Aside from my life as a yoga therapist, I’ve worked my entire adult life in the Public Relations industry. I think I’m pretty chill. However, I just read that Public Relations is ranked the sixth most stressful profession. Furthermore, event planning (part of PR) is number five. But hey, it’s not as bad as being in the military, a fire fighter or police officer. Of course, sitting behind a desk, downtown, isn’t as stressful as wearing a flak jacket worried that you’ll be greeted with an uzi. Nonetheless, my fellow PR pros will corroborate our business requires learning stress reduction techniques.
Stress is a state of mind, and we can be chill, if we put our mind to it. That’s why I will lead Chill Out, one of my signature therapeutic workshops, Sunday, March 19. Chill Out will include breath work, meditation, restorative yoga and yoga nidra. Limited to no more than four participants, register ASAP.
I can attest that your breath can bring about a powerful emotional change. Once, during a stressful week preparing for a new business pitch with my team, one of the leaders was particularly negative and rude. I wanted to wring her neck. We took a short break to review, on our own. I went into my office, closed the door, and practiced mindfulness. When I returned to the conference room, I wanted to hug this woman who was pushing me to the limits before the meditation. Proof positive that yoga is the antidote for stress.
But since I like facts and figures, here are some reasons why you should Chill Out with therapeutic yoga.
1) Stress is a factor in five of the six leading causes of death.
2) Stress is the trigger for almost nine out of ten doctor visits.
3) Medical Daily, reported on a study among personnel in a surgical intensive care unit. Stress plummeted 40 percent among participants who practiced mindfulness, hatha, meditation, and listening to music (my favorite form of yoga aka kirtan).
4) The Mayo Clinic says, “Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function. And almost anyone can do it.”
5) MD Anderson incorporates yoga in their programs for cancer patients, to counteract their increased stress. MD Anderson calls yoga “a quintessential mind-body practice combining movement, controlled breathing, and breathing exercises, and meditation.”
See for Yourself
One western doctor who prescribes yoga therapy, and practices the eight limbs of yoga, is Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD. As an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, for decades, he has conducted and analyzed research on the positive side effects of yoga. Study after study, his findings point out the benefits of yoga. Asanas, breathwork, relaxation and meditation can not only lower the blood pressure, but increase brain GABA levels. Studies confirm they lower perceived stress and back pain at work. Plus yoga produces “enhanced expression of genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion and telomere maintenance, and reduced expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress-related pathways.” Using brain scanners, he takes before and after images of the brain to see how meditation affects the limbic and paralimbic systems.
While his processes are not simple, the results are. Of meditation, he states, “It turns on genes that are good for us. It’s happening at the very core of our selves…We are changing our brains and our bodies.”
Give it a shot. Do your brain and your body some good.
Chill Out is appropriate for people of all ages, regardless of level of physical fitness. Plus, the Chill Out workshop incorporates tips about easy lifestyle changes and practices to keep cool as a cucumber. Finally, participants will be treated to a fresh “shot” from Munch On and Beyond, the newest gluten-free, vegan establishment, located in northeast San Antonio.