Mindfulness: How to Manage Stress Through Yoga and Meditation

In our fast-paced, stressed-out world, there’s a need for tools and strategies for mindfulness to balance out the stress and pressures of work and life.

Mindfulness, often used as a therapeutic technique, is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Meditation and yoga have been shown to promote mindfulness, which in turn has the potential to improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even cognitive skills. These exercises can also help with focus, stress, and attitude, especially when combined with regular exercise and proper food choices.

How Yoga Can Help You Relax

Sometimes after a long day, I like to unwind with a gentle yoga routine. This is also a great way to start the day—it clears your mind and sets a positive tone for the day with a few simple yoga moves.

John Hopkins Medicine lists 9 benefits of yoga, including:

  1. improving your strength, balance, and flexibility
  2. helping with back pain relief
  3. easing arthritis symptoms
  4. promoting better heart health
  5. helping you sleep better
  6. promoting more energy and brighter moods
  7. helping you manage stress
  8. connecting you to a supportive community
  9. promoting better self-care

Setting aside a little time, even ten minutes, for your yoga practice can help you build a ritual to relax your mind and body so that you can face future challenges with better calm and ease.

Ready to get started? Visit our fitness portal today and check out our Yoga and Pilates videos. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced yogi, we have routines for everybody.

How to Practice Meditation: 10 Dos and Don’ts

As with all things relating to health and wellness, there are many schools of thought and many methods. Today, I will share with you my practical tips for calming your mind and reflecting on your day with simple and practical meditation advice: 

  1. Don’t think that you need a completely silent and secluded place to practice. In the real world, and especially at home with kids or at the office, finding complete silence is almost an impossible task.
  2. Do try to remove yourself from all major distractions, such as phones, computer screens, and incredibly loud spaces. Simply turn your office chair away from the screen. If you’re at home, close your bedroom door.
  3. Don’t convince yourself that you need any special equipment, such as a yoga mat, bells, or blankets, because you can meditate anywhere. The less stuff you rely on, the easier it will be to take a quick moment to practice, wherever you may be.
  4. Do try to sit or lie down in a comfortable place where you feel cozy. Try building out an altar for your practice. You can keep your eyes open or close them; just do what feels right for you.
  5. Don’t force yourself to start breathing with a specific style, like belly breathing or nose breathing. It can initially put you off or even make you feel light-headed. You can work on a breathing technique once you start to feel more comfortable with meditation.
  6. Do focus on your breath. Feel the air coming in and leaving your body. Simply be aware of your breath and how it feels. Just be in the moment.
  7. Don’t start welcoming negative thoughts in your mind or worrying about your errands or to-do list.
  8. Do redirect your focus away from your daily to-do list and back to your breathing. Whenever these thoughts start to creep into your mind, simply acknowledge them, and let them go.
  9. Don’t have a long list of affirmations or goals that you think about or chant out loud.
  10. Do have one or two key words that help you to relax or guide you towards a positive sense of well-being.

Aim to practice conscious mindfulness and breathing throughout your day. Remember that meditation is considered a practice, just like yoga. So yes, that means it may actually take consistent practice to feel the full calming effects. But also, don’t be hard on yourself if life takes over once in a while. The key is balance and making this practice a lasting lifestyle.

Samantha ClaytonOLY, ISSA-CPT – Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness

Samantha Clayton represented Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. She is a certified personal trainer with specialty certifications in group fitness, youth fitness programming, senior fitness and athletic conditioning. She has direct responsibility for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Herbalife Nutrition independent distributors and employees.