Does our stress filled world have you looking for ways to relax and reduce anxiety? If you’re looking for ways to relieve stress the art of practicing mindfulness or looking within yourself may be the answer you need.
Sara DiVello is a Boston-area yoga teacher and author of the best-selling book, “Where in the OM Am I? One Woman’s Journey from the from Corporate World to the Yoga Mat.” She teaches people how to find balance and fulfillment in their lives. In 2013, DiVello made a career change after her mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.
"I thought, am I doing what I would want to be doing and am I living how I'd want to be living if, God forbid, I only had six months to live? And the answer was, No," DiVello said. "And that helped to motivate me to create a life that I would love. No matter how much time I had.”
Nowadays, people find yoga welcoming and nourishing. No matter what level or style of yoga you enjoy, or practice such as heated, Vinyasa, or restorative yoga, it’s gaining momentum among people. Estimates range, but roughly 36 million people practice yoga in the United States, and that number is expected to grow to 55 million by 2020. And yoga is currently a multi-billion industry in the United States.
Yoga is all about breathing and doing postures, but it's also about going inward and asking yourself challenging questions to help find balance and become centered.
Research shows stress can worsen many health conditions, so many find yoga is a great tool for reducing stress.
DiVello teaches people in her class to quiet their anxiety by reciting a positive affirmation. Another method she uses to help create a sense of calmness is something called “tapping.”
"The theory behind it," DiVello says, "with Chinese medicine and acupuncture, you put needles on the different pressure points where the energy gets stuck or stagnant, and with tapping it’s similar. You tap on those points to get the energy flowing again.”
Maureen Rastetter of Pittsburgh, PA participated in DiVello’s class at the Nantucket Yoga Festival. “I really loved the tapping, because I had breast cancer," she said. "So as I was going through treatment and recovery, I found that it really alleviates your fear and calms you.”
The Nantucket Yoga Festival is now in its seventh year. Festival co-founder, Joanne Burnham, says the event brings together a community of like-minded people, “last year we had people from 10 states and 3 countries. People from everywhere coming together to practice and to find more peaceful ways of living.”
Katherine Hamer is a certified Singing Bowl practitioner, who was teaching classes at the festival. She focuses on sound and vibration therapy to soothe and transform the body. During one of her classes she offered calming instructions, “May all the beings in all the world, find roofs over their heads, food in their bellies, peace in their hearts, good medicine and love, that’s my wish for all of you. Namaste.”
So, whether your goal is to be calm and centered, or to relax and rejuvenate; there’s a whole community of people or “yogis” that are becoming empowered and finding ways to relieve stress in these troubled times.