For many people, stress is part and parcel of life.
Regardless if it’s in the workplace, at home, or in the classroom, many people often deal with stress on a day-to-day basis.
In the workplace alone, there is this so-called Monday cardiac phenomenon.
The fact that heart attacks and other related events occur mostly on Mondays as opposed to other days of the week has been attributed primarily to workplace stress.
Some surveys on stress have proved quite alarming, with the American Psychological Association reporting the average American’s stress level at 4.9 out of 10.
And that’s regardless of income, occupation, and age.
While the figures fluctuate every now and then, many people are still believed to deal with stress beyond what is considered healthy.
Fortunately, when it comes to reducing stress and calming the mind, yoga is considered in a league all its own.
Regardless of what’s stressing you (read: taxing office deadlines, non-stop family activities or a hectic school routine), yoga might be just be the ally you are looking for.
Below are some of the ways yoga can help dramatically keep stress at bay:
Meditation is considered by many to be an integral part of the yoga practice.
Essentially, meditation can help you stay in the present moment thereby becoming more mindful.
While not everyone may be aware of it, staying in the present can help significantly improve both your mental and emotional state.
Some of the peerless physical benefits of meditation are:
- It helps lower blood pressure.
- It helps lower the level of lactic acid (otherwise known as blood lactate) and in the process minimizing the occurrence of anxiety attacks.
- It helps prevent the occurrence of pains and aches related to tension like insomnia, ulcers, joint and muscle problems, and headaches.
- It helps improve the both behavior and mood by increasing the production of serotonin.
- It helps improve immune system function.
- It helps increase the energy level as the individual will have access to an inner energy source.
On the emotional level, some of the benefits of meditation include:
- It helps enhance emotional stability and decrease anxiety.
- It increases overall happiness and enhances creativity.
- It helps the individual develop an intuition that is stronger.
- It helps the practitioner develop clarity and peace of mind.
- It helps put problems, worries, and other concerns into perspective.
While not everyone may be aware of it, in the ancient discipline that is yoga, not all poses have been created equal.
Some poses have been designed to help develop and foster flexibility and strength.
Some are created to fit the practitioner’s level of fitness.
Others have been designed with targeting and significantly reducing stress in mind.
Regardless of the purpose, most yoga poses have been created to help promote relaxation through deliberate body stretches, gentle movements, and the restoration and calming of the mind.
Some of the well-known yoga poses that are known to provide significant stress reducing benefits include:
Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This pose begins on the knees and the hands.
Start by pointing the fingers to the mat’s top, spreading the fingers and making sure the weight is evenly distributed.
As you exhale, tuck the toes and lift the knees off the floor.
Bring your body into an “A” by reaching your pelvis up (toward the ceiling) while straightening the legs and drawing your sit bones toward the mat’s back.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
To execute this pose, the practitioner will bend forward with their arms above their head while sitting on the knees.
The practitioner then observes proper breathing techniques while resting the forehead on the ground.
Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
When executing this pose, you should be at least 5 to 6 inches away from the wall and using a folded blanket or cushion for support.
Sit sideways on the support’s right side, ensuring your side is against the wall.
With the head and shoulders lightly down on the floor, swing the legs up on the wall.
The lower back should be resting on the support.
The sitting bones should be dipped down into the space in between the wall and the support and the hands should be laid at the side.
In essence, yoga teaches that controlling the breath can also help quite the mind and control the body.
When being able to focus on each moment and each breath, you are able to stay in the present.
In other words, you forget about past mistakes and past regrets and you are also not in the future which means you are free from worries and anxieties in terms of what the future will bring.
You stay in the moment and focus on the now which is where you should be.
Think back to the past 24 hours.
Were you sweating about things you need to accomplish, future plans you need to figure out, and things you need to check off your bucket list?
Are you feeling frustrated, agitated, anxious, and restless?
Are you managing your stress effectively?
If you are looking to commit to a lifestyle that is more balanced, experience enhanced mental focus and clarity, enjoy improved well-being, and keep stress at bay, it is time to add yoga into your daily routine.
Regardless if you’re a newbie yoga practitioner or a seasoned yogi, the benefits yoga offers are here to stay and will only get better as your practice grows.