While we usually attribute stress to the modern living style, the truth is that stress has been a companion of man since ancient times. The rise in stress among people in the present times has prompted us to look for it’s remedies in the treasure house of ancient knowledge. With the studies carried out on the relation between regular practice of Yoga and the decreasing levels of stress, it can be inferred that Yoga is highly effective for stress. Let us go a little further in understanding how yoga is nothing short of a catalyst in reducing stress and fostering health and wellness.
Yoga Asanas/Postures that Relieve Stress
Stretching and regulation of breath are important aspects of yoga asanas. These actions help release feel good hormones like endorphins in the body. This, in turn, keeps the individual free from the effects of stress. Asanas involving stretching like Balasana and Paschimottanasana relieve the stress in the shoulders and limbs. While performing these and other related asanas like Cat Cow Stretches, Downward facing Dog and Savanasana, the voluntary regulation of breath and connecting with the sensations of the body helps minimize disturbing thoughts, creates calmness and, in turn, wealthness. One’s focus shifts to the body and thereby the influence of uncontrolled thoughts is reduced to a great extent.
Postures like Sphinx pose and makarasana relax the nervous system. These asanas comfort headache, and lowers down anxiety and fatigue and also aids in curing depression. Padmasana, Matsya Kridasana and Sasangasana are other poses which when performed on a regular basis gives immense benefits in stress reduction.
Yoga Mudras for Instant Stress Busting
Mudras is an ancient technique practiced during meditation and pranayama. It is a set of gestures with each one imparting a specific meaning to the pranayama or meditation. The objective behind practising a certain mudra is to attain the energy flow of the particular state of mind associated with the gesture.
Scriptures and modern scientific studies have associated Mudras with relieving of stress and imparting of calmness to the practitioner. The basic mudras like Gyana, Chinmaya, Adi Mudra, Vayu Mudra, Agni, Varun mudra and Pran Mudra are all beneficial in attaining a serene state of mind.
Exhale Stress out of Your System with Pranayama
Pranayama is a set of breathing exercises that helps in alleviating stress by increasing the intake of oxygen in the body. There are various techniques in Pranayama that help treat stress and anxiety. Shitali Pranayama, Anulom Vilom, Kapalbharti, Nadi Shodhan and other variations increase the flow of oxygen in brain cells and in turn helps in releasing tension from the nervous system thus creating long lasting wellness. It also improves the quality of one’s sleep. Experts suggest that an average of ten minutes on Pranayama everyday can give employees stress-free interactions at work and at home.
Follow Yoga Diet for a Stress-free Life:
Just as exercise, diet also plays a key role in maintaining wellness. Yogic diet or Sattvic diet is about adhering to a diet that contains wholesome nutrients excluding meat and fish. It is about eating in moderation. It is one of the best diets for weight loss and immunity building. It believes in abstinence from consuming alcohol, caffeine or soda or frizzy drinks. A regular practice of this diet has a healing effect on the body and the individual becomes much calmer and more regulated in his approach to stressful situations. Mindful eating improves digestion and metabolism which brings down one’s stress levels.
Beat Stress with Mindfulness Yoga:
In recent years, the concept of mindfulness has created a lot of buzz in the field of mind training and especially in stress reduction. Studies show that the practice of mindfulness which consists of acceptance, awareness, focus and observation as the main components has a relaxing effect on the brain along with increased mind abilities. The key benefit of mindfulness is the reduction in depression and anxiety levels of individuals which creates improved capabilities to deal with challenging situations. It lowers your blood pressure, reduces activity in the “fight or flight” centre Amygdala, improves heart health and immune power.
Say Yes to Calmness with Meditation and Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation that, with the help of instructions, takes the individuals into a state of consciousness that connects with the inner world. With the help of verbal prompts and instructions, the practitioner is guided to a state in which he is suspended between sleep and awakeness. The regular practice of Yogic Nidra reportedly reduces stress and anxiety. It is so effective that even military personnel practice it and advocate the same. This ancient practice reduces depression, anxiety and stress and fosters mental health.
Keep Premenstrual and Menopausal Stress under Control
Women experience irregular emotional levels during different stages of their menstrual cycles and also while going through menopause later in life. Premenstrual symptoms are extreme emotional reactions, irritability, anxiety and depression along with physical cramps and back pain. These symptoms vary in each woman. Yoga has specific poses for women that ameliorates physical discomfort and distress while also strengthening their inner mechanism to cope with mental stress.
During menopause, women experience various physical and mental symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disruption, irregular emotional health, low energy level, low concentration, memory problems, joint pain and stiffness to name a few. All these symptoms and the stress associated with it can be controlled with the help of Yoga.
Benefits for People of All Ages and Professions
Today, irrespective of people’s profession and age, stress has become a part of one’s life. In the present times when working from home has become a common practice, both working women and home makers go through a lot of stress. Stress reduces their productivity and also results in friction with their near and dear ones. While the same is true for men, even kids and teens are reportedly having high stress levels presently. Studies have shown that Yoga helps to keep stress under control for individuals of all ages. Regular practice of Yoga increases the creation of happy hormones like Dopamine and Serotonin and fosters the “happiness mindset”.
One of the key reasons why Yoga is a popular mode of exercise among entrepreneurs and working professionals is increase in productivity by reducing stress levels. Low or no stress results in maintaining a positive and responsive mindset. Studies have shown that individuals practising Yoga don’t just find themselves living stress free but have increased concentration and productivity.