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Alleviate Stress by Practicing Yoga

The shadow of a person in a yoga position looking out over a mountain range and the morning sun.

While experiencing some stress in your life is to be expected. It’s crucial that you do not fall into the habit of downplaying the stress you feel. You can alleviate stress by practicing yoga. Yoga can help train your mind and your body to reorient your response to stress.

Yoga has been practiced for centuries to strengthen, tone, and balance the body. However, it is also proven to enhance mental clarity, renew focus, and alleviate stress.

Understanding the Dangers of Stress

When you are living with physical or emotional stress, your adrenal glands secrete the hormone cortisol. As a result, high levels of cortisol can compromise your health and emotional wellbeing. Because of this, elevated cortisol levels contribute to heart disease, anxiety, depression, and diabetes. Everyone experiences stress differently. In other words, it could manifest in various ways like the following:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Frequent jaw clenching
  • Chest pain or palpitations
  • Tension headaches or migraines
  • Frequent infections or illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits or weight

The Health Benefits of Yoga

The goal of yoga is to achieve tranquility and wellbeing. Yoga stimulates the pleasure centers in your brain and activates your parasympathetic nervous system, the branch of your autonomic nervous system that initiates calm and relaxation. For instance, when you practice yoga, your breathing slows, your heart rate slows, and your cortisol levels drop.

Yoga is available to everyone, offering alternate poses when injury or illness create physical challenges. The benefits of yoga reach far beyond stress relief. Just a few of the benefits include:

  • Improved flexibility and posture
  • Increased muscular strength and stamina
  • Renewed focus and mental clarity
  • Immune system support
  • Reduced risk of chronic illness
  • Increased feelings of health and wellbeing

Eliminating Stress by Practicing Yoga

Firstly, yoga is not competitive. It’s a personal journey that can put you on the path to improved physical and emotional health. In a study investigating the potential benefits of yoga, 52 women participated in a four-week training session. Before the beginning of their yoga class, the volunteers were assessed for their current levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. After practicing yoga three times each week for four weeks, their stress, anxiety and depression levels decreased significantly.

Yoga Breathing for Stress Relief

Secondly, yoga is about being aware of your breathing patterns. Controlling the way you breathe will help you relax and will alleviate stress. For instance, you can practice these exercises sitting on the floor, in a chair, or lying down.

  • Relaxed Breathing– close your eyes and inhale and exhale through your nose. Take a few slow deep breaths. Keep your thoughts focused on breathing normally for five minutes.
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing – close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale slowly through your left nostril. Next, close your left nostril with your index finger and exhale slowly through your right. Repeat this exercise three times.

Yoga Poses to Alleviate Stress

The easiest way to know if yoga is right for you is to try a few poses. Yoga is typically practiced barefoot and wearing comfortable clothing. While a quick internet search for beginning yoga poses will lead you to many options, the following poses are known to promote inner peace and reduce stress.

The Cat to Cow Pose

The cat to cow pose will help alleviate stress while relieving tension in your back and neck. Begin the cat to cow pose on your hands and knees. Your knees should align directly under your hips, with your wrists under your shoulders. Your spine should be neutral, and your core engaged. When in the correct position, inhale through your nose.

As you exhale, arch your spine towards the ceiling, tucking your chin toward your chest and releasing any tension in your neck. You have just completed the cat pose.

As you inhale, relax your abdominal muscles and curve your back while lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling. This is the cow position. Repeat ten rounds of cat to cow, cat on the exhale, inhale on the cow pose.

The Downward Facing Dog

Practicing the downward facing dog pose will boost your circulation while lengthening and straightening your spine. Due to this, you may also notice your mental clarity and focus increases as a result of increased blood flow to your brain.

The downward facing dog begins on all fours. You will start this pose by shifting your weight from your knees to your toes. Bring your hips toward the ceiling by straightening your knees. Settle your weight evenly between your hands and feet. If this pose proves too challenging, you can perform the modified version by bending your knees and bringing your heels off the floor

The Child’s Pose

The child’s pose is a restful pose that has a calming effect on your nervous system and digestive system.  The child’s pose begins in a kneeling position with your thighs apart. Lower your body by sinking your bottom towards your heels as you curl your spine and fold your body forward with your forehead to the floor. Your arms can be in front of you with your palms on the floor, or towards your feet with your palms facing up.

The Importance of Stress Management

Above all, stress depletes your batteries and zaps your energy. Because of this, stress increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression. Therefore, that’s why so many people are searching for effective methods to reduce their stress levels. Yoga is often recommended as a complement to anxiety counseling.

In conclusion, If you are having difficulty managing the stress in your life, you may want to consider enlisting the services of a counselor or therapist. In Clark County, Washington, contact Real Life Counseling. A therapist or counselor will help you learn practical, effective techniques to reduce your stress and keep stress from interfering with your health and well-being.

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