Let’s be honest, in today’s modern day, we live very stressful and demanding lives. With so much happening and so many things to take care of, it gets pretty hard to keep track of things. This leads to one of the most common health issues that we suffer from – Stress!
What is stress? ‘Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances’ (Google). The feelings that also exist when in stress can be of anxiety, worry and tension.
Stress affects both the body and mind. It not only plays a key part in our appearance but our overall health and quality of life is also affected. I understand it takes a lot of will power and dedication, but if you want to tackle this problem, then you have to be pro-active and find solutions. While there are many different ways to cope and reduce stress, yoga is becoming a more popular choice that many people are turning to and finding long term benefits.
Make Yoga a Part of Your Life
Of course, mastering yoga takes years of dedication and hard work and not all of us can commit to this. However, the basic principles, techniques and practices are quite effective in their own way and if adopted regularly I promise, you will not only reduce your stress levels but other things in your life will also have a positive effect, such as your energy level and mood.
Deep Breathing – When we are stressed or anxious, our breath becomes very shallow and fast. This style of crural diaphragmatic breathing disrupts our bodies overall function and can cause agitation, worry and other stress related problems. Whereas deep breathing on the other hand, allows our body to remain calm and if practiced regularly allows us to control and minimise our stress levels.
Pranayama breathing is a very effective yoga breathing style that really will help if you are suffering from stress. The practice involves sitting comfortably in a straight posture, then blocking one nasal passage with your finger and breathing in. You breathe in for about 5 seconds, and hold for 5 seconds. Then you release the air forcefully through the nasal passage that you were blocking. You then do the same on the other side. Doing this every morning for about 10 minutes will stabilize the energy in your body and mind and stress and other negative emotions will be kept away.
Deep Meditation – A lot of the stress exists because negative emotions are stored in our mind. This creates negative energy which has serious consequences on our health. By storing these feelings it allows stress to overwhelm us more easily. That’s why deep meditation is very effective as it strengthens the body’s defence from a mental and spiritual level.
Sit relaxed, with eyes closed, maintain good posture and listen to meditation music while doing deep breathing. Allow positive thoughts and feelings to come into your mind. Open your mind and body and allow these feelings to penetrate deep inside. If both the body and mind are relaxed and are in sync with one another it will create a sense of well-being. It will allow you to overcome difficulties and deal with negative experiences in a much better way and increase your self-confidence.
The postures are a fundamental part of yoga. Different postures exist to deal with so many of the different problems. Below are some really effective ones that will help to reduce and eliminate stress. However before attempting to do any of these make sure you have the correct knowledge and are able to follow the correct guidelines.
Child Pose (Balasana) – This pose is not only effective in relieving back and neck pain but it calms the brain and helps relieve stress and anxiety. It is one of the most commonly known poses for stress related problems.
Easy Pose (Sukhasana) – This pose involves sitting on the floor, spine straightened and legs folded. Again slow down your breathing and relax. This pose straightens your spine and opens the hips. In regard to stress; it relieves physical and mental tiredness, calms the brain and eliminates anxiety.
Corpse Pose (Savasana) – A great way to achieve total relaxation as it really calms the mind. Lie relaxed on your back and close your eyes. Put your arms by your side and face you’re your palms upwards. With each deep breath, go deeper and deeper into full relaxation. Let all your worries and concerns melt away. The more you practice the calmer and stress-free your mind will become.
Shoulderstand Pose (Sarvangasana) – There are so many endless benefits to doing this pose and it is one of the most common one. On a physical level, it allows more blood flow to the face thus improving the complexion of the face. However on an emotional level it soothes the nervous system and brings calmness to the mind.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) – This pose may be difficult for some beginners. However, over time, if you are able to achieve this, then there is great benefit. On the physical part, it stretches the hamstring, spine and lower back. While on the emotional side it is great for relieving stress and anxiety.
It is important to have a positive attitude and adopt a healthy lifestyle and implementing yoga to your daily life will certainly help. However sometimes stress and other negative feelings might be down to more serious issues in which case professional help may be needed.