Yoga for Stress Relief

Yoga for Stress Relief

What’s Inside?

  • What is stress and why is it bad for your health
  • How yoga helps in reducing stress
  • Yoga poses for stress reduction

Stress – What is it?

In psychology, stress is defined as any situation or circumstance that becomes too much for an individual to cope with. Stress is a part of our daily life, and is inevitable. Indeed, some amount of stress becomes necessary and pushes us towards problem solving, creativity, and productivity. But too much stress can wreak havoc on the body. This is because stress brings about a number of physical, emotional, and cognitive changes that can harm our well being in the long run. Here are the major issues with stress- 

  • Stress is associated with some primitive responses in the body, such as the production of stress hormones such as cortisol. These are designed to help your body get ready for ‘fight or flight’. In the long run however, this can damage your respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
  • Stress can also mess up the digestive system due to the production of extra glucose and the rush of hormones, increasing acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Stress produces tension in the muscles of the body, which can law the groundwork for shoulder, neck and back stiffness and pain.
  • One of the most major damages that stress gives is to the immune system, reducing its capacity and making us more prone to illness, while also increasing the time needed to recover.
  • Mentally, stress in itself can take a toll on a person, and also make them more susceptible to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Relax and Chill – Yoga to the Rescue

Yoga is perhaps one of the best remedies for stress. Not only does it work at the physical level to reduce the symptoms of stress, it also opens up emotional and spiritual avenues for healing Here are the major ways in which yoga can help in stress reduction – 

  • By promoting good and proper breathing and blood flow, yoga can help the damage made by stress to this vital systems of the body.
  • Yoga is also focused on physical relaxation, aiding in the release of tension from the muscles
  • Yogic asanas and meditation help in promoting relaxation and removal of negativity from the mind
  • When practiced regularly, yoga can help equip you with natural tools and skills that you can use to prevent stress from occuring in the first place. 

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Here are some poses to try for stress relief – 

  • Balsana (Child’s Pose) – Relax and give your body a gentle stretch with this restorative pose, which stretches the hips, thighs and ankles, and releases the tension in the neck and back. It is also known to combat the symptoms of stress and fatigue.
  • Garudasana (Eagle Pose) – This pose is quite a feat of balance and concentration, and your worries will slip away as you focus your mental problems to this physical activity. It also helps in removing tension and tightness from the shoulders and hips. To help you relax further, place some soothing object, just as a plant, at the spot you will focus your concentration on.
  • Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) – As stress can have a great impact on the digestive system, and poor functioning of this system in turn can increase stress this asana is a must-do. Indeed, it is one of the very few asanas that you can do immediately after eating. It fosters relaxation and calmness too.
  • Ananda Balsana (Happy Baby Pose) – Get in touch with your inner child as you open up your hips and spine with this fun asana which also calms the brain and helps in relieving stress and fatigue. However, do not try this asana out if you have some knee or neck injury
  • Shavasana (Corpse Pose) – The perfect way to end any yoga session meant for stress relief would be with this pose, which is designed to induce relaxation. Ironically, many people find this pose difficult to sustain, but with practice comes true calmness and stillness of both the mind and body that can also be conducive for 
  • Sitali/Sitkari Pranayama – Translated literally as the cooling breath, this breathing exercise is ideal for the summer months when the temperatures are high and with it, so are tempers and tensions. However, the curl of the sitali may not be possible for everybody to do, so you can always try our the sitkari method instead.

Stress can be overwhelming and make challenges even harder, but remember that stress truly is a state of mind. Practice these asanas regularly and you will begin to see a change in your reactions and outlooks to situations, which will certainly improve both your health and overall life quality.

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