Updated: Aug 30
Regular practice of yoga can help to alleviate everyday stress through physical practice, breathwork, meditation, and complete relaxation.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Whether it's caused by our hectic schedules, demanding jobs, or chaotic personal lives, we all need a way to deal with the pressure. Fortunately, yoga provides a proven method for reducing stress and the health effects it causes. Yoga combines several stress-reducing techniques, including exercises that work to control the breath, clear the mind, and relax the body. As yoga becomes increasingly popular, more and more people are discovering its stress-reducing benefits. In fact, yoga is now being used by therapists to help treat patients suffering from stress and anxiety. The best part? You don't need any prior experience to benefit from the practice. Whether you are at home, work, or somewhere in between, yoga is always here to help you relax. Here we highlight the integral parts of yoga practice that make it the best active medicine to combat stress.
All types of yoga can help manage stress
When most people think of yoga, they envision a slow and relaxing exercise routine. While this is one type of hatha yoga, there are actually many different styles, some of which are quite fast-paced and active. So, if you are looking to relieve stress through yoga, the best approach is to choose a style that fits your personality and physical fitness level. Any form of exercise can help relieve stress by keeping the body healthy and releasing endorphins, but yoga is particularly beneficial due to the stretching component. When you are stressed, tension builds up in the body, leaving you feeling tight and causing pain. The stretching involved in yoga helps to release this tension, providing relief from both the physical and emotional symptoms of stress.
Breathwork helps to manage anxiety
Pranayama, or breath work, is an important part of any yoga practice and one that translates well to life outside of yoga practice. At the very least, yoga increases your awareness of the breath as a tool for relaxing the body. Although breathing is an involuntary and mechanical act, you can choose to regulate the breath. Just learning to take deep breaths and realizing that this can be a quick way to combat stressful situations is amazingly effective. Breath control takes this one step further by teaching you how to control the rate, depth, and duration of your breath. This can have both physical and mental benefits, as it can help to improve respiratory function, increase oxygen intake and reduce stress levels. For people who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, breath control can be a valuable tool for managing difficult symptoms. Learning how to control your breath is a simple way to bring a sense of calm and peace into your life, both on and off the yoga mat.
Yoga is a form of active meditation
It's no secret that our minds are constantly active, racing from one thought to the next. All this mind work is tiring and stressful. Fortunately, yoga offers several techniques for taming the over-active mind. One is breath work, as outlined above which is also a basic meditation technique. Another way yoga imitates meditation is by the physical performance of the practice, as yoga poses, or asanas, have to be done with deep concentration. It gives the mind a much-needed break as all other thoughts and worries are put to the side to allow focusing only on asanas. Asana practice not only provides a mental break but also helps to increase focus and concentration. So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts, try taking some time out for yoga. You may just find that it clears your mind and allows you to better manage your stress.
Yoga features 5 minutes of total relaxation
Relaxation is an important part of any yoga practice. At the end of each session, students spend five to ten minutes in savasana, also known as the corpse pose. This period of enforced relaxation can be difficult at first, but it eventually serves the purpose of helping both the body and mind relax completely. Savasana helps to bring students back into the world feeling refreshed, relaxed, and equipped with the tools to combat stress outside of the practice.
If you struggle with feelings of stress, anxiety, and panic then yoga may be the perfect natural solution for you. You can keep up regular practice to reap all the benefits with the Kineesi Monthly program. A full library of professionally-led yoga flows anytime, anywhere. Try unlimited classes free for 7 days to release the power of movement.