Stress; it gets to us! Little things add up and before we know it our shoulders are tight, are tempers are short, our skin is breaking out, were anxious and depressed and we can’t sleep at night. How do we fight stress? With yoga! Yoga can actually give us the tools we need to face our everyday stress and give us happier, and healthier lives. But how?
1. Yoga for a time out.
One of the main reasons we are stressed is because we go non-stop all day long! We wake, we work, we look after kids, we over schedule and we sit on our phones! Our minds and bodies need moments of stillness each day. Often, we think that if we are busy we are productive, but that is not always the case – which can add to our stress. It’s been proven that sitting in silence can actually lead to higher productivity. Why? Because we can look at our problems and day ahead with a clear and calm mind and make focused, clear cut decisions. Yoga gives us this time out that we deserve. By tuning into a yoga class, online or in studio you are giving yourself a break, quiet space to stop the racing thoughts, stop the to do lists and just be in the moment.
2. Yoga to Just Breathe.
You know that feeling when your heart is racing, your chest feels tight, your hot and your blood is racing? That’s your fight or flight response and it kicks in when we are stressed. If you live with a lot of stress, then your body is constantly on edge and when this happens your breathing is shallow and quick. It’s not good for your mind and it’s not good for your body. In yoga we notice the breath. We work to slow it down, to breathe deep and long and to fill the belly and lungs. We keep the breath steady, even in hard asanas. We slow the breath, and the mind and body follow. When we focus on the breath, we can focus the mind. Deep slow breathing has been linked to lowering blood pressure, better digestion, easing anxiety and yes, relieving stress!
3. Yoga to connect the mind and body.
The mind and body are more connected than we realise, yet we need to recognise that connection in order to understand ourselves better. Just like a heart must be loved, the mind must think about the body and the body must make space for the mind. In walks yoga. By seeing this great connection, we can see how our stressors need to be managed. We’ve all seen the connection; when our mind is stressed, a rash can develop, an old injury might flare up, our digestion will be completely off. Yoga is the visible connection of mind and body. By rolling out our mats, by working on our pranayama and our asana, we calm the mind and start to notice our body. We can feel where the resistance is, where the stress is and work through it. We don’t fight it, yet notice and learn to be comfortable with life’s ups and down’s instead of fighting them.
4. Yoga to recognise your stress triggers.
Once we start listening to your bodies, we start to notice our stress triggers. When we notice our triggers, we can start to use our minds to work though the stressors in our life. We can ask ourselves, in a calm, clear state, why is this stressing out, what emotion am I actually feeling. Once we can notice the emotion we can work on it. Why do I feel this way? Do I need to react to this or can I just notice and accept it and keep moving on? Little things that would build and cause us tension and negativity, soon become floating clouds in our lives that we notice and don’t react too. Yoga teaches us this.
5. Yoga for full body and mind relaxation.
Finally, yoga helps us fight stress by bringing full relaxation to our mind and body. Yoga teaches us many things about ourselves, it can heal us, it can bring us together, but it’s most widely used claim to fame is how it can bring us into a Zen like state. It gives us time to be in the moment and block out the rest of the world. It draws our attention to the breath and helps us slow down. It bridges the gap of the mind and body, helping us learn more about who we are. It goes further to help us recognise the stress in our life and how to prevent further anxiety and fear. And it makes us feel so good! A calm mind and a tension free body is the cherry on the top of rolling out your mat each week.
All of us have stress in our lives. It’s hard to stop these hurdles, but we can do things which help us face stress, in a healthy, positive way. Yoga can help you face the stressful situations in your life by bringing a calm and clear mind to the picture, and a way to help you release the tension. Face your stress, the yoga way.