Do These 5 Yoga Exercises
1.Do These 5 Yoga Exercises When You’re Stressed About Money
As much as we would like to believe transformation and inner peace is our top value in life, we live in a world where money is almost always vital to our survival.Very often, however, our feelings about money are conflicted, if not actually quite negative.Yet money can be a particularly powerful tool to understand who we are in the world and where we are on our spiritual path. It reveals both our fears and our desires, our insecurities and our generosity, our trust and surrender, or our worry and doubt.
“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” Oscar Wilde
For a while now I’ve been exploring the (surprisingly revolutionary) idea that we might approach money in the same way we do our yoga practice – as holistic, ongoing, individual, and a tool for enhancing spiritual growth – and even weave it into our time on the mat.
For many, the first thing that comes up involving money is quite simply stress. Indeed, money issues are a huge source of conflict in relationships and can take a huge toll on our health.
While almost any yoga will help reduce general stress, I’ve discovered some specific yoga practices that directly target and relieve financial anxiety. These yoga poses can be done together as a series, or you might just pick one that targets your specific financial stress and explore it more deeply.
Practice these 5 yoga exercises when you’re feeling stressed about money:
1. Childs Pose
What this yoga pose represents:
Child’s Pose is always an option whenever a break is wanted or needed during a yoga class. Rather than leaving class or giving up, having an accessible option when the going feels tough is important. More importantly, no one should feel guilty about needing to take a break – on the contrary, yoga invites us to take a break and simply surrender to the moment.
How Childs Pose helps calm financial stress:
The first step in reducing financial stress through yoga is surrender. When we feel financial stress, we often don’t give ourselves permission to be okay with who and where we are right now. We feel we have to soldier on until we’ve solved the problem.
Yoga, however, is really not about solving problems. It’s about sustaining a practice that transforms us and allows us to always surrender to who we are in that moment. Nothing exemplifies that in the body more than Childs Pose.
Let’s try it:
It might seem paradoxical, but allowing yourself to kneel, sending the hips to the heels, and stretching the arms forward (or leaving them by your side) combined with a simple breath-based focus such as “I am Letting Go” or “I Surrender” might be the most powerful thing one can do during a financial crisis to relieve stress.
2. Breath of Joy
How Breath of Joy helps calm financial stresses:
There’s tremendous power in capturing thought through feeling and physical movement. Using the Breath of Joy to create thoughts and emotions needed to expand financial success is one way to harness this power. As you practice this connected breath and movement, try repeating phrases like, “Life is good,” “I’m eager for more,” “I know my miracle is out there” or “miracle come find me now.”
Let’s try it:
As you inhale, lift and open your arms
As you exhale, draw them in and hug yourself
Repeat for several minutes, perhaps with music that inspires in the background, or simply create a mantra of your own that captures this feeling of being wide-open and eager for more
After you finish, take a moment of silence, allowing for some deep listening to see if any new inspirations arise
3. Warrior Poses
What the Warrior series represents:
After you’ve surrendered and opened to expansion, the next step is focus. Nothing embodies that like the Warrior Poses. The story of Virabhadrasana and the Warrior Poses is one of intensity and passion, which many bring into their yoga practice.
How Warriors 1, 2, and 3 help calm financial stresses:
Try to connect with the renewed (or newfound) strength the pose brings and see if you can apply that towards your financial stress. As you’re embodying the pose, acknowledge all the challenges you’ve overcome in the past and affirm that you’re more than able to handle and transform your current situation.
Let’s try it:
Practice Warrior I, standing firm and sitting deep, yet also feeling the heart wide and open through the uplifted arms
Practice Warrior 2, and feel your strength. Step into your full power as you breathe through the intensity and the challenge
Practice Warrior 3, and experience the duality of focus and power, balance and strength
Breathe fully, allowing the energy of the breath to strengthen not only every cell in your body but also empowering your sense of resolve and focus
Connect with the grace and confidence of the Spiritual Warrior and watch your money stress melt away
What inversions represent:
Sometimes in life it’s necessary to completely alter our entire perspective on a challenging situation. Inversions, where the heart is above the head, offer us the perfect opportunity to flip the script in a positive way both physically and mentally.
How inversions help calm financial stresses:
Beyond literally embodying the idea of changing our perspective by quite literally flipping things upside down, inversions are incredibly invigorating and great mood elevators.
All of us tend to spend way too much time stuck in our problems, stewing around in the muck and mire, which in turn drastically reduces our ability to recognize the options and solutions we actually have.
Like travel, inverting our bodies forces us to have an entirely new perspective, and re-energizing us at the same time – something we should extend to our financial lives as well.
Let’s try it:
Downward Facing Dog:
This practice achieves the goal of strengthening the shoulders and arms, re-energizing the body and reversing our perspective without being as dramatic as a traditional handstand. Want to double check your Down Dog form? Watch this short Down Dog video tutorial
This inversion is a key yoga pose in many yoga traditions for its amazing benefits to the body and mind. Review these tips to improve your headstand
Shoulderstand is another yoga pose to flip your perspective and elevate your heart. To be sure you are practicing this yoga pose safely, review these shoulderstand modifications
If you are ready to bring a whole new perspective to your life and explore your strength within, then you may be ready to begin your handstand journey. Check out this free handstand video tutorial to get you started
View the Learning to Handstand video bundle – 6 video classes to get you feeling comfortable upside down.
5. Alternate Nostril Breathing
What this breathing exercise represents:
Alternate nostril breathing, or what I lovingly nickname “Cash Flow Breath,” is one of my favorite pranayama practices. This conscious breathing exercise evens out the left and right hemispheres of the brain, calming and centering the mind.
How Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm financial stresses:
We can directly apply alternate nostril breathing to financial stress by turning it into a breath-based meditation that embodies the concepts of ebb and flow and letting go.
Through a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing, we can calm our nervous system and remind ourselves the universal laws of surrender and trust, which are absolutely essential for financial peace of mind. When we empty our breath, we inherently trust that there will always be more air available to us. We are confident that our inhale will always bring us what we need.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we developed that same feeling of trust regarding money? One cannot hold one’s breath forever . . . and likewise, money can’t only be saved and never spent. We must learn to let go and surrender . . . we must exhale.
Let’s try it:
Use the right thumb to block the right nostril and exhale
Then inhale through the left nostril and then block the left nostril with the ring finger and release the thumb
Continue that rhythm – switching to exhale, inhaling on the same side – for several rounds
For more information and tips on alternate nostril breathing, check out Alternate Nostril Breathing: Learn How To Breath Your Way Into A State of Peace.
As yogis, we know on some level that money is a vivid human experience of the concept of Maya – the world as illusion or a magic show – where things appear quite real but are not what they seem.
If we use our physical practices to include money, we not only relieve the stress of financial illusions . . . more importantly we use the illusion of money to take us deeper into ourselves, the very definition and embodiment of the spirit of yoga.
When we can view money as simply another spiritual practice, it takes the emotions out of it, and empowers us in all aspects of our lives.