How to find balance after a long day at work and chai tea recipe

We all know the feeling after a long day at work. Whether your job requires that you sit still for many hours at a desk, or sweat away with physical labor, the mind, as well as the body, is affected. Your thoughts might be spinning, your muscles feel tight and tired, and meditation can seem like a foreign concept, close to impossible to master. There are many techniques you can use to counteract this stress and slow down for the evening, here are a few of my favorite routines. 

1. Take a conscious walk. Gentle movement in nature does wonders. Feel every step you take, listen to your breathing and become aware of your body and surroundings. 

2. Get a new perspective with an inversion. Inversions are excellent ways to shift your perspective and help you focus on your bodily sensations, rather than your spinning head. If you don't have a personal inversion practice yet (or if you're on your moon time) try the legs up the wall pose. Here's how:

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  • Sit with your right hip closely facing a wall. Lower your back down alongside the wall and turn your feet up in the air. Use your hands and arms for support.
  • Spin around so your legs can come up the wall and your torso turns away from the wall. (Use your elbows to lift your buttocks up and move your hips near the wall if you've slid out.)
  • Place your feet face straight up in the air and place your arms relaxed by your side or up above your head. Stay for 20 breaths. After, you have the option to move your arms and open up different parts of your shoulders or let the soles of your feet turn in toward each other and let the knees open out to the sides. This is baddha konasana.
  • Stay in your next variation up to 10 minutes, but for at least 20 breaths. Your drishti, or gaze, is up to the ceiling.
  • To come out, bend your knees into your chest and roll over to your right side. Stay here for another 10-20 breaths and then gently use your hands to push yourself up to sitting.

3. Breathe. Breathing exercises are powerful tools to calm your mind. Breathing long and conscious breaths is a great way to find calm. Find a comfortable seated position and let your hands lie relaxed on your knees, palms face up. Spend a few minutes focusing on your breath and bodily sensations. Where in your body can you feel the breath?

4. Have a cup of calming chai. I have a tendency to start snacking when I get home. Sometimes it’s because it's not yet time for dinner, or I simply feel like eating because I'm tired and need energy. This delicious chai tea is simple to make once you have all the spices at home and holds me over until it' time to eat. 

Chai tea
Serves 2

    2 star anise
    1/2 cinnamon stick
    2 cardamom seeds
    2 black peppercorns
    3 cloves
    A bit of fresh grated ginger
 

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Boil all the spices in 1 ½ cups of water for about 5 minutes.
Add 1½ cups of milk of your choice (from an Ayurvedic perspective organic, raw, whole milk is best or almond milk) and bring to a simmer again.
Serve with a bit of honey added at the end (never cook honey as it becomes toxic) for a warming effect, maple syrup for a more cooling effect.
Enjoy in your favorite place before you move into the evening with a clearer mind.

Lisa Åkesson Stryker