Maria Teresa’s Top Tips for Relaxation
f there were a single cure for stress, it would be My SachaJi. Imbued with natural energy from the San Pablo Lake and Imbabura volcano, the wellness ecolodge near Otavalo Indian market feels like it’s encased in its own cocoon of calm, where time seems to operate at a different frequency and breathing becomes more natural.
But for those who can’t shoot to the Ecuadorian Andes the moment they need to chill out, there are simple techniques you can try at home to reach tranquility, and in doing so alleviate health complications associated with stress including high blood pressure, heart problems, and insomnia. My SachaJi’s owner and founder Maria Teresa Ponce gives her top tips to relax your mind, body and soul, the My SachaJi way.
- Eat an organic celery soup at night. The crunchy vegetable not only relaxes the nervous system and enlarges blood vessels to reduce blood pressure; it also contains magnesium that helps you to fall asleep making it one of the most effective calming foods for stress.
- Massages of all kinds can help you to unwind. At My SachaJi, we have designed a Relax & De-stress treatment to dissolve tensions in your body and help your mind enter a state of peace and acceptance. After the therapy, we serve you a personalized organic herbal tea as you look out over the rippling lake and powerful mountain.
- For instant calm, lavender is great when used in teas and infusions at night. At My SachaJi you can buy lavender pillows made by women in the local community, using the herb grown in our own garden.
- Yoga has dozens of mental and physical benefits, from lowering blood pressure to improving respiration, energy and vitality. Poses that are aimed particularly at the nervous system are triangle pose and breath of fire, a regular breath pumped through the nose with even weight on the inhale and exhale, no deeper than sniffing. For a relaxing yoga pose before bed, you can also try bridge position to promote a good night’s sleep.
- There are several breathing techniques to help your mind and body quiet down. One is to breathe through the left nostril (blocking the right), which relaxes the body. The “breath of life” also helps to relax and calm anxiety: inhale slowly through the nose, hold the breath in, and then exhale through the nose. The idea is that each element of the exercise takes the same amount of time, around 20 seconds.
- Hydrotherapy in a Jacuzzi is a delicious way to soothe body and soul. Feel gratitude and deep relaxation washing away tensions in My SachaJi’s hot tub, watching the colours changing over San Pablo Lake at sunset. When used in combination with the adjacent polar plunge pool, the benefits include boosted energy levels, increased circulation, detox, and improvement of the nervous system.
- Almost all mantras have a relaxing effect. Maria Teresa uses one mantra to calm the mind in particular called Dhan Dhan. The version that she uses during the relaxation in yoga classes is one that also cleanses the subconscious during sleep. “What mantras do is to change the vibration both within and around the person,” she explains. “When you recite a mantra, points of the palate are activated and they send a message to the brain.” As well as relaxation, mantras have specific objectives like prosperity, health, or protection.
- Direct contact with nature significantly reduces stress and can help you to cope better with pain. Whether you go all out getting lost in a forest or just manage a stroll around your local park, the scent of soil, the sound of the wind rustling through leaves, the vision of luscious green will help melt the stress away and leave you feeling calm and balanced.