Stress wreaks havoc on our body, in particular our digestive health, hormones, sleep habits, moods, energy levels, it can cause weight gain or make it difficult to lose weight, it increases inflammation which causes a range of health conditions, to name just a few. Yes, stress is inevitable, but being mindfulness of this and finding ways to manage stress can be a game changer to your health.
A lot of people think of meditating as sitting in silence, however, this doesn’t come easy for many people, including myself. When I first started meditating almost 10 years ago I really struggled to get into it, or would only do it sporadically. But did you know there are many different ways to meditate. I personally can’t sit in silence, my brain runs wild, so I listen to guided meditation. I do this via the Headspace app or on YouTube (I type in – 15-minute guided meditation).
If you're new to meditation it can take time to get into it, it’s like anything in life, you can’t run a marathon tomorrow if you haven’t been training. The same goes for meditation, start off small, start with 2-3 minutes meditations, build this up by 1 minute daily until you get to 10-15 minutes. Some people like to meditate for much longer, I personally find 15 minutes is enough for me, sometimes I might go for 20 minutes, and sometimes it’ll be 10 minutes. The most important thing is to ensure you do it regularly, then you’ll notice the difference. I would love to do it daily, but I don’t right now, so I am for 5 times per week, Monday – Friday.
Putting my legs up the wall is my absolute favourite way to meditate, while listening to guided meditation. I’ve been doing this pose for years, and it’s something I often recommend to my clients who are busy, anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, have an active mind or have trouble sleeping.
This pose has so many incredible health benefits such as:
- Calms your nervous system (allowing you to enter your "rest and digest" parasympathetic nervous system response)
- Help with poor digestion and circulation
- Stretches the hamstrings and relieves sore and tired legs
- Relieves lower back pain
- Helps to lower cortisol levels and restore the adrenal glands
- Relieves stagnant energy from sitting down all day as it get’s the blood flowing in a different direction
I like to do this pose in the evenings before going to bed, sometimes I lie on the floor, and sometimes I just lie on my bed. It’s also a great pose to do when you get home from work, to disconnect from the day, calm the mind and body and recenter yourself.
I highly recommend giving this a go. Try it with an open mind for 1-2 weeks and see how you feel. If you want to lower your stress response and anxiety levels it's about finding a mindfulness practice or meditation practice which works for you. But do try this out, the more you practice this pose the more you will reap its amazing benefits and the longer you may want to lay there and enjoy the stillness. It's also great for those who struggle to fall asleep or have insomnia. I sleep so much better when doing this pose before bed, my sleep is so much deeper and I wake up feeling more refreshed. Research has shown that 15 minutes in this position is equivalent to one hour of sleep, crazy huh!
When lying like this it's also important to pay attention to your breath, breathing slowly and deeply into your belly (letting your belly rise and fall), this is the best way to relax your nervous system!
To get into this pose all you need to do is sit with your bum and hips against the wall, roll onto your back taking your legs up the wall and your hands out wide, or over your head (whatever works for you), then breathe slowly and deeply into your belly. You could also place a cushion/folded blanket/bolster under your pelvis if that is more comfortable.
Give it a go and let me know how you get on in the comments below!