How to Reduce Stress through Yoga 70

How to Reduce Stress through Yoga

This is a guest post by Meera, who runs Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore.

Though success can sometimes be spurred by a little stress—like working hard before a deadline to get everything the way you want—typically stress makes your day and life more difficult.

Learning how to manage your stress will help you be more calm and will help you better manage hardships in life.

Yoga is very effective in managing stress. So why not get started?

How Anxiety Affects the Body

When your body interprets you are in a stressful situation, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is activated, which floods your body with hormones like cortisol to heighten your senses, increase your heart rate and focus the brain.

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is responsible for relaxation and calmness, takes a back seat.

This response is meant to be triggered in fight-or-flight situations and isn’t necessary in many day-to-day situations. Though a botched coffee order sometimes makes me feel this way, it isn’t necessary.

Anxiety can usually be recognized by multiple symptoms:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or panicky;
  • Palpitations;
  • Quickened breath or heart rates;
  • Sleeplessness;
  • Tension in the neck, shoulders or hips.

One way to deal with anxiety naturally is through the gifts of nature, such as therapeutic plants and herbs.

One such example is mucuna pruriens. also knows as Velvet Bean. It comes from the traditional Indian medical system and is known to increase strength and endurance, boost brain power, help deal with stress, increase our mood and also hormone growth.
Here’s where you can buy mucuna pruriens.

Another great method for returning balance to the nervous system (and therefore reduce the anxiety that builds up) is through yoga.

How Yoga Helps

Yoga helps to relieve stress by activating the PNS (or the part of the nervous system that manages relaxation). Poses help you do this, and working through them can help you practice how to work through difficult situations in life.

Breath is an integral part of yoga. Through breath control exercises (Pranayama), you can learn to control your body and calm your mind.

Meditation helps you create awareness. Understanding your internal environment helps you work in your external environment. Through meditation you can cultivate internal awareness and be present in your life, which will not only help reduce stress but will help you grow.

What Poses to Do

Any yoga practice should help with reducing stress because it incorporates meditation and breath and pose practice.

However, here are a few of my favorite poses to get you started:

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This pose is very calming. It stretches the back, increasing circulation to your spine, and therefore nervous system. It feels like being in fetal position, which is comforting.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

In this pose your hips are above your heart and head, allowing increased circulation to your brain and your chest. This flow of blood helps calm the brain and nervous system.

Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

This pose stretches the hamstrings and the hips, which are said to store anxiety. Blood flows to the brain and you can release all tension in your upper body as you fold over. Your perspective of life can change when you feel upside down.

Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

Cat Pose gently stretches the back and increases circulation to the spine. It also allows you to connect with the flow of your breath. The connection to your nervous system and inner awareness relieves stress and tension.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Corpse Pose generally ends every yoga practice. In this pose relax your body into the mat, allowing tension to fall away.

Here your breathing will slow as you find stillness. This can be uncomfortable at first, because if you are anxious, this does not come easily.

How to Not Be Anxious about Starting Yoga

Sometimes it is scary to try something new and though yoga is meant to reduce stress and anxiety, you may find trying it out stressful.

In order to limit your first-time jitters remember these things:

  • This is about your journey and personal wellness, so focus on what you want to get out of it.
  • There are many beginner classes and online videos that can guide you through.
  • Everyone starts somewhere. Where you are at this moment is exactly where you are supposed to be.
  • Yoga is a practice and it takes time. Allow yourself to be present in the journey, both with yoga and your life.

Have you tried yoga so far? If not, how can you make it a daily habit and start reducing stress today?

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 6

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

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Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.