Tag Archives: stress relief

Stress Relieving Breathing Techniques

With all of the holiday hustle and bustle, sometimes we forget to do something really important – breathe! iGnite Leader, Paula Harnish shows us how to to relieve stress through a simple seated breathing pattern.  Keep yourself centered this holiday season by taking just a few minutes each day to do this exercise.

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Celebrate the Magic of Nature


Point to Ponder:
How often do you spend time alone outdoors and in nature?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Despite being raised in a rural community in Texas and surrounded by fields of grass, corn, cotton, wheat and maize, it wasn’t until I attended the University of Texas that I realized my love and deep need for nature. As almost anyone who lives or has lived in Austin experiences, at some point or another, Town Lake (a.k.a. Lade Bird Lake) becomes the treasured best friend who hears our prayers, absorbs our tears, and celebrates our accomplishments. While on my runs, she was always part of the cleansing, healing and restorative process that my body, mind and spirit needed. Not only did my time with her boost my confidence, but spending time in and around always enhanced the clarity of my thoughts and vision. In fact, I never left her without a problem solved and/or solution in hand. And, while I knew how much I loved and needed her, it was until I moved to New York City and didn’t have her at my fingertips that I longed for her.

As the quote in the pictures says, Mother Nature has the power to please, calm, comfort and nurture, and in my opinion, she has infinite healing powers too. I believe we have an intrinsic need for her in our daily lives, which is why when I founded iGnite ten years ago, one of our core principles was outdoor group fitness. Over time, and as a result of wanting to grow with our members and provide optimal class experiences, our outdoor-only model shifted to offering indoor classes as well. This is not to say that we didn’t try offering every possible class outdoors, because we did. This included year round outdoor yoga, Pilates and even dance. For example, through trial and error, we quickly found out that yoga at 6:00 a.m. and in 35 degree temperatures was counterproductive. I should’ve known that the body would have a difficult time loosening up while shivering, and despite wearing layers of clothes, gloves and shoes, not being able to feel your fingers or toes makes balancing and downward dog extremely difficult. Thinking back, it seems completely absurd that I ever thought that yoga under such conditions would work, but we were committed to all that Mother Nature had to offer us. And, while offering year round yoga and some of the other classes in nature isn’t ideal (at least in Austin), Mother Nature never disappointed. She was and is consistently consistent with showing off her magic!

As we continue to celebrate iGnite’s tenth birthday, this week I invite you to celebrate the magic of nature and enjoy her life-giving gifts by spending a minimum of five minutes outdoors everyday, alone, and without any device or technology. Just like taking a screaming baby outside immediately soothes he or she, we are no different. Our time in nature is equivalent to pushing the reset button for our mind and spirit, and whether your time is experiencing a sunrise, sunset, the fall foliage, walking barefoot in grass, sitting near a body of water, hiking in the mountains, listening to the birds or going for a walk or jog, it is all grounding and the perfect solution to a busy mind and unsettled spirit. All in all, it’s a very cheap and simple solution that we all need to include in our daily routines.

Finally, in the event you need more evidence why time in nature is essential, check out scientific proven benefits from an article in Business Insider. I don’t know about you, but I could use some serious short-term memory help!!!

  • Improved short-term memory
  • Restored mental energy
  • Stress relief
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Better vision
  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper thinking and creativity
  • Possible anti-cancer effects
  • Immune system boost
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced risk of early death

Action Item:
Each day this week, spend at least five minutes in nature alone and without technology.

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4 Moves to Release Tension in the Neck & Shoulders Using a Tennis Ball

If we feel tight or tense anywhere, it’s often in our neck, shoulders and upper back. Yoga leaders Amy Younkman and Cary Fyfe share 4 fantastic and easy ways you can use simple tennis balls to release that tension from the comfort of your own home or even while traveling.


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How We’re Simplifying Our Lives in 2015


“The more you have, the more you are occupied.
The less you have, the more free you are.”
-Mother Theresa

It’s never a bad idea to simplify. But exactly how to simplify? Now that’s another story. Our team shares the small ways they are choosing to simplify their daily lives this year.

Simplify… Your Time

by Sha Klatt


On the day of my annual doctor’s check-up, I schedule my appointment for the first thing in the morning. I fast the night before so that I can also get any bloodwork done right afterwards, and then I have my mammogram scheduled for right after so I get it all done in one morning!



I do two things: I say “no, thank you!” when my PERSONAL schedule is full, and I have a fun little tool that shouts at me if I try to replace my happy time with something less happy. My tool is a colorful little schedule that I created, and it sits where I can see it, all bright and loud. It’s all self-assured and happy, so thrilled that it’s not saturated with stress…it’s like a pretty new piece of jewelry and I love it so much.

photo-373In the happy color areas of chosen activities (family, yoga, teaching, my horse, Newt) I can’t add anything else in.  It’s CLOSED. I CAN’T. Those areas are sacred and content with who they are and what’s going on in them. And the set-in-stone colors keep me from over-scheduling and getting in over my head, with no down time for me and my family at all.  So say “no, thank you” and make a pretty, colorful schedule!



I have found 2 things that save SO me much time by not having to come home and shower between every workout I teach. I LOVE my new hair straightener that plugs into my car lighter from Amazon and lavender body wipes from Amazon.  After I teach a class, in my car I take a “shower” with my lavender wipe and plug in my straightener, which heats up in 7 seconds, and straighten that ponytail dent right out.  I LOVE THESE TWO AMAZING TIME SAVERS IN MY LIFE!!!  One shower at night and SO much more time during the day smelling and looking good in 30 seconds!



I was once told to use the time I spend waiting for my car to fill up at the gas station to clean out my car. I have done it ever since and it makes a huge difference in the clutter in my car!  I mean, why not? I’m there waiting anyways!



Dry hair shampoo!  It takes me so long to blow dry and flat iron my hair, and on the days when I don’t sweat as much…just spray your roots and go!

Simplify… Your Home



I’ve compiled my own ‘simplify’ list with the help of Deepak Chopra…
– Reduce the clutter.
– Turn off the TV.
– Stop junk mail.
– When you bring in something new, get rid of something old.
– Get rid of all but one credit card.



Make kids’ lunches during dinner clean-up: We have a system where my kids make their own lunches for the next day immediately after our family dinner during “kitchen clean-up” (with a little help/guidance with food selection/balance from me).
…. I realized about a year ago that every evening, after I’d clean the kitchen post-dinner (no easy task when feeding a family of 7!), then help the kids finish homework and get ready for school the next day, we’d return to the kitchen to make lunches and make a huge mess again. So, making lunches right after dinner means only one evening kitchen clean-up instead of two, and also the kids often pack “dinner leftovers” and save me the work of packaging and storing what’s left of the dinner. 🙂

Simplify… Your Work Load



Something I was taught in professional coaching with Martha Lynn Mangum that has definitely simplified my life is: each Friday, from 11-12 I review the week that I’m wrapping up, determine what needs to translate into the following week, create a “dump list’ based on everything I need to accomplish for the following week, then I organize the upcoming week and enter it all into my calendar. This activity has single handedly allowed me to feel free throughout the weekend. My brain isn’t full of everything I need to do and I can actually enjoy my weekends much more and don’t feel distracted by my work to-do list. And, of course it’s made me much more organized, effective and efficient!

Simplify…Your Daily Habits



Do one thing at a time.
Don’t be a slave to your phone.
Get up 20 minutes earlier to set your day and not be rushed.
Go to bed earlier.
Slow down to the posted speed limit.
Make water your drink of choice.

Simplify… Your Finances



My husband and I are frugal and always save, but we’d like to be more aware of where all of our money is being spent and follow a budget that works for us. We’ve decided to simplify this “big process” by using an online course to help us categorize where it is going. The course is called Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I’m looking forward to simplifying our budget in 2015!

Simplify… Your Emotions



Steer clear of toxic energy and relationships.

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De-stress & Detox with Epsom Salt Baths


Epsom Salts

In iGnite, we facilitate a 7-day “healthy re-boot” twice a year to cleanse the body and mind so that you feel rejuvenated and energized. One of the essential components of this “re-boot” is Epsom Salt baths — here’s why:

The Purpose:

Hot water draws toxins out of the body to the skin’s surface, and while the water cools it pulls toxins from the skin. When Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin in a bath, it helps to draw toxins from the body, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles and de-inflames while improving mineral and sulfur balance in the body.

Additional Benefits:

Magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin and into the body’s blood stream. The skin is a highly porous membrane that both takes in minerals and eliminates toxins every day. Using a powerful mineral base such as Epsom salts in a bathwater medium creates a process called reverse osmosis. This process pulls salt and harmful toxins out of the body and allows the magnesium and sulfates to enter into the body.

Magnesium plays a critical role in over 325 enzymes, helps to improve muscle and nerve function, reduces inflammation and improves blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body. Sulfates are necessary building blocks for healthy joints, skin and nervous tissue. Epsom salts replenish the body’s magnesium levels and sulfates. This combination helps to flush toxins from the body and helps build key protein molecules in the brain tissue and joints.

*Contraindications to Epsom baths would be if you are pregnant, dehydrated or have open wounds or burns on your skin. Individuals who are suffering with cardiovascular disease should always consult with a natural health physician who is familiar with the health benefits of Epsom salt baths before starting*

The Goal:

Pour 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt in a bath and soak for 40 minutes, 3 times per week.
Ideal: 20 minutes to remove the toxins, and for the second 20 minutes, the body absorbs the minerals in the bath water.


In the event you begin to suffer from flu-like symptons, you can get some relief by taking baths using epsom salts (1 to 2 cups) and baking soda (1 cup) in a tub of water and soaking for 20 minutes (soak- ing for more than 20 minutes may cause you to get too exhausted). On off days, you can put 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in the tub and soak.


Interested in participating in our “healthy re-boot”?
Materials are available for purchase year-round, simply shoot us an email at hello@igniteyourlifenow.com and we’ll set you up! 


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Yoga Poses to Relieve Tension in the Neck, Shoulders & Spine

Because many of us store  tension in our necks, shoulders and backs, it is crucial to know what we can do to help relieve that tension and physical stress in a safe and healthy way. Whether you spend your days sitting at a desk, running kids around, driving in the car, or however — take the time to do these moves a couple times a week and watch the tension begin to fade!

Poses demonstrated by iGnite yoga instructor Amy Younkman

Join us for an iGnite yoga class on the lake Fridays at 6:00am and 8:30am! View our class schedule here

1. Cat/Cow Pose

Cat/Cow Pose

  • BENEFITS: This pose is beneficial for warming up the spine and stretching the torso and neck while focusing on deeply inhaling and exhaling. It is a great first exercise to begin to tune into the breath, bring suppleness to the spine and create awareness of where you are holding tension. Focus on the breath, each time trying to go a little deeper.
  • TRY IT! Step 1: Start on all fours in table top position, lining up wrists and knees and keeping your spine and head in a neutral position. Step 2: On the inhale, draw your chest and tailbone up to the sky, allowing your belly to sink down and your eyes to look straight ahead. Step 3: On the exhale, reverse the tilt of your pelvis by curling your tailbone down and rounding your spine toward the sky as you release your head towards the floor. Repeat several times.

2. Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

  • BENEFITS: Great for stretching the chest, neck and spine while calming the mind and stimulating the abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid. Bridge is a great release for the low back while energizing the legs and stretching the iliopsoas and thighs.
  • TRY IT! Step 1: While lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet hip distance apart, about 8 – 10″ from your sit bones. Step 2: Press your feet and arms actively into the floor and lift your hips, keeping your knees directly over your heels. Step 3: Draw your sternum towards your chin and try clasping your hands and reaching your fingers and tailbone towards your heels, creating length in the neck and broadening across the front of the chest.

3. Reclined Abdominal Twist

Reclined Abdominal Twist

  • BENEFITS: Stretches the lower back and tones the abdominals while stretching and strengthening the abductors and obliques. Twists aid digestion, improve breathing and ease back and neck tension.
  • TRY IT! Step 1: Bend both knees into chest, tuck the chin in slightly and gently push the lower back and sacrum toward the floor. Step 2: Extend your arms out to the side in touchdown position, palms facing up. Step 3: On an inhalation, pin your inner thighs and knees together. Step 4: On an exhalation, lower both knees to the right, twisting through the abdomen as you turn your head and look to the left. Try to keep your shoulder blades looped down your back pressing towards the ground. Step 5: On the inhalation, return the knees and head to center. Step 6: On the next exhalation, lower your legs to the left as you turn your head to the right. Inhale and return the knees and head to center. Repeat 2 – 3 times.

4. Forward Fold with Arms Washing Overhead

Forward Fold

  • BENEFITS: Calms the brain, helps relieve stress in the neck and shoulders, stimulates the liver and kidneys, releases the low back and stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips.
  • TRY IT! Step 1: Clasp your hands behind your back, draw your shoulder blades down your back, broaden across the chest, and reach her knuckles down towards the ground as you straighten your arms. (You can also clasp a belt or towel behind your back if your shoulders are tight.) Step 2: On an inhalation, lift your clasped hands up behind you and begin to fold forward, bending from the hip joints, not from the waist. Step 3: Release your head towards the ground and melt your chest towards your thighs. Keep a gentle bend to your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Step 4: Let your extended arms wash overhead. With each inhale, try to expand and lengthen; with each exhale, try to relax and soften deeper into the pose. Stay here for 8 – 10 breaths.