Yoga And Stress ReliefMay 12, 2022
There is no such thing as a stress-free life. Even the calmest and laid-back of people, those who appear not to have a care in the world, suffer from the stress of some kind. The pressures of modern life, urban lifestyles, improper diets, unhealthy activities like smoking, excess drinking, substance abuse, and addictions and so on all place immense stress on both the mind and body. It is easy for a vicious circle to develop where the use of alcohol, drugs, binge eating, lethargy, and such actions and activities are used to combat the stress but end up contributing to its increase.
Stress is a slow killer. You will not wake up one day and realize that you are stressed. Because it builds up so gradually, many people do not realize what is happening to them until they have serious health issues which are when stress as a major contributing factor is diagnosed. That is one of the major reasons why yoga is achieving such global popularity as a way of fighting off stress and its effects on health. Yoga does not involve the use of any external stimulants or sedatives to keep stress at bay. Instead, it is a form of self-development that gives the body, mind, and spirit the strength to not just bear with stress but to overcome it and live a life with peace of mind and good health that leads to a relaxed and stress-free lifestyle.
The Effectiveness of Yoga Is Globally Recognized
Yoga, which is a combination of physical postures, breathing control, meditation, and ethical disciplines are known to be over 5,000 years old. Originating from India, it has now spread all over the world. Research carried out across the globe shows that yoga decreases stress and tension, increases strength and balance, improves flexibility, lowers blood pressure, and brings down cortisol levels.
There is no reason why you should not make yoga a part of your life and so many reasons as to why you should. You can start yoga at any age and with the right supervision, even sickness or disability may not prevent you from taking it up and deriving its many benefits.
Also Read: The Healing Power Of Yoga
How It Works
In regard to the direct impact on stress levels, yoga uses the following techniques:
- Breathing control
- Physical movement
- Mental imagery
These combine to produce a double effect. The first is to rid the body of the tension that has gradually crept in. The second is to give the mind and spirit the strength to not allow stress to enter or if it does, to ensure that it is only in amounts that the body and mind can manage without harmful effects and reactions.
Besides the direct effect on stress and tension, yoga also provides a wide range of other benefits to the body and mind that indirectly help to control, reduce or perhaps even eradicate stress. Among the benefits are:
- Calmness under pressure
- Sound sleep
- Relief from many medical conditions
- Lower levels of cortisol
- Relief from allergies
- Asthma relief
- Lowering the blood pressure
- Lower heart rate
- Reduced muscle tension
- Improved flexibility
- An increased overall sense of peace and wellbeing
There are many more benefits and the list of them is far too long to go into here.
Yoga Can Start at Any Age
Although even young children today are under academic and other forms of stress, it is as we grow older that dealing with the pressure often becomes more difficult. There is a common misconception that starting yoga at middle age or older is very difficult because the body has lost some of its flexibility. This is what often prevents those who will benefit most from the stress relief that yoga offer from benefitting from it. The reality is that increased flexibility is a major effect of yoga and those who are less flexible will see the results more quickly.
Yoga is not an all-or-nothing activity. There are levels of activity/exercise that suit every age group and both men and women. The benefits of stress relief and improved feelings of well-being will be as much for an 80-year-old as it is for a person who is 30.
For children, yoga can help in dealing with academic stress and peer pressure. For those of working age, it will help to relieve the tension and pressure and by doing this, improve their performance and productivity and so support their professional success. For those who are retired, it will help in accepting the physical, mental, and family-related changes that come with advancing years.
Do It The Right Way
Anyone, at any age and in almost any physical condition, can practice yoga. The key is to understand what yoga is, how it works, and the benefits, mental and physical, that it has to offer. There are websites and magazine and newspaper articles beyond numbers that will tell you how to practice yoga. While they are well-meaning in their effort to spread the benefits, yoga is not something that you can teach yourself. A proper teacher will be able to not just show you the right poses, exercises, and breathing techniques, but you will also the taught how asanaas, exercises, and more work so that you are able to understand how your body and mind are reacting to what you do. Meditation is not just turning off the mind. It is not something you can teach yourself. True meditation is getting rid of the negatives that pervade your being and replacing them with positive energy. Here too, guidance is essential in enabling you to meditate in the right way and achieve the true benefits.
Start yoga and you will see how much the quality of your life improves in terms of stress relief and physical and spiritual wellbeing. It is important to do it the right way with a qualified teacher who will be able to not just show you those aspects of yoga that are most relevant to you and your life, but also how to do it the right way to achieve the maximum benefits.