5 Simple Practices to Cultivate Calm When Life Feels Craziest - Yoga Journal

5 Simple Practices to Cultivate Calm When Life Feels Craziest

Having one of those days when you feel like you’re spinning? Sure, making a beeline for your yoga mat is a great idea. But for an instant hit of calm when you're on the go, try one of these simple practices that you can do anywhere, anytime.
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You know that moment in yoga class when the world finally seems to slow down and a subtle but palpable inner calm sets in? Distractions fade and worries fall away. Senses heighten, sensation reveals itself, and your breath has room to move and expand. At last—the present moment! You’ve arrived!

Daydream with me for a bit: In your mind’s eye, take yourself to this moment on your mat. Notice all that you can about yourself: the pose you’re in; the positions of your hands and feet; the expression on your face; your mood and energy levels; the colors and features of the space around you. Stay with this vision of yourself for a few breaths, embodying the tranquility it holds.

See also 7 Simple Ways to Find Some Calm

How nice to have a few moments of calm, yes?

If your life is like mine—quite full—calm is not always easy to access. Or, I should say, easy to remember to access. Surely, a healthy dose of stress comes into play for most of us from time to time. (Or, let’s get real, most of the time.) However, prolonged stress often accumulates into feelings of overwhelm and anxiety—and these feelings drain our energy, leaving us exhausted and caught in a perpetual cycle of craziness. The crazier life feels, the harder it is to remember that we can find calm, even if for just a few minutes.

Yet even short periods of calm and inner ease are golden. Our nervous system has a chance to unwind, which in turn allows tense muscles to relax and thoughts to slow down. We also breathe more fully, and that alone can be tremendous in creating inner calm and balancing our whole beings.

As my little visualization above suggests, your yoga practice is a very effective and healthy way to cultivate calm when life feels overwhelming. In addition to practicing yoga and taking yourself in your mind to “that moment” on your mat in order to access a little calm in the crazy, you can also try these simple yoga-inspired practices that you can do anywhere, anytime. 

See also 16 Yoga Poses to Find Instant Calm and Peace

About the Author
Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT, is a certified yoga therapist specializing in eating disorders and body image. She is an inspirational speaker dealing with eating-disorder recovery and body image and coauthor of the forthcoming book, Body Mindful Yoga: Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship With Your Body (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). In addition to her private yoga-therapy practice, Jennifer leads yoga-therapy groups at the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia and yoga workshops and retreats on eating-disorder recovery and body image. Jennifer also trains yoga professionals how to nurture positive body image in students and private clients at the YogaLife Institute in Wayne, PA. She is the cofounder of 11 Elements: A Body Compassion Project Yoga Retreat, and a partner with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. Jennifer's writing about her personal and professional experiences on the topics of yoga, body image, motherhood, and eating-disorder recovery have appeared in Yoga Journal and influential blogs. She has appeared on Fox29 News and has been featured in the Huffington Post, Real Woman magazine, Medill Reports Chicago, Philly.com, and the ED Matters podcast. Connect with Jennifer: www.ChimeYogaTherapy.com.