With the fast-paced nature of today's world, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of being busy. Wake up, rush out the door, eat on the way to work, work for eight hours, run errands, make dinner, and a million other things. Regardless of how your daily routine plays out, stress is unavoidable. Does this sound like you?
The good news? There are easy ways to help adapt to stress. Finding balance can be as easy as taking a moment for self-care. While self-care looks different for everyone, simple practices that combine yoga and herbs can work symbiotically to help reduce stress and increase well-being. REF#1667
Couple your Daily Herbal Routine with Mindful Self-Care Practices like Yoga
Whether you're new to yoga or have a steady practice, stress still has a way of inviting itself in. The combination of yoga and herbs can make an impact on reducing stress and calming nerves. REF#1667
The ultimate mind-body practice combines physical movement, intentional breathing, lifestyle choices, and yoga. Research has shown that regularly making time for yoga can reduce stress, improve memory and cognitive skills, and support sleep quality. REF#1668
Stress can often get stuck in the body and show up as tension in the jaw, neck, shoulders, and hips. Because stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, it keeps us in flight/fight/freeze mode. The rest-and-digest system (the parasympathetic nervous system) kicks in when the breath is slow and steady. Not only can a yoga practice calm the nervous system, but it can also help you bring awareness back to your body, emotions, and feelings.*
Herbs can act in the same way.
Naturopathic and Ayurvedic medicine both recognize the importance of nourishing the body and mind with herbal medicine and tonics to support overall health and well-being.
These traditional medicine systems use medicinal herbs, including Ginkgo, Kava, and St. John's Wort, to help support the immune system, bolster mental health, and encourage quality of life. These herbs target specific receptors and neurotransmitters, helping support a balanced mood and soothe irritation. REF#1658
Herbal teas, tinctures, and essential oils have been used for centuries to help promote feelings of relaxation and ease feelings of stress. Chamomile, Lavender, and Valerian are three popular herbs for calming the central nervous system. REF#1660 REF#1661 REF#1662
Chamomile tea, for example, is often recommended as a natural sleep aid and can be enjoyed before bed to help promote a restful night's sleep. Lavender and Valerian are also commonly used in supplement form or added to a warm bath for a soothing aromatherapy experience.
While these herbal remedies are generally considered safe and have fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals, speak with a qualified herbalist or healthcare provider before beginning any new herbal regimen. It’s also important to note that some herbs (such as St. John’s Wort) interact with anti-depressants or other medications, so ask your doctor about any contraindications.
Calming Herbs for Stress Relief and How to Incorporate Them Into Your Routine
Ashwagandha for Stress
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an ancient adaptogenic herb used for centuries to help support a healthy stress response and promote feelings of relaxation. REF#1659 It has been shown to support healthy cortisol levels, soothe feelings of anxiety, and support sleep quality. REF#1659
Suggested Uses: Take Ashwagandha Root twice daily to help the body adapt to stress and promote calm and relaxation.* Take two Ashwagandha Gummies once daily as a convenient and delicious way to support a healthy stress response and promote balance and well-being.*
Mindful Moment: After taking a gummy serving (or any time of day when you have a few minutes),take a moment to focus on the present moment. Sit comfortably and close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and exhale slowly. Bring your attention to your senses. Notice the sounds, smells, and sensations around you, and allow yourself to fully experience the present moment without judgment or distraction.
Yoga Practice: Supported fish pose (Matsyasana). This gentle yoga pose can help open the chest and release neck, shoulders, and upper back tension.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place a block or a rolled-up blanket behind you, just below the shoulder blades. Lie back onto the prop and relax your arms by your sides. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths for 1-2 minutes. A supported fish pose can help calm the mind and promote relaxation.*
Lemon Balm for Stress
Studies show that Lemon Balm is effective due to its ability to help support the parasympathetic nervous system. REF#1664 It will help calm frayed nerves and have a soothing impact on the digestive system. REF#1665
Lemon Balm is also well-recognized as an uplifting herb that sweetens the spirit and will help promote a positive daily outlook.*
Mindful Moment: Tea is much more than a drink; it's a multi-sensory experience to cherish. Before your first sip of tea, take a few moments to sit quietly as your teacup warms your hands. Let this be a time to slow down, pause, and observe your surroundings with mindful intention. Close your eyes and inhale Lemon Balm's fragrance. Notice how it smells. Notice how it feels to be present with what's in front of you. Be compassionate with whatever comes up. Know that it's okay to relax in stillness for a moment of Zen.
Yoga Practice: Child's pose (Balasana). After drinking your tea, practice Child's pose. This resting pose gently relaxes the muscles at the front of the body while passively stretching the back, hips, thighs, and ankles. Placing the forehead on the ground signals the parasympathetic nervous system that it's time to relax. Child's pose can have a calming and soothing effect on the brain.*
Holy Basil for Stress
Used for centuries to promote a healthy stress response, Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) nourishes the mind and elevates the spirit.* As a rejuvenating adaptogenic herb, Holy Basil helps restore vitality and promotes long life. REF#1666
Mindful Moment: After taking Holy Basil, go for a walk, preferably in nature, but anywhere will do. Before walking, notice the sensation of your feet on the ground. Bring your awareness to all the subtle senses within your body. Walk slowly, breathe deeply, and pause and observe your surroundings.
Yoga Practice: Ocean breath (Ujjayi breath). This grounding breathwork practice promotes focus and helps calm the body. Ujjayi breathing is also known as the ocean breath because you make an ocean sound by contracting the glottis, the connection between the larynx and vocal cords, through deep inhales and exhales. As you walk, practice Ujjayi breath. Keeping your mouth closed, direct the breath to the back of your throat. On the inhalation, gently constrict your throat. Activate an ocean sound in the back of your throat as you exhale.
Passionflower for Stress
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is an effective but gentle herb that supports relaxation and a deep sense of calm.* Passionflower has been known to support a balanced mood and promote restful sleep. REF#1668
Suggested Uses: Take Emotional Balance™ three times daily. This product is designed to support mental and emotional well-being, combines herbal extracts traditionally used to help the body cope with daily stress, nourish the nervous system, calm the mind, and support a balanced mood.*
Mindful Moment: Write down three things you're grateful for before bed. It could be anything from waking up to the weather to time alone. Instead of going through the motions, take the time to think about what brought you to this moment. Cultivating gratitude has been shown to increase sleep and happiness and reduce stress.
Yoga Practice: Legs-up-the-wall (Viparita Karani). After journaling, practice this yoga pose. You can even practice it in bed. Sit on your bed and bring your right side flush with the wall. Swing your legs up the wall. Stay in this pose for anywhere from 5-20 minutes. When the legs are higher than the heart, the blood and lymphatic fluid can circulate, which can help move stagnant energy, calm the mind, and lead to more restful sleep.
Rhodiola for Stress
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is a powerful adaptogenic herb that can help the body manage stress and supports a sense of calm and focus. It can also support cognitive function, encourage stable energy levels, and ease feelings of fatigue. REF#1663
Mindful Moment: Take a 5-minute break from work or daily tasks and sit in silence. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and exhale slowly. Focus on your breath and let your mind rest for a few minutes. This simple mindfulness exercise can help reduce stress and promote mental clarity.*
Yoga Practice: Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). This pose is a great way to energize your body and release shoulder, neck, and back tension. Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
Lift your hips up and back, straightening your arms and legs to create an inverted V-shape with your body. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, focusing on your breath and allowing your mind to relax. Downward-Facing Dog can help improve circulation and boost energy levels while calming the mind.*
Be Gentle With Yourself
Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you incorporate these calming herbs and self-care practices into your daily life. Remember that it's always okay to take your time and go slowly. Doing so will help you reduce your day-to-day stress over time.
- 1. Johns Hopkins Medicine, "9 Benefits of Yoga", . https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/9-benefits-of-yoga 1 1. Johns Hopkins Medicine, "9 Benefits of Yoga", . https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/9-benefits-of-yoga