Yoga & Stress Management

Modern life is full of hassles. Work deadlines, family obligations and all the frustrations, and demands that come along with them. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Stress can affect how you feel, think, behave and how your body works.

In fact, stress can create a variety of symptoms including anxiety, fatigue, depression, and others. Stress is not an illness in itself, but it can cause serious illness if it is not addressed.

Stress and life

One of the reasons why people find it difficult to manage stress is that the circumstances in our lives have changed in a short period of time. Our stressors have transformed and multiplied; they can be found everywhere, every day: at home, at work, on our way to work etc. Unfortunately, we don’t usually dwell on the distinctions between our reactions to stress; we tend to focus on general coping solutions applicable to all, such as a hot bath, a long walk, or a day the beach at. Although this may be a temporary solution but on the long run it may prove ineffective. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 72% of American adults were suffering from some form of stress related illness.

How stress affects our health

Some amount of stress is normal for the human body; the Eustress, this is a positive form of stress. However when stress continues unchecked it can lead to Distress which can have negative repercussions on your health. Its various physical symptoms are:

  •      Headaches
  •      Improper digestion
  •      Elevated blood pressure
  •      Insomnia

Stress also becomes even more harmful when people consume alcohol, tobacco, or drugs as stress relief tactics. Unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more health problems.

Symptoms of Distress

  •      You feel unusually panicky, scared and uneasy.
  •      You tend to get uncontrolled, obsessive thoughts of past traumatic experiences.
  •      You wake up from frequent nightmares.
  •      You tend to repeatedly wash your hands.
  •      You have problems sleeping.
  •      Your hands and feet stay unusually sweaty.
  •      You get frequent palpitations.

Stress and Holistic Healing

Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function. And the best part is that anyone can do it.

Yoga has many styles, forms and intensities. Hatha yoga, in particular, is a good choice for stress management. Hatha is one of the most common styles of yoga, and beginners may like it’s slower pace and easier movements. But most people can benefit from any style of yoga, it’s all about your personal preferences.

The core components of hatha yoga are:

  • Poses: Yoga poses, also called postures, are a series of movements designed to, among other things, increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying on the floor while completely relaxed to difficult postures that may have you stretching your physical limits.
  • Breathing: Breath awareness is an important part of yoga. In yoga, breath signifies your vital energy. Yoga teaches that managing your breathing together with manipulating your body influences directly your mind, making it quieter.

The health benefits of yoga

The potential health benefits of yoga include:

  • Stress reduction: A number of studies have shown that yoga helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.
  • Improved fitness: Practicing yoga can lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And this means you’re less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavours or in your daily activities.
  • Management of chronic conditions: Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, like depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.

To conclude

Yoga can help you become more balanced, calm, focused, and relaxed as you go through life’s usual ups and downs. The best part about Yoga is that people who do a little bit of yoga each day, often find they’re capable of handling stressful situations in a calmer frame of mind. Partaking in the various poses(held for a few minutes) will make you feel instantly relaxed and rejuvenated. The trick is to practice it daily, and not only when you feel stressed out.