A lot of people turn to Yoga for several reasons, whether to cope with life’s ups and downs, enjoyment, or stress management. Yoga is a very good practice to relieve your stress. It offers relaxation, proper breathing exercises, and different kinds of positions for flexibility.
Many of the popular techniques found to reduce stress derive from yoga:
- controlled breathing
- physical movement
- mental imagery
Yoga, which derives its name from the word, “yoke”—to bring together—does just that, bringing together the mind, body and spirit. But whether you use yoga for spiritual transformation or for stress management and physical well-being, the benefits are numerous.
Yoga’s Effects On the Body:
The following is only a partial list of yoga’s benefits:
- You can reduce stress.
- You may have sound sleep.
- You can reduce cortisol levels
- It can ensure improvement of many medical conditions.
- It gives allergy and asthma symptom relief.
- It ensures lower blood pressure
- It helps you in giving up smoking.
- It ensures lower heart rate.
- It helps you in your spiritual growth.
- With it, you can feel sense of well-being.
- It will reduce anxiety and muscle tension
- It increases strength and flexibility
- With it you can have slow aging process
Yoga’s benefits are so numerous; it gives a high payoff for the amount of effort involved.
What Are The Benefits Of Yoga?:
Virtually everyone can see physical benefits from yoga, and its practice can also give psychological benefits, such as stress reduction and a sense of well-being, and spiritual benefits, such as a feeling of connectedness with God or Spirit, or a feeling of transcendence. Certain poses can be done just about anywhere and a yoga program can go for hours or minutes, depending on one’s schedule.
What Are the Drawbacks of Yoga?:
Yoga does require some commitment of time and is more difficult for people with certain physical limitations. Some people feel self-conscious doing some of the poses. Also, yoga classes can be expensive, although it is possible, albeit perhaps more challenging, to learn from a book or video.
What’s Involved With Yoga?:
The practice of yoga involves stretching the body and forming different poses, while keeping breathing slow and controlled. The body becomes relaxed and energized at the same time. There are various styles of yoga, some moving through the poses more quickly, almost like an aerobic workout, and other styles relaxing deeply into each pose. Some have a more spiritual angle, while others are used purely as a form of exercise.
How Does It Compare To Other Stress Reduction Methods?:
Compared to other stress reduction methods, like taking pills or herbs, yoga requires commitment and effort. Yoga combines several techniques used for stress reduction. The practice of yoga can be said to give the combined benefits of breathing and stretching exercises, fitness regimen, meditation, and directed imagery in a single technique.
But if you think you are one of those with great physical restrictions, simple meditation, breathing work outs and directed imagery might be a more preferable alternative but can still provide the same benefits.
Yoga techniques work at an individual and collective level to endure that there is significant relief from the condition of extreme stress.
As yoga combines several techniques used for stress reduction, it can be said to provide the combined benefits of breathing exercises, stretching exercises, fitness programs, meditation practice, and guided imagery, in one technique. However, for those with great physical limitations, simple breathing exercises, meditation or guided imagery might be a preferable option and provide similar benefits. Yoga also requires more effort and commitment than taking pills or herbs for stress reduction.
The techniques and practices of Yoga can help in relieving the physical and psychological negative effects from stress. Yoga can cause positive effect to the nervous system and aid in lowering blood pressure and heartbeat.
Knowing The Enemy And Understanding The Body
Before starting to practice Yoga, you must first be aware of the stressful stimuli to determine what you are fighting. Understanding the enemy is a vital factor in combat and in understanding the factors that caused your stress can aid you decide on how it needs to be engaged.
Yoga enables and allows you to control the natural and instant reactions to the cause of stress. This will soon lead to a situation wherein no matter what challenges you encounter; you will be able to remain calm, composed and be capable of battling the situation with a level head.
The practice of yoga includes different body postures, slow stretching movements, and breathing exercises that can lead to relaxation and deep contemplation. These techniques are designed for the purpose of higher awareness of what is happening to you when you are stressed. You can develop a deeper understanding of the body by paying attention to each and every part.
Who, Where, What And How?
Even children experience stress but it is not advisable to introduce children younger than 7 or 8 to yoga. Bodies of young children are still developing and they should never be forced to yoga as it can damage their spine and other joints. There is also no upper age limit and you can never be too old to learn yoga.
Yoga practices can be done anywhere. Beginners are advised to attend as much classes as possible to benefit advice from teachers. There are several gyms that offer yoga practices. Although if you think you are ready to do basic yoga practices at home, you must first gather some of the basic equipments to do so.
Yoga mats provide cushioning and traction. Many of these mats are made from synthetic materials, although there are natural rubber mats available. Yoga mats can cost as little as $20 and it is nice to have one since mats offered from some yoga studios can get a bit dirty.
Another versatile yoga prop is the yoga blanket, which can be sat upon to elevate hips above the knees in seated positions and can keep you warm during last relaxation. The yoga blocks are great for standing poses in which one hand is on the floor.
The yoga straps, also called yoga belts are helpful for bound postures if your hands cannot reach each other. They are also useful for positions that require you to cling onto your feet but cannot grasp them.
Additionally, you can learn yoga poses from videos and DVDs available for purchase.
Certain yogic techniques to combat stress
1. Breathing Techniques helps relax and learn the various types of Pranayama. It can be done either lying down or sitting posture to ensure rhythmic breathing in and out. It trains the respiratory organs to cope-up with technique of breathing.
Procedure : Either in lying or sitting posture, close the eyes, place one palm or abdomen, absorb the breathing the abdomen should raise (bloat) when you breath & suck in where you breath out 3-5 rounds. Same 3-5 rounds placing the palm on chest & at throat.
2. AUM chanting-mentally & loudly.
3. Relaxing joint exercises – slow breath awareness do the all round joint movements from neck, shoulders, elbow, wrist, fingers, spinal stretching, knee movements, ankle movements/stretches.
4. Instant relaxation technique – lie down comfortably on a carpet bring legs together, hands by the side of thighs. Now tighten one by one consciously & quickly the ankle, calf muscles, knee joints, thighs, buttocks, low back, abdomen, chest, neck, back of neck, facial muscles, hold the breath, tighten the whole body & let loose the whole body at a stretch and relax. Deep breathing.
Relaxation Exercises, Practicing Yoga and meditation, Acquiring problem solving skills, Developing hobbies (Listening to music), Positive thinking, Social support, Physical activity can also help you in controlling your stress.
In stress management, you can have the following yogic work-outs:
- Ptranayan : Naadi Shudhi, Ujjayee, Bramharee
You may please avoid tobacco & alcohol. Be active. Eat right. You will be successful in stress management through Yoga.
Be Happy – Apply Yoga in Stress Management.