Whether it’s tightness in the shoulders or a tension headache, physical discomfort is one of the hallmark symptoms of stress and anxiety. Yoga offers a safe, effective, and non-invasive way to manage stress and relieve pain in the body.
Chronic stress can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, sleep disorders and digestion issues. Here’s how a regular yoga practice can help you reduce stress, one deep breath at a time:
1. Deep Breathing
We’ve all heard it: “just take a deep breath.” But there is real science behind this cliche, and breathing techniques have been used as tools of stress reduction for thousands of years. In yoga, breathing exercises called pranayama are a key part of the practice.
When stressed, the body reacts as if you’re in physical danger and goes into its “fight-or-flight” response: your heart pounds, your palms sweat, your breath quickens, and adrenaline rushes through you. This is a normal, protective reaction to help us survive in dangerous situations like being chased by a bear, but it can be overused and feel out of our control.
Deep breathing slows the breath to calm the nervous system and promotes relaxation by helping you breathe from your diaphragm instead of your upper chest. Try sitting comfortably and placing your hands on your belly and chest, feeling them move as you breathe in and out. You can practice 4-7-8 breathing, or other rhythmic breathing, to relax your entire body.
When you practice yoga, you are encouraged to focus on the present moment. This mindfulness practice helps to reduce anxiety by keeping your thoughts focused on the here and now, removing them from worrying about future events or replaying past ones.
Yoga also involves physical movement, which can help to alleviate stress and tension in the body. For instance, if you feel tension in your shoulders from hunching over a computer all day, practicing a shoulder opener such as a child’s pose will help to release that tension.
When combined with other healthy habits such as proper diet, exercise, talk therapy and strong sleep hygiene, yoga can be a powerful tool for relieving stress and maintaining a sense of overall wellness. To make the most of your calming yoga classes in Plano, it’s important to create a serene practice space, and make sure those around you know that this is your time to relax. The more you practice, the more you can learn to calm your mind and body when things in life get hectic.
The physical movement of yoga is calming to the body and helps to relieve stress. The poses also help to open and release the chest and shoulder muscles where many people store stress and tension.
The poses also encourage a focus on the breath, which calms the mind and brings attention to the present moment. Combined with the mindfulness of meditation, this creates a state of mental and physical relaxation that reduces stress.
Yoga is also known for helping to build a sense of self-worth, which can be very important in combating feelings of anxiety and stress. It is important to remember that yoga is not just about the physical poses but is a mental and emotional practice that can be beneficial for all ages and fitness levels.
A regular yoga practice can help calm the mind and body. It reduces stress levels, improves sleep and mood, increases strength and flexibility, and helps manage pain.
Like almost all forms of exercise, yoga promotes physical movement and increases blood flow throughout the body. This releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins that can help fight stress.
In addition, yoga teaches you to notice negative thoughts and emotions as they arise. This can give you tools to recognize when and where you are stressed, and allow you to let those feelings pass by.
While everyone feels a little bit of stress at some point, ongoing, chronic stress can have serious health consequences. If you are feeling overwhelmed, a restorative or yin yoga class may be exactly what you need to get back on track.