3 Ways Yoga Can Help to Relieve Anxiety and Stress
With so much information at our disposal on the Internet, one would think they were living in an enlightened age. Unfortunately, the digital age seems to have brought more anxiety and stress than in any previous generation. While there are a number of theories on just why this is so, it is still a consensus that most contemporaries are unprecedented levels of stress.
One South Korean born yoga master who suffered from ADHD as a child has spent his entire life researching and practicing Eastern forms of meditation to calm the body and mind. Ilchi Lee advises anyone overwhelmed by the stresses of the 21st Century to take a step back, quiet the mind, and learn mindful living through such practices as yoga. Here is a sampling of what yoga can do for you.
1. Physical and Mental Exercises to Ease Tension
According to Psychology Today, there is a definite correlation between stress and constricted muscles within the body. It’s sort of a symbiotic relationship whereby mental stress leads to tension in the body which, in turn, increases the stress hormones within the brain. Yoga can help to break the cycle because as one exercises to stretch and relax muscles, the brain begins to relax as well.
There is also the centering meditative aspect to yoga that starts with the brain to calm the body. Whether you start with the body to calm the mind or start with the mind to calm the body, the relationship is clear, and yoga is an effective stress reduction technique.
2. Slowing and Regulating the Breath
Have you ever noticed that someone who is extremely anxious and stressed will begin to hyperventilate? Yoga focuses on deep breathing techniques which will help to relieve stress as you focus on your breathing. There are times when you will focus on breathing as you begin meditations and there are times you use breathing to enhance the various positions of the physical side of yoga.
Breathing brings life and awareness to the mind but it also brings lifegiving oxygen to literally every cell in your body. Shallow breaths won’t work but those deep inhalations will bring in enough oxygen for distribution. The next time you are stressed, step back, focus on long, slow breaths and watch how quickly both the mind and body relax when you are no longer hyperventilating.
3. An Interruption in Cycles of Worry
By focusing on something other than the current source of your worry, you will notice again that your mind and body begin to relax. The key is in learning how to direct your focus and yoga is proven to be one of the best ways to accomplish this. Through guided imagery meditations and the slow and purposeful body movements of yoga, the practitioner can totally interrupt those cycles of worry which are eating away at their lifeforce.
If you are experiencing unhealthy levels of stress and anxiety, you might want to find a yoga master near you. Why seek unhealthy stress reduction through pharmaceuticals when yoga can work to relax every muscle and nerve in your brain and body? Nature always knows best so keep it natural and live a healthy, mindful life.