stress. (Homeostasis = ability of a system to maintain its operating balance despite external constraints).
A lack of rest, an unsuitable diet too rich in sugars or fats, over-training: all this contributes to creating a state of stress.
2- Causes of emotional stress
Each emotion has its usefulness, for example, without anger, no energy to defend one's rights or values, no opportunity to react to injustice or even to preserve one's physical or moral integrity. However, learning to manage your emotions is essential (anger among others) otherwise they overwhelm us, they create stress especially if we block or repress them!
Any emotion blocked or repressed creates physical stress: contraction of the jaw, restriction of breathing, knotted throat, tense flexor muscles... There is therefore a decrease in our potential. In addition, following these biochemical reactions our brain will start to function differently. Under the effect of stress, we will disconnect one of our two hemispheres and move on to the one that will be said to be dominant for us.
Two classic cases can arise as a response to stress:
- Either I am "dominant left brain" and I put myself in left brain functioning mode, that is to say the logical analytical brain. For example, I focus on the details, losing sight of the big picture, also cutting myself off from my intuition.
- Either I am "dominant right brain" and I enter into an irrational functioning, too global, no longer taking into account precise facts and becoming unable to take stock.
Another important point to remember: emotions can also be triggered by our imagination. They can happen when the event has not yet happened, or even if what we imagine is completely unrealistic. As soon as the stress is triggered, the brain no longer makes the difference and the stress becomes physiological and can no longer be managed by the mind.
3- Causes of mental stress
Often, they have their source in the messages of our early childhood, in the image we have of ourselves, through our fears, our beliefs, our limits, as well as in the representation that we have of others or life. They are therefore very linked to self-image (sheet 8) and can be reduced by mental coaching and by good bodily integration (the tools in this book).
4- The causes of metaphysical stress
Metaphysics is a philosophical approach that seeks to answer, among other things, the famous question "What is the meaning of life?". Or, if you prefer, what is the use of life on earth? The more we advance in life, the more this question will arise one day for us.
Whatever the cause of stress, Yoga will allow us to act upstream by allowing us to see things differently. In bodily mediation the innate intelligence of the body is put at the service of the mind.
7 | The 3 phases of stress
1- The alarm reaction:
At this stage, the organization mobilizes all of its resources:
- There will be release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which will increase the heart and respiratory rate.
- There will be an influx of blood to the muscles with slowing of the digestive and immune system, and mobilization of glucose stocks, the food of the muscles.
2- The resistance phase:
The organization draws on its resources:
- At this level, other hormones come into play, glucocorticoids. They will take over to maintain the production of glucose so that the body can continue to "cope". In order to do this they will use the reserves contained in the liver and fats.
3- The exhaustion phase:
All resources are exhausted:
- The glucose level in the blood drops with decreased muscle performance, and the appearance of symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, headaches, difficulty of concentrating, memory impairment etc.
- If the stress lasts over time, digestion will deteriorate, the immune system will collapse, and fatigue will increase.
These three essential phases clearly show us how stress, once triggered, becomes physiological. We understand better why only a physiological response such body mediation as proposed by Yoga is able to solve it.
8 | Self-image
Faced with a stressful event, the stress process will lead to a response where either "I feel capable" or "I do not feel up to it, I believe that I do not have sufficient resources", and this is stress, bad stress.
But why do I assess this situation as an attack? Why, do I think my internal resources are insufficient? Are my assessments objective? Well, not always as you might expect, and the subjectivity of our responses comes from what we call self-image or self-esteem.
Our whole life trajectory - context, failures, choices, values, beliefs, etc. - builds up this self-image. Having a good self-image, a good self-esteem is going to be a key point so as not to re-enter stress unnecessarily, and to control one's thoughts and emotions. In order to better understand the importance of self-image, let's see points where it has a considerable influence on the stress management process:
- our biological resistance: importance of suffering
- our emotional threshold: I am touched or not
- our acquired knowledge: I doubt or I take on
- our vision of life: optimistic or pessimistic
- our past experiences: I dramatize or I relativize
- our beliefs on the subject: this is positive or this is negative
- our sense of humor: I have perspective, I stand back or not
As we can see, having a good self-image has enormous consequences and improving this point through a regular practice by installing a “Stress-free” lifestyle is a definite plus.
Finally, remember that even if the stress seems small, the repetition of a stressful context is a very important factor in self-image. A little repeated stress sabotages as much as a big devaluing stress!
INSTALLING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
9 | Body well-being recipe
Routine is good against stress!
Description: When the stress is there, we no longer think of stress-free solutions; we are overwhelmed and we forget what is good for us.
Diagnosis: A study by American researchers published in the “Personality and Social Psychology” Journal, proves that having habits is a resource of stability on which we will rely in times of stress. We talk about routine as soon as we act without asking questions, once we have returned to a form of automatism. Every routine is the result of learning. Based on this principle we can choose the type of routine that we want to install. Now precisely, Yoga offers us a routine that automatically creates well-being and a stress-free state.
Action: Vinyasa, Little Sun Salutation
Anyone who has followed a year of Yoga knows the sun salutation which is the most popular "routine" in all approaches. We will define it as a reflex practice for well-being, in a "no-stress routine":
- In the morning preferably, sitting on the heels, hands joined at chest level, take a deep breath.
- Inhale, raise your arms to the sky. Gradually the hands rotate to finish back against back. Keep the posture full chest breathing.
- At the next exhale, move down to go face down, arms forward.
- In the posture, practice a full back breathing: imagine that the air enters through your back (sheet 4).
- You will now make a sort of circle with your upper body. The extent of the movement will depend on your possibilities, no need to force, stay flexible.
- Inhale: slide your chin forward while shaving the ground as much as possible, then raise your head slightly at the end of the inhale.
- Exhale: continue by rounding the back and slightly lowering the head to continue the circular movement backwards. So you come back sitting on your heels, face down.
- In posture, practice three full back breathing.
- Repeat 2 more "circles" by plunging flexibly, without forcing. Each circle ends with three dorsal breathings while in the position (chest on the knees).
- Finally, as at the start, straighten up by pointing to the sky with your hands back to back, take a full deep breath and come back.
Tip: For people who are not flexible, it is best to kneel on a large bolster as on a horse position in order to be comfortable and not to hurt yourself
=> 12 minutes of "Little Sun Salutation" is equivalent to 45 minutes of intensive aerobic sport!
10 | Balance through nutrition
Over the past century, the way we eat has changed dramatically. With the industrial era we saw the birth of foods poor in minerals and vitamins, but enriched with fats, salt, sugar and other additives. In parallel, the art of eating has associated certain values such as those of pleasure and conviviality with our meals as well as emotional and cultural references. Let's see how to find a fair and healthy way of eating that is vital, not overloaded and stressed:
1- Follow the seasons: Nature is well done and if we look at it, we are forced to recognize that everything it offers us is judiciously adapted to the season and the place where we live. Adjusting our eating habits to natural rhythms and trying to eat as much of the seasonal fruit-vegetables in our region as possible - and organic preferably - will allow our body to find what it needs according to the context of our environment. We do not have the same desires for juicy fruit or raw vegetables in winter as in summer, just like the idea of eating a very substantial food based on beans like flageolets, for example, will make us more happy to taste if it is cold outside. Each season has specific needs for our organism and therefore, provides a suitable diet.
2- Avoid typical foods of the industrial twentieth century such as sugar: On the other hand, there is a way of eating that is a source of stress, "added" sugar being the first offender! Sugar has the false reputation of giving energy, when in reality it is the most stressful food for the body. Certainly the body, the brain and the muscles need glucose to function: glucose and not added sugar! This glucose is produced from the bio-admissible carbohydrates that we ingest. These come from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, beans ...), but absolutely not "sugar"! For the sweet taste, instead favor organic dried fruit.
“Let your food be your only medicine” Hippocrates, 5th av. AD
11 | Integrating our experiences
Description: The notions of failure and success are very strongly anchored in our society. But living our experiences from this angle creates more stress than anything else. For many the feeling of failure will favor the loss of self-confidence and the success one will favor the obligation to keep one's level at all costs. And if we fail to maintain this success, we fall into failure!
Diagnosis: To get out of the vicious circle "summarize an experience to its result in the form of success or failure", it is important to return to what makes the strength of an experience: the conclusions that one draws from it, the fruit that it will give us. However, for that to occur you have to know how to take the time to integrate all the elements of this experience before drawing conclusions. By practicing the principles of Yoga of nutrition at regular intervals you will offer yourself this possibility of integrating a new mental attitude via a body practice.
Action: Nutrition Yoga, MASTICATION
- Choose between the midday or evening meal where you are most at ease.
- The exercise will consist in chewing as slowly as possible and for as long as possible at least five bites of its food. The physical objective is to integrate the maximum amount of saliva into your food to the point of "drinking what you eat and eating what you drink" as the Yogi tradition says.
- Put at least 7 seconds to make the crushing movement and chew the same bite of food 30 times.
- Closing your eyes increases your presence and strengthens this exercise.
- Do this exercise once a day for two weeks to acquire it well, then from time to time: twice a week for example.
Chewing consciously forces us to get out of our swallowing habits without really paying attention. This will allow us to acquire a new attitude of mind or it is no longer haste and dual judgment that guide us but a real constructive reflection for our future.
12 | Mobilize your energy
Description: To live life to the full, the ideal is to encourage all the attitudes that will allow us to be in the best health. If in terms of physical health it is now recognized that our way of life has an impact on our shape and our health; for the more psychic side however, having a preventive attitude towards stress is not necessarily obvious.
Diagnosis: How do you keep spirits high and be able to prevent stress when you don't know what it is? If at all times we are in touch with all our potential, ready to deploy all our energy, we become able to manage any stress. By practicing a small very specific sequence with only the hands, it belongs to the category of mudrās, we will build up the necessary confidence so that we can then dare to live without fear.
Action: Mudrā Padmé
As the images show, "Padmé Mudrā" gives a sequence which leads to the gesture symbolizing the lotus flower: the lotus mudrā.
- Centered, calm, hands down touching the wrist.
- The exercise will consist in making the flower bloom. The movement will be slow and done with the maximum of consciousness in the hands. Closing the eyes often allows a better focus on the feeling.
- While maintaining contact, raise your hands and gradually tilt your fingers upwards to finish in a greeting position in front of the chest.
- At this time, "hatch the lotus flower", that is to say that you will form a cup with your fingers.
- Take a break while breathing heavily.
- Return smoothly and conscientiously by the opposite path to the starting position.
- Hatch 10 times while staying centered on the feeling.
With the lotus mudrā we integrate the notion of cycles, and with them the fact of matching the energy available here and now. Like the seasons where the activities are different, we get into the rhythm with ease.
Like all the principles of the hygiene of life rules, at the beginning, it requires a certain effort, and, therefore, a certain discipline to put it in place. Then the requirement will be to repeat the exercise in time even if everything is fine. Remember that all of this has one goal: to ensure a stress-free life.
The word mudrā in Sanskrit means: to seal the energy. These are hand gestures whose origins go back a long way. Today in neuroscience we know that, in the mapping of the brain, the place occupied by the hand is very important, it gives us a very large amount of perceptions, information and appreciation of the outside world. The hands are the meeting place, par excellence, of experience and knowledge.
KNOWING HOW TO RELAX
13 | Finding optimism
Description: Some days we may have the feeling that there is a curse against us. Nothing happens as we would like, everything goes wrong it is the famous law of serie synonymous with repeated trouble without hope of improvement.
Diagnosis: It is difficult, when the facts accumulate, not to see everything in black. In addition, the mind will attach itself as if by chance to notice precisely everything that is wrong and problematic, further reinforcing the state of stress and depression. Reversing the process or at least stopping it will be vital to creating another state of mind.
Action: Laughter Yoga
The "unnatural" side of Laughter Yoga is not easy to overcome. However, be aware that the hormonal and neurological impact occurs even if you act "as if". Reflexively, there will be production and release of the main neuromediators such as:
- dopamine which increases desire and motivation,
- serotonin a notorious anti-depressant,
- endorphin which relieves pain and
- energizing adrenaline.
Now let's take a look at the basic exercise that you can do alone or with friends:
- Sit or be in a position where you feel comfortable.
- Look ahead, inhale and exhale in a jerky fashion while saying "Oh oh oh" while clapping your hands on each "Oh" to accompany you.
- Then turn your head to the left, laughingly saying "Ah ah ah",
- Finally, turn your head to the right and say happily "Ah ah ah".
- During all the exercise clap hands to accompany you.
- Repeat this Ohohoh Ahahah Ahahah sequence ten or more times.
The important thing is to achieve a jerky breathing even if it is not a "real" laugh. The rhythm is strong and can gradually increase while remaining joyful.
The practice of collective laughter has existed among the Hopi Indians for a very long time. They have healing clowns whose mission is to make people laugh until the evil spirits responsible for the disease run away. More recently in 1995, an Indian doctor, Dr. Madan Kataria, formalized Laughter Yoga and proposed exercises that solicit the body (and not the mind) to learn how to trigger laughter. Since then, numerous studies done in the United States (Dr. Lee S. Berk University of Loma Linda in California, etc.) have demonstrated the health benefits of laughter.
By causing jerky breathing it will activate the diaphragm in a back and forth movement. This will massage all the organs of the digestive sphere. At the same time, we have an increase in respiratory capacity, better oxygenation of the heart and brain, muscle relaxation, but also a release of primordial neurotransmitters in the feeling of pleasure. It then becomes much easier to put things in perspective.
=> Laughter Yoga : youtu.be/lLsqcBMA7U4
14 | Broadening your vision
Description: Changing our beliefs is a necessity if we want to move forward in Life. And there always comes a time when you have to be able to think of things differently to create change or renewal.
Diagnosis: It is always difficult to abandon a proven belief system. Especially since, for the most part, we developed them in our childhood. However, while these beliefs may have been perfectly adapted to our family or cultural context, and even helped us to build ourselves, they do not necessarily correspond to today's situations.
Action: Eyes Yoga with the HOURGLASS
- Sitting facing the wall of the room farthest from you.
- Use your fingers to block your chin to avoid moving your head. We are looking for an eye movement, and naturally, if it is not blocked, the head will tend to move to follow the movement.
- You will start from one of the angles of the ceiling (A in the figure) and follow the lines AB (ceiling) then BC (diagonal) then CD (floor), and finally DE (the other diagonal), all while blinking strongly at each corner (and without moving the head).
- You have drawn the hourglass ABCD, repeat the same exercise with your eyes closed while blinking voluntarily in A, B, C and D (even with your eyes closed!).
- This constitutes a series: 1 hourglass with open eyes + 1 hourglass with closed eyes.
- Repeat 3 series which is equivalent to drawing 6 hourglasses (alternately, one with open eyes, one with closed eyes)
- Change direction: start from A diagonally towards D, then follow the ground towards C, go up diagonally towards B and finish along the ceiling towards A.
- Repeat 3 series in this new direction: A, D, C, B, keeping one series = 1 hourglass with eyes open + 1 hourglass with eyes closed.
By sweeping our visual field with this technique, we will release the stresses that could hinder our vision of events and thus widen our field of view with new possibilities.
15 | Know how to relax
Description: We live in a universe where tensions of all kinds are present almost constantly. However in a number of cases we put the pressure on ourselves without justification.
Diagnosis: If you are willful, your tendency to try to hold on can push you to set a pace for yourself that goes beyond reasonable limits. The risk of overworking is a strong reality unless there is a moment of relaxation comes to release the pressure. So setting up mini rest areas at regular intervals allows you to remember this notion of limits and reminds you to respect yourself.
Action: Eyes Yoga with PALMING
In 1886 an eminent American ophthalmologist, Doctor William Bathes, formalized and validated the direct link between states of relaxation, visual tension and human activity. He developed a simple method to relax the eyes in the palm of our hands in a few minutes called: palming.
- Sit at a table to be as comfortable as possible or sit on horseback in a chair so you can put your elbows on.
- Start heating the palms of your hands by rubbing your hands together for a few seconds.
- Once the palms have warmed up, gently place them in cups to cover the eyes.
- If possible, cross your hands, left hand over the right eye and vice versa, in order to increase the stress relieving action.
- Do not put pressure on your eyeballs.
- The eyes are preferably closed and the palms should block the surrounding light as best as possible.
- The warmth and darkness in the palms allow the eye muscles to relax.
- Breathe calmly and enjoy this "visual" calm. A complete relaxation when you observe a perfect black while having your eyes closed.
- Depending on each individual's needs, 2 to 5 minutes of palming is necessary.
During palming, our eyes are in an exceptional situation, they are completely safe, absolutely protected, can abandon their role as sentry, and relax their vigilance. Also, a global relaxation is reached quickly, two minutes are generally enough.
Of course, there is also a physical action on the eyes. As we know in Eyes Yoga, eyesight will improve at least temporarily. But in Yoga-coaching, as in Rāja Yoga, we aim at all levels: physical, emotional and mental.
A conscious relaxation of the eyes will automatically have an impact on an immediate relaxation of the mind. By combining darkness with the warmth of the hands, there will be an immediate improvement in blood circulation, the eyes will relax which induces more general relaxation of the body.
16 | Return to calm
Description: A moment of great joy or intense pleasure, from the moment it ends, generates a form of emptiness. The moment when we realize that the party is coming to an end, or that tomorrow the week starts again with its batch of various obligations, can create a depressed effect. In order to preserve the benefits of what we have just experienced and remain in a good inner climate it will be important to know how to manage this transition well.
Diagnosis: It is not easy to leave a universe or an activity that has given us multiple sensations of pleasure, and to say that the adventure ends here. It will be essential not to dwell on the past, but instead to return to the present to better look ahead. Now is the time to relax. This anti-stress and recovery technique is directly from Yoga and is called Yoga Nidra. All high level competitors in physical or brain sports use this wonderful tool at some point.
Action: Yoga NIDRA
To practice this, it is preferable, especially when you are just starting out, to have a quiet room and make sure that nothing will disturb your relaxation.
Lying down, put a small cushion under the neck, put your arms in slight flexion along the body, let your feet turn slightly outwards.
You are now ready. To do relaxation alone, you must first memorize the process. It is simple and natural. However, if it “works you up too much”, it’s best to record it (your phone’s dictaphone will do just fine).
- Take three full deep breaths and take advantage of the exhale to make yourself comfortable.
- Starting from the feet and going up to the head, scan each part of your body in turn. Whenever you put your attention on a part of the body, observe it (5 sec), become aware of its existence by trying to feel it from the inside (10 sec), then release all the tensions discovered in the measure as possible (5 sec). Then go to the next area. Here is the order of the scan of the body areas:
- a- Right foot, ankle, calf, knee, front thigh, rear thigh, right hip.
- b- Same as on the left (Foot, ankle, calf,…, rear thigh, hip).
- c- The fingers of the right hand, then the palm, wrist, forearm, right elbow, biceps, triceps, shoulder and right trapezius.
- d- Same as on the left (Hand, palm ... shoulder, trapeze).
- e- Buttocks, lower back, middle of the back, shoulder blades, upper back, neck.
- f- Belly, diaphragm, pectorals, neck.
- g- Jaw, tongue, eyes, forehead, skull
- Once this first round is done in order to relax each area, you will start the same scan again, from the feet to the head, but this time with the intention of feeling the gravity, the heaviness. You will insist more particularly on the zones which are in contact with the ground, by feeling well the pressure of contact before feeling the weight. It is as if your body is so heavy that it can sink into the ground. As an example, here is the beginning of a possible inner talk for circuit "a":
- Become aware of your right leg. Put your attention on your right foot ... observe the points and areas in contact with the ground ... feel your heel touching the ground as if it were heavy, heavy like lead ... feel how, according to the law gravity, it only asks to sink down, into the ground ... now become aware of your entire foot ... it too is heavy, heavy like lead ... smell, feel, imagine , visualize this gravity which is exerted on your whole foot …
- Go up towards the calf,… observe the points and zones in contact with the ground ... feel your calf touching the ground as if it were heavy, heavy like lead ... feel how, according to the law of gravity, it only asks to sink down, into the ground ... now become aware of your calf and your entire shin ... they are heavy, heavy like lead ... smell, feel, imagine , visualize this gravity which is exerted on your whole shin-calf ...
- Always going up, from the feet towards the head, you come naturally to the knee, become aware now ... etc
- To resurface then: Inhale and exhale more deeply three times. Then, gently, make small movements of the hands, arms, then legs. Finally stretch yourself, stretch yourself completely like a cat coming out of sleep.
- Open your eyes and roll sideways before getting up.
Thanks to this practice, the force of memory only keeps its factual aspect. While entering a form of detachment, we can reap the rich benefits of a beautiful energy ready to be oriented towards a new goal.
This tool, Yoga Nidra, is truly universal, it allows you to return to calm and regain your balance after great happiness as before a great test. Doing it in the evening at bedtime, allows you to fall asleep in complete peace of mind and have a quality, regenerative rest.
17 | Be comfortable
Description: As soon as we experience physical or mental effort or there is an emotional tension, the motor skills of the eye are affected. If we are of the voluntary type and there is a need to hold on eyestrain appears and our eyes get out of balance. Being aware of this is vital to avoid becoming overworked.
Diagnosis: In the event of stress the physiological response of the body affects the visual level: the gaze freezes, there is an immediate contraction of the visual field, the eyelids lose the blinking reflex, and all the tension is put on the central vision. It quickly tires us, we have a lack of perspective, the impression of looking in a tunnel and a certain anxiety will go up creating discomfort.
Action: Eye Yoga with POUCE
Blink well during exercise for a greater de-stressing effect:
- Arm extended horizontally, look at your index finger or thumb,
- While exhaling slowly bring your thumb closer to your nose while looking at it,
- While inhaling bring your index finger away.
Do this twenty times in a row at the rate of your breathing and repeat the exercise twice a day. After two weeks you will feel general well-being and very clear visual comfort.
By re-educating our gaze, we will be able to rediscover our peripheral vision and therefore, have a more complete perception of our environment with the feeling of security that this generates.
KNOWING HOW TO FACE A CHALLENGE, A CONFRONTATION
18 | Preparing for a confrontation
Description: While there are cases where the stress is not foreseeable, there are also many situations where we know that we will face a difficulty or that we will have to face an adversary. Having knowledge of this future in advance can be a real asset for those who choose to prepare for it.
Diagnosis: An informed person is worth two (or Forewarned is Forewarned) tells us with common sense the French popular saying. This is right as long as you take advantage of the information and do not make it a source of stress. For this, practicing the following exercise each time we think about the future situation will allow us to arrive mobilized to face whatever challenge we face.
Action: Yoga of sounds with Tapping
The sounds will accompany the tapping areas which are called emunctory areas in Ayurveda, and are areas close to the joints: knees, ankles, hips, shoulders, fontanelle. That is, the popliteal hollow of the knees, the Achilles tendons, the folds of the groin, the axillary hollow of the shoulders and the top of the skull.
- Sitting or standing semi-flexed, gently tap the back of the knees, emitting the "Yo" sound continuously and quickly: Yo yo yo yo yo… 1 minute.
- Go down behind the ankles and tap the Achilles tendon area with the sound "Yé": Yé yé yé yé yé yé also for 1 minute.
- Standing or on horseback, tapping the groin with the "Ya" sound.
- Then go to the hollow of the shoulder area with the "Yi" sound (to pronounce “Yee” in English). For good efficiency, it is necessary to alternate here: the left hand comes to strike the hollow of the right shoulder and vice versa, the hand comes to strike the hollow of the left shoulder.
- Finally, still for 1 minute, gently tap the top of the head with your fingertips and the "Yu" sound.
Note, the position of the hands does not matter, choose the most comfortable for you. So many prefer the thumb side for the knee, the back of the fingers for the Achilles tendon, the semi-closed fist for the groin and the shoulder and the fingertips for the skull.
By repeating the exercise at regular intervals we will systematically dissolve all traces of tension or stress as we go along and thus arrive serene on D-Day.
For thousands of years, the Ayurvedic approach has understood the profound effect that sound has on human well-being: it is Nada-Yoga. Since science has confirmed that the low sounds have an action on the endocrine glands inducing the production of endorphins, these having a direct impact on our moods and emotions.
19 | Living a paradox
Description: The most classic paradox experienced by many of us is that of wanting to devote time to your family while developing your professional activity. How to integrate such a dilemma and live with objectives that are concretely almost opposite?
Diagnosis: The problem is that really there is not necessarily a solution. In this case, the objective will rather be to find out how to live this situation without stress. And then, in a second step, we will be able to better reflect on our priority and position ourselves to set a framework for the long term.
Action: Vinyasa, separating sky and earth
"Separate sky and earth" is the basic sensory movement to integrate, via the body, the principles of the paradox. Unlike Yoga postures, Yoga Vinyasa aims at a synchronization of movement and breathing. Seen from the outside, it looks a bit like a dance or Taïchi:
- Standing in natural posture: feet slightly apart, dignified head, knees unlocked, horizontal gaze.
- Blow by bringing the hands, palms face-to-face, at chest level.
- In a slow inhale (6 seconds for example), gently raise the right hand while the left hand descends, one hand reaches the sky and the other goes to the earth.
- Naturally, the orientation of the palms changes to your liking to finish the movement in slight stretch. Do not insist on the extension and start the return movement with flexibility and a slow exhale.
- The return movement continues with expiration (6 seconds for example).
- The palms meet face-to-face in front of the chest, without pause, the movement continues with a new inspiration. The hand that went down continues to go down and the hand that goes up continues to go up.
- The return movement ends like the outward movement, at the end of expiration, by a slight extension, one hand towards the sky and the other towards the earth.
- Continue these round trips (minimum 3 round trips, 10 recommended).
This exercise restores the perception of our body diagram. It reconnects us to our interiority and therefore to our inner wisdom in order to separate our personal problems from the problems of others, the pressure we put on ourselves from the pressure that those around us put on us.
The great interest of this exercise is that we will be able to integrate into our body these two antinomical facets of our desire and to better accept, without stress, that saying yes to one often is saying no to another.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga was rediscovered in India at the beginning of the 20th century by Shrî Krishnamacharya. He never left India, but he trained several great yogis, including Shrî Pattabhi Jois, Shrî BKS Iyengar and Shrî TKV Desikachar who popularized Yoga in the West. In particular, Shrî K. Pattabhi Jois taught Madonna and Sting which contributed to the recognition of this form of Yoga.
The other common names for Yoga in movement are: Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Dynamic Yoga, Dance Yoga, Yoga Flow, Integral Yoga ...
20 | Starting off on the right foot
Description: Life’s course includes inevitable confrontations experienced as "shocks", meaning events that could deeply mark us. Depending on the sensitivity of each individual, these situations experienced as trauma will have repercussions not only in the moment, but also long term.
Diagnosis: The concept of shock can be experienced both in the physical (example of an accident or even a fall from a bicycle for a child) and in the emotional (the announcement of a death, the sudden decision of your spouse to divorce etc.). If at the time we have the impression that we are appropriately absorbing the shock, then we are not necessarily processing the information correctly in our memory. The memory becomes anxiety-provoking, creating a permanent tension of stress hence the importance of having a powerful tool to reprocess information as soon as possible after the trauma.
Action: Eye Yoga with DOTE or ODET
ODET (DOTE in French), Ocular Deprogramming of Emotional Trauma, has repeatedly proven its effectiveness following traumas (accidents, bank robberies, violence ...) in its best known form EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Here we are going to adapt this deprogramming tool to make it compatible with self-practice.
Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) gives us clarifications on this practice. According to this approach, the direction of the gaze indicates the type of information the brain is accessing. For example, a person looking up often has access to a visual memory; one who looks to the right or to the left for hearing content; the one who looks down at feelings. Let's see the methodology:
- Wedge your head in your fists.
- Consciously come back to the thought, the memory of the trauma, of the shock, of the event that prevents you from being 100% Zen.
- Note that, as this is an eye movement, the head should not move. Wedging your chin with your two fists is a good tip to prevent movement, as is blocking your head with your fingers on your temples.
- Eyes open or closed, at your convenience, slowly follow with your eyes a large imaginary ellipse in front of you. Your eyes go to the right and then slowly go up. Then they go down to the left and continue to describe the greatest possible trajectory.
- If during your eye trip, you feel that an area, generally in the upper left, is more stressful, slow down the movement again and come back several times on this part of the trajectory.
- Make 3 ellipses in one direction then 3 in the other direction, blinking regularly to properly irrigate and wet the eyes.
If a person can draw the ellipse in space with their hand by standing about a meter from you, that's fine too.
It has been proven and recognized in neuroscience that sensory stimulation via eye movements allows desensitization and reprocessing of dysfunctional information. If during a previous life situation, you suffered a trauma, a violent blow associated with a hyper-stress situation: is the residual stress negligible, or on the contrary a real time bomb? If the trauma - physical, mental, or moral - is not dissipated, in the next similar life situation, you will find it difficult to concentrate and make the right strategic decisions, or to start off on the right foot.
21 | I allow myself to position myself
Description: There are moments, whether professional or private, which are inevitable and which we know in advance are uncomfortable. These tests, where we will have to tackle things head on and position ourselves, are often champions to cause stress: just thinking about it turns us upside down!
Diagnosis: This type of stress is often related to a difficulty in allowing yourself to live. Conscious or not, we forbid ourselves to be heard, and we provide ourselves with a whole panel of evidence to justify our self-imposed silence. This blocks our creativity. We cut ourselves off from all useful and adapted ideas which could make it possible to approach the problem with serenity. By practicing a specific breathing, we will relax our brain and dissolve the negative beliefs associated with having to "go through it".
Action: Prānāyāma of the hemispheres
It is a circular breathing, meaning without blockage between the inspiration and the expiration, and with maintenance of the balance between the two phases of breathing (exhale = inhale) as shown the diagram. Equalizing the breathing and lengthening it will allow greater air / blood contact time and, since there is no muscular expenditure, all of the rewards can benefit the body and in particular the brain.
In addition, here we are going to add coherence of the hemispheres, the right and the left, which we name for convenience: "left brain and right brain":
- I breathe in on five seconds (or more if your pace allows it)
- On expiration, I imagine that the air comes out through my left brain (5 sec).
- On inspiration, I imagine that air enters through the same left brain (5sec).
- At the expiration, I imagine that the air comes out through my right brain (5 sec).
- On inspiration, I imagine that the air enters through my right brain (5 sec).
- These four phases constitute what will be called a cycle.
- Repeat 5 or more cycles, once a day for 3 weeks.
This exercise is therefore the typical exercise of the resynchronization of the intuitive and global hemisphere - the right - with the rational and analytical hemisphere - the left -. It very quickly triggers a decrease in stress as well as an increase in concentration. Migraine sufferers find this particularly useful because it promptly relieves pain.
expir = exhale | inspir = inhale
Prānāyāma is a Sanskrit term which corresponds in the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali to the fourth means, that of controlled breathing. We now know that breathing is the only element the different functions governed by the autonomous nervous system, that is both unconscious and automatic, that we can control voluntarily! In times of stress, the autonomous nervous system takes over, but with breathing we can take the control back!
Neurologist Roger Wolcott Sperry discovered the physiological feature called "cerebral asymmetry" which earned him the Lasker Prize in 1979 and then the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1981. He highlighted the unique role of each cerebral hemisphere and its functions.
22 | Unleashing its potential
Description: There are events that can lead others to view us as fragile, vulnerable or weak. As a result we are stuck with a victim label and a very uninspiring self-image.
Diagnosis: Knowing that the image of ourselves is a real calling card for the subconscious of all those we meet, the challenge will be to restore this self-esteem. The exercise of archery rebuilds confidence in us and in our capacity to be present in life.
Action: Vinyasa with Archery
"Bend the bow with the eye of the eagle to shoot an arrow in the distance" will be our exercise to deploy our potential: the memory of the body prevails over our mental images and has the power to change the image we have of ourselves. Let's discover the practice:
- Standing, legs slightly apart, well supported, dignified head, horizontal gaze, hands joined facing the chest.
- While breathing in, raise the joined hands above the head and turn the head in the direction where you are going to shoot your fictitious arrow (on the left for example).
- While breathing out, lower the hands to the level of the face and let them rotate against each other in order to put them horizontally head to tail (To pull to the left, the left hand is inside and the right outside).
- A bit as if you were holding a large bow in front of your torso, as if you were going to shoot an arrow in a distant target, while inhaling, stretch the imaginary arc with your index finger serving as a viewfinder, consider your gaze as being that of the eagle.
- At the end of inspiration, the extension is maximum, your chest is wide open, the arch is bandaged.
- Blow noisily by the mouth by letting go of the arrow then release everything: the shoulders, the glance, and return softly in position joined hands facing the chest.
- Inhale, raise your hands above your head ...
- At the expiration, turn your gaze to the other side to fire a new arrow ...
- Pull the bow alternately left and right 3 times.
This movement which opens and widens our rib cage will make us regain consciousness of the amplitude to which we can claim at any moment. By doing so we will find the taste and the pleasure of daring to live fully.
We find the symbolism of archery in the symbolism of Buddhist, Taoism, Zen and Vedic of course via the Râmâyana - fundamental writing of Hinduism - where the celestial archer is King Rama himself. These approaches teach us that in this movement of archery, we allow ourselves to reclaim our inner values. By redirecting our attention through the mantra of "I find the power to launch my arrow where and when I want", we regain control of directing this attention differently while reactivating our potential.
KNOWING HOW TO ADAPT TO THE CONTEXT
23 | Taking into account the context
Description: There is a time when it can be interesting to think in all directions, and to let ideas of all kinds flow.This always coincides with a time when it is necessary to return to the ground and to consider things in a concrete way.
Diagnosis: If we think carefully, bad ideas are rare. Some ideas are adapted to the context and some are not. Taking into account the context in which one evolves is a priority, as it is essential knowing how to position oneself fairly. We often forget this aspect of life.
Action: Warrior Posture
- Standing very stable, looking horizontally, exhale through your mouth.
- Breathing in through your nose or mouth to your liking, take a big step forward to arrive in "front lunge" while raising your arms like a "hands down".
- In the final position, the front knee is bent and vertical to the big toe. The rear leg is stretched, the rear foot having pivoted on itself if necessary. The hips are projected forward and the bust straight.
- In the warrior pose, you will do three full breathing:
- Each time you breathe in, increase the thoracic extension by slightly moving your elbows back or bending your torso.
- At the expiration, relax the shoulders, the elbows come back slightly forward.
- The three (or more) breathing are done with an awareness of the bellows effect of the rib cage.
- At the third expiration, return to the initial position by stepping back and lowering your arms.
- Repeat on the other side.
expir = exhale | inspir = inhale
Vinyasa and Āsana variants: This same movement of the warrior can be done in posture - āsana - or in fluid sequence - vinyasa -. In fluid chaining - vinyasa - there is even a variant where one expires while stepping forward. However, for our problem, this posture is the best body mediation because it allows us to become more aware if our feet and legs have adapted well to the context. It is therefore logical, if you are affected by this stated problem, to not succeed at the first try while trying properly position the lower body.
24 | Getting back to concrete things
Description: While it is good to dream, in certain situations or contexts the need to be well focused on realities, and to have your feet on the ground is just as vital. It is wise at times to accept that we cannot change others or the world, and that it is easier to adapt ourselves.
Diagnosis: When the exterior is in total contradiction with our aspirations, getting involved and taking responsibility becomes very complicated. The temptation to cut yourself off from this can be very strong, however, it is precisely the last thing one should do.
Action: Posture, get your feet
The laying of hands to feet (Padahast Āsana) is very well known because it is used worldwide in stretching and softening. Here, the objective will not be physical, but psychic; flexibility is therefore not required.
- Feet slightly apart, without forcing, raise your hands as if to dive.
- While flexing the legs as much as necessary, the hands then dive in search of the feet.
- When the hands touch the feet, then slowly straighten the legs and just let the hands hang down.
- Once in position, even if you are far from your feet, it does not matter, relax your arms and head, let the gravity act.
- Take 3 full stomach breathing:
- With the inspiration, your belly swells, your consciousness is on the lumbar region, it is as if the air came in through your lower back.
- At the exhale, the belly empties and you take the opportunity to relax your bust, neck and shoulders. The consciousness is still on the lumbar region, it is as if the air is coming out from the lower back.
- Then with ventral breathing, after breathing, you will notice that you go lower and lower. It's great because you see the quality of your practice, however, this is not the goal. You should never force to try to "touch your feet".
- Take ten breathing exercises without getting up or three times three breathing if you prefer.
- To finish, get up slowly by bending your legs first, then, starting by unrolling the lumbar, then the middle of your back to finish standing with your arms alongside your body (on your return, no need to raise your arms above your head ).
After exercise, heat can be perceived in the lumbar region, this is a good sign that awareness is working.
Standing up, getting your feet, is a posture of claws that accompanies us in order to accept more and more simply our belonging to the earth. There is no effort to do this, just let go and look at the earth at our feet.
25 | Staying the course
Description: How to not deviate from our objective while everything around us keeps asking us to give up. However, we feel that our decision corresponds to something that is just for our life.
Diagnosis: Some of our projects or our ambitions can disturb others. Or it is the conceptions of our well-being that do not correspond to the idea of what those around us consider good for us. Staying focused on yourself and your inner references can be a real challenge in such conditions.
Action: Seagull posture
This posture and this respiratory movement which are based on the asana of the seagull, will act on all planes: energetical, physical, emotional and of course mental and psychical. The symbolic side: "Opening your wings and taking off" will not escape anyone, but there is also a component of "taking a step back, height", and of course "staying the course" which interests us here.
- Standing with your legs apart, arms at your sides, bend your knees slightly to lean forward.
- Once "folded forward", straighten your legs and make your back flat: it is more important to have a flat back than to be horizontal. Then let your arms hang vertically, hands face to face. The head is aligned with the body or slightly raised: this is the starting position.
- By inhaling, you will raise your arms horizontally, on the sides, as if to open your wings, palms facing the ground, arms outstretched.
- You will breathe three times in this position, paying attention to the diaphragm:
- With the inhale, your arms go up slightly, but the idea is not to raise them as much as possible, but to stretch your fingers outwards to better become aware of the diaphragm.
- At the exhale, the arms relax slightly which causes a movement of the arms downwards, as if one flapped wings.
- With the last expiration, the wings / arms go down to the initial position.
- You have just finished the first breathing series. You will, in all, make three series. You therefore raise your hands for the second series still maintaining awareness, attention to the diaphragm if possible.
- At the end of the third series, bend your knees again to straighten yourself flexibly.
A daily practice for three weeks will give the expected effect. This posture also allows us to stretch our spine and build our back and comes to make us comfortable with standing upright. Since we know that three-quarters of our communication is non-verbal, this provides us with a significant basis when we approach the other one.
KNOWING HOW TO TAKE INITIATIVES, ANTICIPATE
26 | Breaking out from vicious circles
Description: In certain situations, whether professional or private, we can sometimes go around in circles in our mind without truly progressing that is happening. Ironically, the more we rehearse the same thoughts, the more our stress level increases and no solution appears.
Diagnosis: It is difficult when we have a concern to make that worry an afterthought, even when we know that it is useless to focus on it. On the contrary, the more we persist in wanting to think of something else, the more it is as if our ideas become almost an obsession. We are sort of falling into an infernal spiral. Once again the body is going to be our best ally to open ourselves up to something else.
Action: Crescent Moon Posture
The crescent moon posture (Ardha Chandra Āsana) performed by a yogi master, like all postures in Hatha Yoga, is impressive and requires a "perfect" body. However, in the context of Yoga-coaching, the desired effect (disconnecting obsessions, breaking out of the vicious circle) is not related to the flexibility of the posture itself, but instead related to the stretching obtained in the high area of the rib cage (symbolic of the opening). So you just have to come right to the edge of your own possibilities to get the desired effect.
- With your feet slightly apart, join your hands in front of the solar plexus.
- While inhaling, raise your hands slowly to the sky, spreading your elbows, while going for a slight back arc: a crescent moon. The eyes look at the sky.
- When the hands reach above the head, unless you are an expert in Yoga, dance or stretching, do not hesitate to spread your hands: the desired effect is the opening of the rib cage and not a lumbar flexibility .
- Once at the end of the posture, that is to say when the extension is felt in the chest - and not on the kidney area -, breathe calmly and fully in your rib cage.
- After three full breathing, gently return to the starting position, and repeat the exercise three times.
- Practice 3 times a week for 3 weeks for a lasting effect.
Flexible people should be careful and not confuse this posture with the "back bridge". It is therefore preferable to keep your hands palms forward, a bit like a "hands up" and not palm against palm.
This posture allows us to get out of the retraction reflex in which a stressful situation can put us and thus release energy to have other ideas.
27 | Making peace with yourself
Description: There are subjects where we can find ourselves cut in half. Part of us wants to go one way and another part does not. If we refer to the mental component, this will only give us arguments which in turn will comfort each party!
Diagnosis: This is what is called an internal conflict. Faced with a choice, half of us say I'm ok and the other half says: I don't agree. The consequences of this conflict will be significant because it is the same principle as if we were in a car pressing the accelerator while the handbrake is still applied. We understand that such a situation will quickly be a source of exhaustion, because we consume our energy without advancing.
Action: 3G Meditation
Here the solution is meditation, it is what will allow you to make peace with yourself. It is the Vipassana approach which is the best known in India and in Yoga. If you already know how to meditate, continue to meditate as you can. On the other hand, many Europeans are unable to meditate easily and / or do not want to go into a long learning process. The "3G Meditation" solution proposed here is then an appropriate response.
In the United States, "Mind and Life" organization was created in 1987; it was composed of scientists in charge of studying the effects of meditation on the brain. Thus, David Davidson, a pioneer in neuroscience, worked with Matthieu Ricard, a doctor in cellular genetics who also practices meditation as Buddhist monk. Their experiments demonstrate that the more we practice meditation the more the neuroplasticity of the brain becomes important and the more our stress decreases!
On the sound side, Arturo Manns published the first study in 1981 showing the effectiveness of isochronic sounds to put people in “Alpha waves”, in deep relaxation. In 2006, Claude Cléret resumes isochronous sounds to use them as a real meditative brain training. In 2008, he validated his work and has been broadcasting it on the Net since 2009.
How does it work? The simple listening of isochronous sounds will cause the brain to adjust and therefore synchronize: it will be able to quickly adapt its own frequencies to reach the alpha waves linked to mental and muscular relaxation (relaxation) or reach the theta and delta waves which correspond to deep meditative states.
- Get the 3G programmed music on Meditation3G.com (no longer exists):
- Sit comfortably in your sofa or armchair, put the CD on and adjust the volume loud enough with good bass, or if not, take headphones. Play the Alpha track
- LISTEN, just listen for 20 minutes. You have nothing to do but listening, don't bother saying "I'm going to meditate", or "I need to empty the mind", no, just listen to 3G music, it is programmed to cause positive brain waves.
- At the end of listening, there is not anything special for you to do either.
- The next day practice the same with the Theta track. This alternation, alpha track one day, theta track the following day will continue over 3 weeks for a ... inner peace.
The advantage of isochronous sounds will be to allow to overcome the states of stress, fatigue, and tensions that could have been obstacles to quickly reach the desired effects of deep relaxation or meditation.
28 | Flexibility of the mind
Description: There are times when the need to be right makes us lose sight of our goal. And here we are dragged down a hellish slope with a result where even if we are a winner in the moment, while the other party loses, there is risk of persisting resentment that may likely taint the relationship in the long term. We may feel that our attitude is not right, but find it impossible to reverse.
Diagnosis: Most of the time, it is a need to be heard that drives us in this type of reaction. If in childhood we were not listened to, or if nobody took our ideas into account, we were able to make ourselves the promise that once a grown up, we would be heard. Hence the urgent need to persist until the other has said ok.
Action: Half-twist posture
The body is a very good solution. On break, on the lawn or in your room, practice Ardha Matsyendra Āsana or half vertebral twist.
Of course, if you are a yogi, this posture is familiar to you, but if not, it should be understood that we are not looking for "THE" yoga posture, but a body position that resolves stress or more exactly here, which gives us mental flexibility. The following description is suitable for a person who has never done Yoga and has no particular physical contraindication.
- Sit on the floor with your legs sideways. The leg closest to the ground, the one that completely touches the mat, will not move and will remain bent.
- Pass the other leg over by lifting the knee. Place the foot on the outside of the thigh. With the support of your hands, keep yourself vertical.
- Turn to look back over your shoulder, your chest comes into contact with your bent leg.
- Then put your free arm above your knee which accentuates the twist. Place the elbow on the knee, outside. Help yourself with your back hand to stabilize yourself.
- You have arrived in the position, do not force it, stay within your limits: if you could not pass the elbow above the knee, it does not matter.
- You will now breathe in the position, a dozen deep breathing to properly release the ribs, the rib cage:
- Inhale, look for verticality, as if you were taking a hair and pulling it up. Don't look for the twist.
- On exhale, natural relaxation will allow you to twist.
- Come back slowly then resume on the other side.
The effect is almost immediate, within five minutes you will feel good and comfortable with the constraints of the day.
Putting the body in a totally unusual position, even completely foreign to it, will shatter the benchmarks of the mind and suddenly openings will be able to be created. It is always amazing to experience the twist in the exhale, without forcing, following the verticalization in the inhale.
29 | Managing your powerlessness
Description: As part of our professional or family life, we may be faced with situations where the space for maneuvering is reduced or even non-existent. It is as if we have to accept remaining motionless.
Diagnosis: If we are used to taking matters into our own hands, not being able to do anything with the feeling of having to suffer events, can quickly be a source of significant stress. Feeling blocked or powerless to get things done is inevitably uncomfortable and the solution will be to learn to let go.
Action: Mudrā in Half-Clamp Posture
The half-clamp seated posture is also a mudrā, a gesture. Its name Maha Mudrā also means the great gesture, the great attitude. Contrary to what one might think, the goal is not physical, it is neither stretching, nor even breathing. It is a search for inner attitude.
Also, as posture can be difficult to take or hold, it is necessary to use aids such as a belt and, if necessary, a cushion.
- Sit on the ground in the student's posture, meaning one leg stretched out and the other folded inward, the back is flat.
- Go grab the belt passed around the foot of the leg held, you must be comfortable and the back flat.
- Close your eyes for more interiority.
- Breathe deeply and slowly in the stomach three times.
- Then comes the work of mudrā, of the search for the best attitude: observe your "inner temple", and slowly and consciously, modify your inner attitude (thoughts) or outer attitude (posture).
- Come back flexibly and repeat the gesture on the other side.
- Daily practice is necessary to progress and reach the goal.
The key stage is that where we observe ourselves and where we will try to find peace in our inner temple, physical and mental peace. During this stage which will last 30 seconds at the start, we can very well go "to visit" what we have experienced in other postures such as: go get your feet (sheet 24), clamp posture (sheet 39) or posture of the triangle (sheet 32). Our intention will thus focus more on the ventral, or dorsal or lateral breathing. Whatever our "try", the main thing is to observe the impact: stress or de-stress.
As with all postures, it is important to remember that we are not looking for an extension of the muscles as in gymnastics, the goal is not to push the position to the maximum, just to pull what is necessary so that the used muscles accept the stretch. The essential key to this, knowing how to feel the moment when we are at our limit.
To connect the pleasant side of the mudrā, it is important during the observation / testing phase, to straighten the bust more or tuck in the chin, hence the almost compulsory use of a belt. Maha Mudrā offers us a mean to harmonize the energies in us for more comfort; it is then that "the mudrā is reached", when the pleasant side arises.
30 | Finding the action / reflection balance
Description: We all know that there is a time to think and a time to act. On the other hand, it is not easy to find the balance between these two phases; there are situations where, despite ourselves, we are out of season, for example entering into an excess of reflection or action. This is how we come up with inappropriate responses.
Diagnosis: This problem is a direct consequence of the stress linked to the situation. We will fall into our dominant brain and either ruminate on the problem without taking action, or act without thinking. It will be necessary to reconnect your two brains to regain the two capacities and make the right decision.
Action: Alternate Prānāyāma
The way of mastering the breath - Prānāyāma- offers us a specific breathing which quickly rebalances our complementary facets: Ida - mental strength, reflection - and Pingala - physical strength, action.
As with all the breathing presented in this handbook, it is circular breathing, that is to say breathing without blocking where inspiration follows expiration without retention time. In addition, inhale will always be equal to the duration of exhale. A base of 5 seconds is generally well suited: inhale = 5 sec, exhale = 5 sec, but many yogis increase the time to 6 or 7 seconds. The important thing is to keep Inhale = exhale.
- Place the folded index finger near one nostril and the thumb close to the other, as if pinching your nose.
- Close the nostril on the thumb side with the thumb.
- Exhale completely through the nostril which remains open for 5 sec.
- Then, inhale immediately, without blocking, through the same nostril for 5 seconds.
- With the index finger folded then close the other nostril while releasing the first so that you can exhale through it.
- Once the expiration by the nostril is finished, inhale by this same nostril.
- Continue this circular breathing where inspiration is always done with the same nostril as expiration 10 times or more.
This breathing technique is very well known to people who have done Ayurvedic or Sophrology treatments. Its action stimulates the intuitive channel by setting up a good balance between the two cerebral hemispheres and the two Ayurvedic energy channels Inda and Pingala. It therefore restores the balance between action and reflection, and helps to calm doubts.
This exercise has the merit of being very simple, very effective and discreet enough to be able to be practiced on many occasions: while practicing sports, at work, or in a waiting room, etc. Like all breathing of the circular type, it should be used without moderation and as often as necessary.
expir = exhale | inspir = inhale
KNOWING HOW TO BE AT EASE
31 | Making structuring choices
Description: When faced with a choice, it is not always easy to feel what is good for us. Being able to identify, for example, which strategy is the most favorable for our advancement, whether professional or personal development, is not necessarily a simple task for many of us.
Diagnosis: Many times in our childhood our feelings could have been denied, even ridiculed or rejected without any kindness. As a result, we lost the ability to recognize what was right and appropriate for us. We lost sight of our ecology to adopt the one from others.
Action: Vinyasa of the Tree
The posture of the tree is one of the most known postures of the general public. In order to offer our mind a body mediation adapted to the problem that is raised: regaining the ability to make structuring, balanced choices for us, it is preferable to choose the version in fluid movement or vinyasa. It is not a question here of "maintaining a balance", a position, but of making balanced and balancing decisions, in short of making structuring choices.
- Standing, hands joined at chest level, put most of your weight on the left leg.
- With the inspiration, the joined hands rise above the head and the right foot goes up to be placed on the internal face of the left calf (calf or ankle or knee).
- During the rest of the movement, the hands will remain above the head, the arms in slight extension, the fingers pointing towards the sky.
- At the expiration, the foot slides along the leg towards the ground, until contact with it. As soon as the toes - kelengar - touch the ground, the support is done.
- Three times in a row, with the inspiration the foot goes up along the leg and, with the expiration, it goes down again to come to rest on the ground in support on the front of the foot.
- Return to the starting position with both hands facing the chest
- Change legs and make the tree three times on the other side.
For your safety, do not hesitate to do the exercise along a wall, it is preferable to favor the fluidity of the movement to the risk taking.
This posture will allow us to reconnect to this notion of balance which is specifically our own. Via the body we will write in our memory this reference on which we will be able to rely later on with confidence.
32 | Solving a doubt problem
Description: There are situations where we know in advance that we are going to be under pressure from others, where we are going to be exposed to their judgment, etc. The challenge is not to be destabilized and to keep your peace of mind.
Diagnosis: When someone comes to question us or criticize one of our proposals, our reaction will depend largely on how we were criticized, and judged in our childhood. If this criticism was brittle or humiliating, our self-confidence would have been seriously damaged. In relation to this we might have made a habit of reacting either by erasing ourselves or by attacking others. But we know it is not the right solution.
Action: Triangle asana
Trikon-Āsana Utthita - the posture of the triangle - can be seen as a stretching which acts on the hips, the groin, the hamstrings, the calves and which opens the chest and the shoulders. It is true, and we recognize many therapeutic virtues for neck pain, sciatica, some back pain and anxiety. It also acts on the meridian of the gallbladder and helps digestion.
However here, as with all the postures in this handbook, the mental and psychic impact interests us. We know that this impact is due to the neuroplasticity of the brain and not to the flexibility of our joints. Instead of seeking a posture, it is, therefore, preferable to seek a feeling, a costal-lateral stretching which, via breathing, will cause positive reactions.
- Spread your feet apart to make a good triangle with your legs, good support, solid and stable. Camping well on our two feet from the start, to establish and feel this solid base with our legs allows us to find a stability in the mind.
- Raise the left arm and place it against the left ear.
- Lean sideways on the right side. It is important to stay in the frontal plane, also called the coronal plane. This is the plane that contains your shoulders and your pelvis.
- Slide the other arm naturally along the leg. Do not, as in gymnastics, pull down (or reach out with your foot).
- Arrived at your stretching position, even if you are very far from the posture of the yogis, stop the movement and relax.
- In the position, breathe, let your side stretch naturally under the 'bellows' effect of chest breathing.
- Breathe deeply and fully three times, then gently return to the middle position.
- Do the exercise on the other side three times as well (3 or more times).
This type of posture will allow a work of structuring of its bases since it requires us to be well camped on our legs and mobilizes the yang energy which is that of inner security. Emotions calm down, self-awareness increases and confidence can be restored.
33 | Showing restraint
Description: There are circumstances where discretion is required. However, we may not be of a reserved nature. In this these instances, controlling one’s impulse to be noticed is a real challenge or a source of stress and very painful tension.
Diagnosis: Whether for strategic reasons or otherwise, moderating our enthusiasm, and keeping our ideas or strengths secret, is very important. Of course in parallel staying natural is also going to be a requirement.
Action: Marmas Uddīpana, Standing Tapping
Marmas are the vital points in Yoga or Ayurveda. Strongly impacted, they are used in martial art, and massaged with specific oils, they allow certain treatments (sinusitis, insomnia, ...). Here we will simply stimulate them (uddīpana) by a light tapping.
- In a relaxed standing posture, with the right hand, start by tapping with your fingers or your folded knuckles the THYMUS, area under the collarbones, in the center of the chest.
- Continue the body tapping, with the right hand, tap gently with the phalanges going up towards the beginning of the left shoulder
- Continue on the left shoulder, on the deltoid and descend to the outside of the left arm, the triceps and then the forearm.
- Always on the outside, tap the top of the left hand, then arrive at the fingertips, pass on the inner face of the hand to return.
- Continue on the inside of the forearm and go up, still inside, towards the triceps by raising the left arm to finish under the left armpit.
- Continue the light tapping movement with the knuckles of the right hand on the left flank of the bust.
- Continue the general movement on the outside of the hip then the thigh
- Lower yourself to the calf, always on the outside, and descend to the top of the foot.
- When you get to the toes, start it up on the inside of the foot, then the malleolus and go up on the inside of the leg via the inside of the calf and thigh.
- Pass slightly to the side to go to the left outer abs
- Continue your ascent on the left pectoral to finish on your starting point, the thymus.
- Change hands, and with the left hand, do the same path as above on the right side: shoulder, arms on top, back under the bottom, right flank, right leg externally, foot, back on the inside of the leg then junction towards the right part of the bust, abdominals, pectoral and end on the thymus.
- Finish by tapping both hands on the bust, like Tarzan, and letting out a slight sound, a rattle of the "Oooh-Ooooh" type.
- Of course the above sequence can be doubled or even tripled if necessary and if there is time.
This technique which uses elastic percussions on vital points, acts on the whole of your nervous, lymphatic and energetic system. By coming to stimulate blood circulation and mobilize energies, we will create a harmonious interior state where the needs to shine and to be center stage will naturally balance out without making us lose our quality of presence.
The science of marmas is a knowledge stemming from Ayurveda (traditional medicine of India, almost 5000 years old and more relevant than ever in our modern times). It was first described in the Sushruta Samhità the great treatise of Ayurvedic medicine and surgery and could be at the origin of acupuncture. This science has long been kept secret and often passed from teacher to student to the only students that the teachers deemed suitable to receive this knowledge.
34 | Reorienting your inner attitude
Description: When we have experienced a situation or an encounter synonymous with bad luck or unhappiness, it is difficult to adopt another vision if we ever have to meet the person again or repeat the acts associated with this dark memory.
Diagnosis: We know very well that if we approach a subject or a person with negative thoughts everything will actually go wrong. Changing your reading of the event and your gaze so that you are no longer in stress is essential to regain control of your reactions and thwart disturbing emotions.
Action: Yoga Sutra with Anti-Dote List
In dealing with the Yama-Niyama subject, the 5A + 5R (sheet 3), Patañjali gave two sutras which are of great help, the 33 and 34:
- Sutra 2-33: When thoughts disturb these attitudes (5A) or these rules (5R), constant thinking about opposites is the remedy.
- Sutra 2-34: For example, violence or harshness, whether it is committed, caused or approved, whether caused by anger, greed or pride, whether it seems important or not, results in physical or mental suffering. There is then a need to react by reflecting on the opposites.
The tool used here is called "Antidote List" and is a good methodology for applying these tips:
- Take a sheet and draw a vertical line that will separate the poison on the left, from the antidote on the right.
- Write with the right hand, in the left column, the poison via:
- a vision, an image that marked you during the situation,
- a sound, noise, or music,
- a kinesthetic feeling like a shiver, a dry throat ...
- an odor or perfume (which marked you during the situation),
- a real or symbolic taste like bitterness.
- On the opposite side with the left hand (the antidote) let come and list 5 verbs which counterbalance or which oppose the "poisons".
This exercise effectively un-merges the context associated with the losing context.
An antidote is a remedy that comes to oppose the action of a poison. By practicing this tool we come to propose to our subconscious a diametrically opposite tendency allowing it to adopt a different and far more constructive approach.
35 | Accepting the context
Description: In our environment there is no shortage of constraints. There can be q range from the most classic examples, such as timetables, dates, the need for training etc., to more specific types linked to family, cultural traditions etc.
Diagnosis: These constraints are typical of situations over which we have no power, because they absolutely do not depend on us. Being able to comply without experiencing annoyance or resentment is a real asset to save yourself from unnecessary stress and keep your good humor.
Action: Pijat Tangan Uddīpana, palm reflexology massage
The hand (tangan) offers 40 reflexology zones that can be stimulated (uddīpana) in massage (pijat) with or without oil. A neutral oil like a body oil or a sweet almond oil is ideal.
It is a pronounced self-massage of the fingers and joints. The treatment of the reflexogenic zones of the hands brings immediate relaxation. Quick and easy to set up wherever you are; it is practiced standing, sitting, lying down and dressed.
- Gently oil your hands or, if you have no oil, rub your hands together, as if to heat them.
- Start with a general hand massage - inside and out - pretending to be washing your hands.
- Then with one hand you will now massage one finger at a time with all the fingers of the other hand. Thumb and index finger in pincers, start from the base of a finger and slide towards the end by putting pressure on the sides instead.
- Move to the next finger and so on, then change hands.
- Still with your thumb and forefinger, in large pliers this time, you will massage the inter-phalanges of the hand. The thumb will massage the inside of the hand.
- Pass successively on the four zones then change hands.
- Repeat the cycle slowly, continuing to play and emphasizing the painful joints.
Here, the stress that started, would result in the absolute, in a desire to sort out the case with the one who obstructs your pleasure. Without realizing it, the muscles in your hands will tense up, a contraction that will increase the level of activation of your orthosympathetic system, which is responsible for all the activation of the physiology necessary to be in action. By relaxing your fingers, through this very specific touch, you restore balance to your neurovegetative system. This will have immediate repercussions on your whole organism both physically and mentally.
As the Ayurvedic mapping of the hand shows, there are so many areas and reflexology points that precision is not necessary. On the other hand, if an area is sensitive, it is interesting to return to it until the pain subsides or disappears.
KNOWING HOW TO ACQUIRE NEW RESOURCES
36 | Dealing calmly with differences
Description: Over the course of a day, we may have to integrate ourselves into very different environments, atmospheres, or relationships. And of course, all these situations are not necessarily in accordance with our values, our conceptions of life, our working conditions or other elements. How to succeed in remaining coherent in a framework which does not suit us?
Diagnosis: Who among us has never been confronted with the fact of having to be, for example, in a place or a meeting for which he had no affinity? Whether it is for professional reasons, family reasons, or even material reasons which impose these moments, it does not matter, the stress is likely to be at the rendezvous, regardless, and even increase over time, making it more and more difficult to live with this kind of obligation.
Action: Prānāyāma in coherent breathing
Coherent breathing will quickly bring you back into coherence whether it is from a physical, emotional or mental point of view. It is a circular breathing, that is to say a breathing without blocking, where the inspiration - or inhale - follows the expiration - or exhale - without retention time as shown in the following diagram:
The duration of inspiration (or inhale) will always be equal to the duration of expiration (or exhale) and the attention will always be on the area of the heart. A base of 5 seconds is a good base: inhale = 5sec, exhale = 5sec. Breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth is classic, but choose what's simplest and easiest for you. The key point is the type of breathing and attention to the area of the body.
This coherent breathing leads to what is called cardiac coherence, and is physiologically observable with an electronic device.
- Place your hand or fingertips on the heart or its region.
- Take a deep breath as if your heart was your mouth or your nose. It is "as if" the air flow is passing through the physical heart, the heart muscle.
- Inhale (5 seconds), visualize, feel the air entering through the heart and then into the lungs.
- When you breathe out (5 seconds), imagine, feel the air coming out of your heart.
- After a dozen full breathing, the calming and de-stressing effect is already in place and consistency has returned.
Ten full breathing take approximately two minutes. It's easy to do and invisible, so you can practice in any circumstance as soon as a break or an expectation looms. This millennial breathing is one of the secrets of martial art masters and great yogis: adopt it you will not be disappointed!
Very discreet this breathing is really a tool to use as often as you please. By making it a reflex for you when encountering any stressful situation it become a great method to propel you into being operational immediately when needed.
expir = exhale | inspir = inhale
This practice has been fully validated by medical research in neuroscience and neurocardiology in the United States under the name of "cardiac coherence". Here are the positive effects retained by the HeartMath Institute:
- Balancing of the nervous system.
- Increasing the capacity of the immune system.
- Hormonal rebalancing.
As we can see, if breathing will help control your emotional state, it will have many other positive impacts
37 | Having a free mind
Description: It seems obvious that it is pointless to add more to an already full glass. SImilarly the over-accumulation of information or tasks to perform creates stress that will slow us down in our progress, just as though we are the glass in the analogy above.
Diagnosis: It is ideal when faced with a difficulty to have the ability to view it from different angles. Knowing how to put aside your prejudices and your references for a few moments can prove to be very fruitful, it's like starting from scratch and being able to reconsider everything from the start.
Action: Vinyasa, Leaving your worries away
Look at the back and leave the five fatigues and the seven discomforts. The "five fatigues" refer to diseases of the five internal yin organs: the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys. The "seven discomforts" are linked to the seven emotions: anger, joy, sadness, fear, obsession, worry, dread.
- Standing in natural posture: feet slightly apart, dignified head, horizontal gaze, hands joined in front of the chest.
- Raise your hands in front of the chin and rotate them on themselves to make them horizontal. The hand closest to the body is thumb down and the outside hand that will do the movement is thumb up.
- You will go looking far behind while being piloted by your eyes, which follow your thumb, or better, in the direction of the thumb, but far behind.
- Slowly spread the outer hand forwards, before starting a great circularity of the latter towards the back, arms outstretched.
- As soon as the arm is stretched, your eyes follow the thumb in its circular and slow course. It is not the bust which pivots but instead the eyes which sweep a large arc of circle to go to see behind progressively.
- Continue backwards, the body follows without ever anticipating the rotation.
- Without forcing, when the movement is finished for you, the eyes look backwards, then blow as if to evacuate the 5 fatigues and you release 7 wounds, a gesture of the hand can help.
- The return, always in circular and ocular guidance using the thumb, is done on the same track as the outward journey. You finish in the starting position, hand joined in front of the chest.
- Go see on the other side and, at the end of the race, as before, release the fatigues and wounds by a conscious exhalation.
- Go back and forth 3 times.
If the symbolism of the name of this exercise is very meaningful, the fact of imposing on the body a slow and sensory movement initiated essentially by the eyes, will create a particular dynamic with an effect of immediate relaxation.
38 | Moving in stagnation
Description: During our days, we can be inundated with very intense intellectual activity and surrounded by expectations of specific results, and deadlines, many of which have important economic interests. In addition, if the work involves use of computer screen, nervous fatigue will appear quickly. Finally, if this level of intensity persists, the risk is that of a long-term burnout.
Diagnosis: If we know that we have a tendency to overwork because we have got into the habit of concealing our fatigue, resynchronizing with our rhythms will be vital if we want to remain effective without exhausting ourselves.
Action: Maha Bandha
This exercise "Clench your fists with force and eyes of fire" strengthens the metabolism by keeping vital organs healthy. It is based on the isometric contraction of the muscles or bandha.
In Yoga, there are three classic bandhas: Mula Bandha, contraction of the muscles of the perineum at the base of the trunk; Jalandhara Bhanda, compression of the throat by tilting the head; and Uddiyana Bandha, keeping the stomach tucked in. Maha Banha, the great contraction of which we offer a variant here, combines the three abovementioned types by adding a movement in contraction.
- Standing in a so-called rider posture: feet well supported, knees spread outwards (ideally as if you were on a horse), head worthy, horizontal gaze.
- In front of you is a "Dragon". In order to keep him at bay, you will show him your strength by staying put.
- While inhaling, raise your elbows horizontally, forearm down.
- While exhaling loudly through the mouth, in isometric contraction, that is to say by contracting all your muscles during the movement, raise your fists by pivoting around the axis of the shoulders.
- With practice, the whole body is in contraction, the legs, the abdominal belt, the perineum, and the shoulder blades, while the chest region is in extension.
- At the end of the movement you are therefore at the end of the forced expiration, in contraction and with a fiery gaze which "impresses the Dragon".
- Completely release the contraction and tension while inhaling softly. You return to the initial position, the forearms down.
- Repeat the exercise 3 to 10 times according to your feelings.
This movement is very particular, because it involves an isometric type contraction, which one applies to voluntarily developing tensions by resisting the movement. This causes the body to recruit more muscle fibers with an increase in the synchronicity of the motor units during an effort and, therefore, an increase in muscle efficiency. You gain more strength without movement.
39 | Exiting comparison
Description: As soon as we compare ourselves to someone, we take the risk of setting in motion a whole devaluation mechanism. Instead of energizing us, on the contrary, it breaks all momentum and even any attempt to move forward.
Diagnosis: If in childhood we recorded the message that: "it's all or nothing," we got into the habit of starting actions only if we were sure of succeeding. However, the interest of many experiences lies in trying, and feeling what it makes us experience as evolution.
Action: Āsana of the pincers
"Sitting, going to get your feet" is a posture of pincers like "standing going to get your feet" (sheet 24). Gravity is exercised differently, and the support is different, giving us completely different results and fields of application.
As always in Yoga-coaching, the goal is not physical, but mental; flexibility is, therefore, not required and the use of an aid like a belt is highly recommended even for flexible people.
- Sitting, lengthen the legs in front of you, adjust the length of the belt to be able to "catch your feet" with just a slight stretching.
- Legs straight and flat on the ground, let the bust go forward, hands along the calves to grab the belt.
- Once in position, relax your back, arms and head. For very flexible people, the back can be round and the head touching the knees if the legs remain well glued to the ground.
- Take 3 full back breaths:
- When you breathe in, your back swells, your consciousness is on your back and / or your lumbar region.
- At the expiration, you take the opportunity to relax your back, neck and shoulders. Consciousness is always at the back on the back region.
- Breath after breath, you will notice that your back expands, better sitting is installed. Breathing "as if it were through the lower back" promotes this improvement in posture. Observe yourself in terms of feeling, position, and well being.
- Take ten breaths without getting up or three times three breaths if you prefer.
- Finally, get up slowly, bending your legs first.
This posture allows us to reconnect to: I can do, I can go towards. It allows all an inner work of awareness: the result in terms of physical flexibility has no importance, it is our intention that matters and our feelings, our position in relation to ourselves.
40 | Living self-esteem
Description: In our society perfection is a value which is often used for commercial purposes with criteria that has nothing to do with the philosophical notion of this dimension of life. As a result, for some of us, this need for perfection can be exacerbated with the consequences being daily stress.
Diagnosis: Whether it is the cult of performance, of the body, etc. the pressure of those around us, and of society, make us lose sight of the fact that, as we are, in the eyes of Life we are perfect. Being able to appreciate and respect yourself as you are is the basis of self-esteem.
Action: Prānāyāma of the noise
It will be a conscious breathing in three stages that builds on the areas of our nose. Each time 3 full breaths will be practiced.
- Inhale, focusing your attention on the air coming in through the nostrils.
- Exhale while remaining focused on the air that comes out through the nostrils. (Repeat 3 times).
- Then inhale, imagining that the air enters through the middle of your nose.
- Exhale while visualizing the air that comes out in the middle of your nose. (Repeat 3 times).
- Then inhale, imagining that the air enters from the root of your nose (under the forehead).
- Exhale while viewing the air coming out through this area. (Repeat 3 times).
This very specific breathing will allow us to feel in the body the whole dimension of our being and thus physically experience the feeling of our fullness. Radiating who we are is no longer an abstract concept, but a very tangible reality.
KNOWING HOW TO BE PERSISTENT
41 | Gaining consistency
Description: For some of us succeeding in getting to the end of things and completing what we have undertaken can be a real difficulty. It can even have significant consequences in our work or taint our relationship with others.
Diagnosis: This notion of effort to be sustained over time is all the more delicate to live with because it goes against the consumer society. It privileges and values immediate pleasure with the impression that having access to everything, right away, is limitless. To get out of this and regain ability to achieve distant goals, practice a bandha, that is to say a specific muscle contraction, which will help you.
Action: Bandha, the Bellows
This variant of Uddyana Bandha - contraction of the abdominal strap by pulling upwards on the expiration - is inspired by Bhastrika Prānayāma, the breathing of the bellows in order to be accessible to all.
This work acts on all internal organs, activates plasticity of the diaphragm, has very good effect on constipation, female menstruations, deepens breathing, and relieves the heart. A bandha is a contraction of muscle groups.
- Lying down, take three deep breaths.
- Then exhale and, empty lungs, go in and out your belly five times in a row.
- Inhale and repeat three times
- Repeat the exercise twice a day for four weeks
This breathing with rapid contractions of the belly will allow to eliminate a lot of carbon monoxide while massaging the viscera, area where we tend to store what bothers us.
42 | Cultivating patience
Description: We all remember these famous moments when there is nothing to do but be patient. Whether it's in a dentist's waiting room or a queue at the post office, a family reunion or at work, knowing how to accept these down times is the best way to avoid stress around you as well as in yourself.
Diagnosis: The challenge that patience requires is that of accepting a certain form of passivity when things are inevitable and you have to bear them. One solution is to know how to use this "lost" time to keep your good mood and stay calm so that we can avoid conflicts and allow ourselves to go through these moments without exhaustion or nervousness.
Action: Yoga Nidra Sitting or Autogenic
The Nidra relaxation sitting as a coachman of hackney carriage is ideal for our modern life. Its basis, autogenic training, was developed by the German doctor and psychiatrist, Johannes H. Schultz, in the 1930s to lead to a state of vigilant relaxation and recovery. Once acquired, this is a very good tool to “productively use your breaks up”.
- Put yourself in the "coachman of hackney carriage" position: seated, the forearms rest on the thighs. The body collapses, relaxes, head relaxed forward, round back.
- Close your eyes, and evoke the best mental image available at the time to find the inner state "I am completely calm". Generally it is a peaceful scene in the middle of nature: seaside, countryside, mountains. Try to feel this scene in all ways: visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory.
- Now think, "My right arm is heavy. And seek to feel the earthly attraction until it is effective. To better perceive the action of gravity on your arm, add "My arm is heavy, heavy like lead".
- Gradually generalize this notion of heaviness linked to gravity, to all your limbs: "My left arm is heavy,... my two arms are heavy,... my right leg is heavy..." Then calmly move on to the other parts of your body and you will end up with "My whole body is heavy. " For each element of the body, feel how the Earth's attraction plays its role. Release all the tensions of which you become aware at the same time.
- Take advantage of your Zen state, then, to return to the surface: Inhale and exhale more deeply three times.
- Gently, make small movements of the hands, arms, then legs. Finally stretch yourself, stretch yourself completely like a cat coming out of sleep. Open your eyes.
To train yourself, practice this exercise only for one or two minutes twice a day for 10 days. At first, it is best to settle in a comfortable chair. Once the method is acquired, you can sit on a chair or stool and even a public bench in the middle of the city.
At the end of an autogenic training, it is not like getting out of bed, on the contrary, you are in great shape, ready to jump and act. The goal is to be like a cat: completely relaxed and flexible, while remaining vigilant.
This tool will allow us to take advantage of these moments as breaks and see them as opportunities to recharge and not as a waste of time. However, we know the impact of our beliefs on our state of mind and how crucial they are to the way we live each moment; they generate well-being or stress depending on what we choose to think.
43 | Acting with order
Description: No one denies the benefits of order with its savings in time, space, efficiency, motivation and reduced stress. However, order requires demanding behavior, and daily perseverance. Interestingly enough, even though we know that success in disciplining ourselves so that everything has, and is in, its place, is worth gold, we do not necessarily apply it.
Diagnosis: The external order is very often a reflection of our interiority. If we are confused or unclear, the stress will quickly rise. On the other hand, if we have clear ideas, that is to say if they are structured and organized, we will not be in stress. Being organized in your daily life will participate in a better structuring of our mind and the Yoga of sounds will help us to acquire this behavior.
Action: Vowel Yoga
- Body position: the vertical and free bust, that is to say, at your convenience sitting cross-legged or on a chair, kneeling or standing but not lying down.
- Position of the hands: The position of the hands is very important because it serves to amplify the sound so that it has more effect for you. The hands are placed in the form of a conch on the right side of the face (It is to the otolaryngologist Alfred Tomatis that we highlight the importance of the right ear). Experiment by speaking, then making sounds, to find the correct position for your hands without clenching your shoulders. The sound should come out as loud as possible in your right ear.
- The order of vowels: "a é i o u". This order is studied to modify the "colors of the spirit" (Rāgas). In addition, for each of the vowels, as much as possible, we will focus on a more specific part of the body:
- a: we focus our attention on the upper part of the rib cage
- é (pronounce “hey”): attention will be paid to the throat
- i (pronounce “e”): the root of the nose
- u: the maxillary sinuses or cheekbones
- o: the lower part of the rib cage
- Sing the series of 5 vowels 3 times in a row twice a day for 3 weeks to have the beneficial effects.
This song activates both the left and the right brain. It works the breathing, allowing you to switch to slow, deep breathing: stress can dissolve. The fact of singing a precise succession of sounds will "reorganize our interior" and make us live the pleasure of order, memory which will have a positive and direct impact on our motivation when it will be necessary to organize or tidy up.
Sound is the basis of traditional education in India as recalled by the story of the young Indian who wants to become an architect. His Master tells him that he must first learn sculpture. The Master of sculpture tells him that to master it he must learn to draw. The drawing master tells him that he must master the dance before learning to draw. And the dance master tells him that he must learn singing and music!
44 | My well-being is my job
Description: One of the most widespread beliefs is a line of thinking that our happiness depends on a external element: "When I have this job or this house I will be happy," or “I will find joy when I am part of a couple”. We are convinced that it is the other one who will and must make us happy.
Diagnosis: As soon as we extinguish our own power, in favor of false external expectations, we only reap disappointment. Our relationship with others is distorted by these notions and we are left with only frustration and suffering. It will be important to change this attitude which is counter to our well-being.
Action: Āsana of the Crocodiles
The posture in extension of the crocodiles includes many variants which all have in common this same movement, namely that of carrying the pelvis on one side and the head and shoulders on the other. The variant proposed here has the advantage of being accessible without risk since it suffices to stop the movement of the arm to our own limit, without ever forcing it.
- Lie on your side like curling up into a ball and join your hands flexibly, arms stretched out in front of you, parallel to the ground.
- You will now start a large circularity of the upper arm, leaving it as parallel as possible to the ground. The other arm will remain without moving.
- Inhale while starting a movement parallel to the ground to bring the arm above the head. In this intermediate position, the arm is in the extension of the body, begin to bring attention to the region of the pelvis.
- Continue the movement according to your feeling. The maximum is reached when you arrive with your arms crossed, but there is no obligation of such a position: spare your lumbar and your pelvis.
- Pause and take 3 full abdominal breaths while keeping your attention on the pelvis: "as if you were breathing through the pelvis."
- Return flexibly by the reverse path
- Roll to the other side and do the exercise on the other side.
In addition to the osteopathic and liberating effect on the back and joints, stimulation of both the nervous system and abdominal spin is beneficial for the glands and organs by energizing the digestive and intestinal functions.
For this posture or āsana, as for all the others in Yoga-coaching, the breathing is consciously observed and subjectively experienced as if we were breathing through the area of the body concerned, which in this case is the pelvis.
Note that it is the modification of the position of the arm that advances the torsion: from the lower back to the top, while ensuring a kind of internal massage of the organs and abdominals.
The pelvis is symbolically the base of our inner temple, the center of gravity is located there and the sexual energies, symbols of our momentum of life, are present.
Possible solutions for other stresses
We have seen how Yoga can be a relevant and effective anti-stress tool. We went through around forty solutions based on typical problems articulated around themes such as knowing how to install a healthy lifestyle or knowing how to relax, but also knowing how to face a challenge, and adapting to a context…
This panel is wide but not exhaustive, as stressful situations are infinitely variable. So we suggest that you revisit other situations that make problems in everyday life, and see two possible solutions in Yoga-coaching:
The table summarizes the problematic situation and the two most suitable Yoga-coaching tools in absolute terms.
After the problem “me VS the others”, here is the problem “me VS me”:
It will be noted that these themes are often discussed in female journalistic literature, and it is not by chance. These are real life problems to solve. The body mediation approach used here has the advantage of allowing self-coaching without going through the mind which, in case of stress often slows the process rather than boosting us.
Finally, the “me VS life” issue:
So many leads to explore, so many answers to provide …
Managing stress in everyday life is a difficult challenge that body mediation via Yoga-coaching can solve.
The choice of three "postures," three situations of which the description particularly spoke to you is an excellent start. Practicing its three exercises daily for three weeks is enough to allow you to see life with more perspective and to better tame "the waves of the mind" as Patañjali would say.
Here, throughout this memento you have discovered Yoga-coaching which likely surprised you on many points. As the popular saying goes, "don't put off tomorrow what you can do today", live the experience of Yoga-coaching! You will see the effects are immediate, no belief is necessary, just ... "do".
Far from any fakirism or any contortionist, your life will take again the colors which it should never have lost!
Pascale & Marc Polizzi
... and a big thanks to Laurie Couture and Carrie Gordon for the translation in english.
20 livres pour aller plus loin (in French)
 Jalenques, Etienne : La thérapie du bonheur (Marabout, 2007).
 Swâmi Vivekânanda : Râja-yoga, Conquête de la nature intérieure (Hachette BNF 2013).
 Varma, S.S. : Yama et niyama : Yoga pratique (Adyar 2000).  Deepak Chopra : Les sept lois spirituelles du yoga (J'ai lu, 2005).
 Van Lysebeth, André : Pranayama, la dynamique du souffle (Flammarion, 1993).
 Réquéna, Yves : La gymnastique des gens heureux – Livre + DVD (Guy Trédaniel éditeur 2011)
 Schultz, Johannes Heinrich : Le training autogène (PUF, 2008).
 Allal, Aubert : Voyage a Travers les Mystères du Karma (Epm, 2004).
 Allal, Aubert : Karma, Clé de Notre Liberté (Epm, 2005).
 Valmiki : Le Ramayana (Gallimard 1999).
 Yesudian, Selvarajan & Haich, Elisabeth : Raja yoga : la voie spirituelle (Ambre 2013).
 Réquéna, Yves : Qi Gong : Gymnastique chinoise de santé et de longévité – DVD (Guy Trédaniel éditeur 2009).
 Rapoport–Hubschman, Nathalie : Apprivoiser l'esprit, guérir le corps (Odile Jacob, 2012).
 Hirschi, Gertrud : Les Mudras. Le yoga au bout des doigts (Courrier du Livre, 2000).
 Kerneïz, C. : La voie heureuse Hata Yoga (Jules Tallandier, 1947).
 Brissiaud, Pierre-Yves : Marche et méditation : Un chemin ver soi (Jouvence, 2004).
 Jourdan, Michel & Vignes, Jacques : Marcher, méditer (Albin Michel, 1998).
 Kabat-Zinn, Jon : Au cœur de la tourmente, la pleine conscience (J'ai lu, 2012).
 Galinier, Jean-Jacques & Giudice, Jean-Philippe : Qi Gong, Les 6 sons thérapeutiques - DVD (Fa média 2008).
 Polizzi, Pascale et Marc & Descamps, Marc-Alain : Le Transpersonnel (Amazon 2012).
 Polizzi, Pascale et Marc : Poker No Stress - Livre+CD (Fantaisium, 2011).
Visual synthesis of the tools
Life No Stress (translated by Laurie Couture)
Yoga to relax and manage stress.
Pascale & Marc Polizzi
Managing stress: a difficult equation that is sometimes even... stressful itself! And yes, the use of the mind to manage stress or optimize performance has its limits. So why not just exercise our bodies?
Body mediation is largely neglected in our modern world, even though it is one of the essential bases for the structuring of the individual.
Yoga-coaching consists in using the eight forms of Rāja Yoga to master the mind, an objective that coincides with the historical origin of Yoga!
As you will discover in this ultra-practical guide, the approach is eminently centered on the person. Therefore, it is a personal practice which is unrelated to group practice, however, is completely complementary. You will practice according to your experience. Also, all Yogi postures and practices have been redesigned in a form accessible at home and without an instructor.
It is the first time that this work of adaptation and recontextualisation has been done, and thanks to this memento of practical life you will quickly find a Yoga solution to stressful and typically modern situations.
Cover photo: Gyan Mudrā. Gyan Mudrā is known as the Seal of Knowledge because it stimulates knowledge, wisdom and the power to understand.