Self calming techniques from Yoga, Mindfulness and Reiki

Long after you’ve had a period of stress or anxiety, have you experienced in hindsight a realization or sense of clarity about that situation? Did you wonder why you didn’t see the full picture before?

During your high-stress situation, your unnoticed physical reactions prevented the emotional and mental clarity needed to put things in perspective. Mastering a few simple techniques based on Yoga, Meditation and Reiki can help you to quickly regain calmness the next time you feel overwhelmed by stress.


Balanced breathing

Your breathing changes when you feel stress. It can be quicker or slower, but often it is out of balance.

When you regulate your breath, you will feel calmer within moments. Get your breathing back in balance – and reset your perspective – with this simple yoga exercise. Close both nostrils with the thumb and forefinger of one hand. Find out which nostril s breathing more easily by releasing fist the thumb then the forefinger. Starting with the nostril breathing more easily breathe in 1..2..3..4. Close that nostril and breathe out through the other one 1…2..3…4. Breathe in through the open nostril, close, it and breathe out through the other 1…2…3…4. Continue this alternative breathing and soon both airways will be balanced. You’ll notice how open and free you feel and ready to look at your problem in a balanced way.  

Body scan

If you can take a few minutes to lie don or sit in a secluded place, make that time more meaningful by becoming aware of your body’s sensations. First, pay attention to your breath, and allow it to become calm and regulated. Now bring your attention to every inch of your body, starting from the toes, up through the calves, knees, thighs, hips, abdomen, and chest. Continue journeying upward. Whenever you notice area of tension rest there longer, and those areas will release on their own.

Pay particular attention to the shoulder, neck and facial muscles, where most of us hold tension. Finish off by visualizing the release of tension through the crown of your head.


Healing hands

The practice of Reiki requires expert training, but is based on traditions of hand-on healing you can learn to use to reduce stress. Here is an easy practice will restore your physical, mental and emotional balance.

Rest comfortably wither lying down or seated. Close your eyes and take the time you need to consciously bring your breath to a regular pattern – breathe in and slowly count 1…2…3 in, and release 1…2…3 out. Continue relaxing and breathing, If any thoughts arise, allow them to fade away without engaging them.

Now rest your hands on your head, side by side, over the right and left sections of the brain. Let go of any goals you have about solving problems, or about any of your abilities, or even the ideas you have about being left- or right-brained. Just be aware of your hands covering your head. Relax your arms so that your hands are fully resting on your head.

Focus your attention on the space between the skin of hands and your head. The space is very slight, almost immeasurable. Still, focus all your attention there. Release thoughts and continue to breathe.

Soon you will notice a sense of growing warmth. One side of hand/head may feel warmer. Continue resting your hands on your head without trying to accomplish anything. In time, both sides of the hands/head will feel balanced, and the warm feeling will begin to cool down. At that time you can remove your hands from your head, take a few more conscious breaths and open your eyes to a renewed sense of calm and clarity.


Candle gazing

For this practice, you may need to have someone read you the directions as you practice the first time. Otherwise you can record the directions and listen to your recording as you practice.

Sit on the floor or a comfortable chair, and place a candle on a surface in front of you at eye level. A taper candle is best, but any candle you have will be fine. Light the candle. Close your eyes for a few moments and breathe in and out naturally.

Open your eyes and gaze at the candle with full attention. If any thoughts arise, let them go and return your attention to the candle. Continue to breathe naturally. Blink only when you need to.

Now focus only on the flame of the candle, simply gazing without admiring it or thinking.

After a few moments, focus all your attention on the center of the candle.

Close your eyes. An image of the candle flame (and even the candle itself) will appear. Focus on the image of the flame, and direct the image to the point between your eyebrows. Breathe naturally and focus on keeping the flame image bright and steady, stationed at the point between your eyebrows.

Continue focusing until the flame image eventually goes out. Open your eyes, blow out the candle, and allow yourself time to sit quietly within the sense of focus and serenity the practice brings to you.

Because these techniques need very little planning, preparation or practice, they are great for relieving immediate, short-term stress. With continued, consistent practice they can also bring you a lifelong feeling of ease and perspective in life. You can add healing music and aromatherapy to your ongoing practice of these techniques, to make them your own and shar wisharether.

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