Everyday pursuits of life have taken a severe toll on humanity’s sanity. Many times they even prove to be life-limiting. This causes extreme anxiety and stress issues which can have catastrophic psychological consequences. Stress also tends to obfuscate the human perspective of life and self. In short, psychological flexibility gets the brunt of anxiety and stress. So what is the way forward? Yoga for stress can be an effective remedy of this ever-increasing mental disruptor.
The past decades have witnessed the Yogic Science revolutionizing the world, with its practices and techniques, especially in the field of mental health. Yoga is a mind and body practise that brings together physical and mental disciplines to advocate peacefulness of mind and body. It supports a path of self-awareness and complete consciousness which helps to bring about peace and tranquillity in the body and mind. Studies show that Yoga aids to decrease stress and enhance the overall sense of well-being.
Yoga is a spiritual path primarily practised to ensure a healthy mind and body. The primary objective of yoga is to promote an equilibrium between the body and mind, which is nothing but a state of absolute clarity and transparency of mind. It is a journey of enlightenment and salvation, leading to complete control over the mind and emotions. The word “Yoga” has been derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj”, meaning “to join” or “to yoke”. Yogic scriptures state, yoga leads to a confluence of individual consciousness with the universal one, to bring about peace and harmony in life. Yoga is a fantastic tool for managing anxiety and stress.
Yoga and meditation are two sides of a coin. So are yogic breathing and asanas. The amalgamation of the two is considered the epitome of purification and self-discipline, covering both mind and breathing. Yoga aims to improve the mind-body connections, which results in the form of better sleep cycle and reduction in stress levels, ensuring a balanced life.
Let us see some of the breathing exercises and yoga for stress relief.
Abdominal Breathing technique:
Remember those nerve-wracking moments of our lives, when everything is so complicated and perplexed, and you feel all anxious and stressed out? Abdominal breathing comes handy to deal with such situations. This technique can be incredibly relaxing, especially before undergoing stressful events, like taking an exam, when stress and anxiety take over our cognitive ability to think and perform. The procedure to do this is to place one hand on your chest and other on your belly. Inhale taking deep breaths to create a slight stretching sensation in your lungs. Exhale slowly. Abdominal breathing brings about a sense of peace and tranquillity, thereby helping in dealing with stress.
Sun Salutation- (Surya Namaskar)
Mornings should be energizing and rejuvenating. No matter how stressful a day is ahead, starting the day on a positive and peaceful note helps us to deal with the complications after that. Surya Namaskar is one such yoga pose that helps in managing stress effectively. It is an amalgamation of twelve yoga positions, each having a significant impact on the body. The forward and backward bends allow stretches, while the deep breathing performed, detoxifies the entire body. It provides a sense of sense and living at the moment and not letting stressful thoughts distort our peace of mind.
The term ‘sitali’ means cooling. Sitali Pranayama is another great yogic breathing exercise that requires you to roll the tongue until the outer edge forms a tube. Then you have to inhale through the mouth, taking all the air that you can. It may make a hissing sound. After inhaling, bring the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and seal your lips. Feel the coolness of the breath during inhalation and exhale through the nostrils. This breath tends to clear the heat of a stressed mind with peace and help it relax.
Halasana Pose( Plow Pose)
This Asana has proven to be very useful to calm the nervous system reducing stress & fatigue. It is also said to stimulate the thyroid gland, improving mood & energy levels. It is highly recommendable for people who are suffering from the symptoms of depression and anxiety, to lead a healthy better life. Thus, Halasana is an ideal Yoga pose to deal with stress.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama:
Lack of concentration and a wandering mind, pose some serious threat to the professional productivity and effectiveness of a person. Consequently, failure or lack of appreciation can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. Experts believe that trying nine rounds of the Nadi Shodhan Pranayama( alternate nostril breathing), following a ten-minute meditation, can help subside the effects of stress and trauma. This exercise calms the brain down and centres the mind by bringing harmony between both the hemispheres of the brain. You need to breathe through one nostril while the other will be closed with the thumb, hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale through the different nostrils. This can be continued alternately.
See Also: Overstimulation, Anxiety And Being Calm: A Meditation Perspective