How Yoga Can Help Reduce Stress

Stress is ever present. Fortunately, we've got yoga, which is considered by many to be the oldest defined practice of self-development with it dating back over 5,000 years. The methods of yoga include physical postures and stretching, breathing techniques, and meditation. All of which are proven to help reduce stress and the health effects it causes. 

The best part? You don't need any prior experience to benefit from the practice of yoga. And whether you are at home, the gym or somewhere in between, yoga can always here to help you relax. Many studies have found that yoga can minimise stress and increase productivity, because, aside from the physical benefits that yoga brings, it encourages a good mood.

Many of the popular techniques found to reduce stress derive from yoga:
  • Controlled breathing
  • Meditation
  • Physical movement
  • Mental imagery
  • Stretching

What Is Involved With Yoga?
So, the practice of yoga involves stretching the body on a yoga mat and forming different poses and positions whilst keeping your breathing slow and controlled throughout. The body becomes relaxed and energised at the same time and this can be a big stress buster. 

There are various styles of yoga. Some can be more energetic, moving through the poses more quickly almost like an aerobic workout, and there are also other styles  which are about relaxing deeply into each pose. Some can have a more spiritual angle, while others are used purely as a form of exercise. It’s a case of trying them out and seeing which suits you best. 

Clearing the Mind
Our minds are constantly active which is usually where all the stress comes about. We can be racing from one thought to another, spinning plates in our mind, thinking about scenarios in the future, and even dwelling on past incidents. When you have stress from all of these aspects, it can become a burden and really bring you down. 

Yoga offers several techniques for calming the mind. One is breath work, which is about focusing on that one breath in the moment. You aren’t focusing on the past or future, but exactly in the moment you are in. Focusing on each inhale and exhale rather than other things that are happening in your life. In addition to breathing techniques, the performance of yoga poses also acts as a form of meditation. The poses can be so physical, done with such concentration, that all other thoughts and worries are put to the side. Again, making you focus on just this one moment, putting all other thoughts to the side. 

If you go to a yoga class, or just do it at home by yourself, it’s important to end each yoga session with five to ten minutes relaxing in corpse pose which is called Savasana. While this enforced relaxation can be difficult at first and sometimes can feel a little awkward if you’ve not done it before, eventually it serves the purpose of a total release for both your body and mind. 

How to Get Started
Yoga classes can be wonderful for beginners as you will be surrounded by others of all levels of expertise and ability who can help guide you through your journey. It will give you the ease of knowing that you will have someone talking you through the process and helping you to learn the correct forms, making sure you’re doing everything right and the correct poses. 

Aside from taking a class though, I find yoga at home even more refreshing for me, as I can just focus on myself. No one else there. Just me, in that moment. There are several useful apps that can help you with yoga, or even YouTube can bring up some great videos to help you start your journey. All you need to start your yoga journey at home is a yoga mat or even a funky beach towel, a quiet house, and some loose clothes to make moving into poses easy. 

Remember, yoga is a science and has many systems and ways to help you relax and reduce stress. And so, if the physical practice isn't enjoyable for you, then there are other options such as meditation which you can try instead. 

1 comment:

  1. Mind and body are intertwined. If your body is well-balanced, your mind will also be in balance. Zen meditation can help you to make your mind fresh.

    Kevin | modernzen.org