Expert Ways to De-Stress
Brian Collins used to charge hundreds of dollars and hour, but now you can get his advice for free on Facebook.
This is not your mother’s meditation. Brian Collins called himself the ”Irish Kahuna” of Boston. For more than 15 years, he broke stereotypes of how a “healer” should act, look, and behave. He was known to shock his clients by the repeated use of F-bombs during sessions. Collins is a spiritual healer and all around hilarious guy. His former clients say he cured their migraines, and through guided meditations, he was known to de-stress some of Boston’s busiest professionals. He used to charge hundreds of dollars an hour for his services, but in 2012 decided to change course, and now, through his alter ego, the Rabid Monk, he uses Facebook to offer his services for free. Currently the co-owner of Life in Synergy in the Back Bay, Collins spoke to us about how we can relax, even on the busiest of days.
Use Olfactory stimulation
“Take a moment to stop and smell the___________( fill in aroma). The limbic system in the brain is responsible for memory and feeling. Aromas can greatly alter the way this part of ’the emotional brain’ reacts,” Collins says. “Certain external energetic signatures can truly relax the body within a few simple sniffs. Sandalwood, rose, and cedar are a few that can place you in a state of calm. Simply purchase an essential oil and inhale the relaxation at the end of your work day by adding a few drops to a bath or simply smell the fragrance from the bottle.”
Never heard of Wu Chi? Neither had we. It’s the standing posture before you begin Tai Chi. “This easy, yet highly effective stance helps to redirect all the ‘over think’ energy that accumulates and rises up during the day. It brings you back to center so that you can unwind,” Collins says. Here’s how to do it:
1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
2. Soften knees.
3. Place your hands on the sides of your legs with palms touching your outer thigh.
4. While palms are against thighs, just lift the fingers off your thigh while keeping your palm connected to your thigh (tip: just think you are peeking at your nails to see if they look okay.)
5. With shoulders relaxed, stay in this position for two minutes, breathing normally.
6. At the end of two minutes, take your hands off your legs and rub them together to make them warm and place your warm hands over your face.
This will bring you to what Collins calls, “relaxation town.”
“Sit in a chair with spinal cord straight, then take one deep cleansing inhale and then exhale. Close your eyes and with your inner sense, feel any area(s) of tension. Is your neck stiff? Low back perhaps? If so, while keeping your mind focused on the point, take a deep inhale and hold for five seconds, then exhale and hold for five seconds, and repeat,” he says. “Focus on the point of stress only for up to 10 rounds of breathing.”
Let the stress vice let go.
“Sitting in a chair, make two tight fists. Squeeze very hard and keep shoulders relaxed. Hold this squeeze for five to 10 seconds. Then open your palms towards the floor,” Collins says. “Do this exercise five times, it will help burn out any excess body tension.”
Nothingness for two minutes.
“One of the hardest things to do is nothing, but the state of nothingness is an amazing state to achieve. With all the running around, emails, cell phones, text messages, etc. we are in a constant state of ‘do’ or getting ready to ‘do’,” Collins says. “This exercise may seem very simple, but is very profound for it’s ability to relax your internal energy.”
How to do nothing (yes, you read that right):
1. Sit or lay down.
2. Place your tongue just behind your teeth near the gum line (just softly, don’t press hard).
3. Close your eyes.
4. Allow your gaze to softly float up towards your eyebrows (keep eyes closed).
5. Breathe normal for two minutes.
6. Then lower your gaze (eyes still are closed).
7. Remove your tongue.
8. Open your eyes.
9. Smile at the nothingness you just had.