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Relaxation Techniques

Women are often so busy taking care of everyone else's needs that they forget to take time out for themselves. In order to preserve their sanity and get the most out of life, women need to find a relaxation technique that works for them. Since many women find solace in nature, the best relaxation techniques are those that incorporate a love for the outdoors with the need to slow down and unwind.

Yoga is a very popular relaxation technique, and with good reason. In addition to calming the mind, the poses and breathing techniques help tone muscle, improve air flow and strengthen your sense of balance. There are several kinds of yoga that serve different purposes, but the forms best known for stress relief are Satyananda (also called “traditional” yoga) and Kundalini. The slow and gentle movements associated with Satyananda yoga are perfect for beginners and those with physical limitation. Kundalini yoga combines physical activity with meditation and chanting mantras (short, meaningful phrases), making it a spiritual experience for many people.

The fact that yoga does not require any equipment aside from a soft, flat surface makes it much easier to practice in an area that aids in relaxation.

Tai chi is a physical relaxation technique with its roots in martial arts. The slow, steady movements are meant to vary the pressure felt by different parts of the body, allowing for improved blood flow and release of stress. A big part of the relaxation comes in focusing your mind on the movements as opposed to other things that may be going on in your life. It's a great low-impact workout that works for people of all ages and ability levels. Although it can be done on your own, it's a good idea to start off by taking a class that may be offered at your local community center.. Since it too requires no equipment, it is easy to adapt to an outdoor setting.

Meditation is something that can be done in a variety of settings. The idea is to clear your mind and focus only on the present moment, which is easier for some to do when they are outside and away from distractions such as television or other people. Go off by yourself and find a quiet place. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and focus only on what is going on at the time. Some people find it helpful to use mantras; others focus on the sounds of the world around them, such as the ocean or rustling of leaves; still others find a piece of music that creates a feeling of “calm”. If you can't seem to sit still, sometimes a walk on the beach or through a park can help. Whatever works for you is fine, as long as it involves shutting out other thoughts and focusing on the present moment.

Some people start off meditating for 5-10 minutes a day and work up from there, although “mini-meditations” may be easier to fit into a hectic schedule. Simply take a short break to clear your head. The idea is to make meditating a habit that helps you unwind and let go of the tensions of daily life.

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