Yoga for Stress!

Break the Cycle – Using Yoga to Combat Chronic Stress
When you think of physical wellness yoga may come to mind, but did you know yoga also has emotional and mental health benefits? Yoga practice incorporates postures, breathing, and meditation for holistic wellness. While starting a yoga practice may seem intimidating or overwhelming, there are yoga postures for everyone and every fitness level.
 
 
One of the principle ways yoga contributes to wellness is by combating stress. Stress is a healthy response to keep you safe and motivated in short bursts but when it lingers after the stressor is removed, i.e. stressful event or stimulus, it can become chronic. Chronic stress changes the chemistry and structure of your brain,  dysregulates emotions, sleep cycles and makes you more reactive to stress, which can lead to mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression.

 

 

 

 
Yoga breaks the cycle of stress on a physiological, cognitive and emotional level. First, the movement helps increase “feel-good” hormones, like endorphins and balance stress hormones like cortisol. The postures also help release tension from the muscles of the body, lessening the stressful signals being sent to the brain. When you regulate your breath, breathing in a conscious, calmer manner, you send soothing messages to the brain, which lowers the intensity and abbreviates the stress response. Yoga also fosters a meditative and peaceful state of mind, helping ground you in the present.
 

Benefits of Yoga

Physiological

Psychological

Improves Sleep

Boosts Optimism

Releases Bodily Tension

Dispels Anger & Frustration

Releases Dopamine

Encourages Healthy Lifestyle

Lowers Cortisol

Fosters Motivation

Boosts Brain Health

Improves Mental Clarity

Lowers Blood Pressure

Increase Self-Esteem

Increases Serotonin

Interrupts the Stress Cycle

Relaxes Sympathetic Nervous System

Regulates Emotions

Regulates Adrenal glands

Relieves Anxiety

Releases Endorphins

Relieves Depression

 

Beneficial Yoga Postures

Anxiety

Depression

Bound Angle Pose

Corpse Pose

Cat & Cow Pose

Easy Pose

Child’s Pose

Legs Up Wall Pose

Seated Forward Bend

Cobra Pose

Head to Knee Forward Bend

Puppy Pose

Bridge

Dolphin Pose

Eagle Pose

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Dog

Reclining Bound Angle

Triangle

Upward Bow

Extended Triangle

Supported Shoulder Stand

 

 

 
 
 

 To benefit from yoga, you should practice it with regularity. 2 to three days a week for at least 10 minutes to begin if you have never done yoga or haven’t done it for some time. Increase your practice time incrementally as the postures become easier to hold and your transitions become smoother. Start with simpler standing and sitting postures, working your way towards deeper twists and bends that broaden your range of motion, flexibility, and strength. When you first begin, your focus should be body awareness and breathing techniques, this alone will have a major impact on your emotional and mental wellbeing. The following beginner poses are arranged in order of intensity. 

 

Even if you opt to go beyond home yoga and hire an instructor or attend classes, yoga is an activity that is low cost but high value. With consistency and dedication, yoga will help lower your physiological and psychological stress, helping break chronic cycles that influence anxiety and depression. As the saying goes amongst yoga practitioners, “when you own your breath, nothing can steal your peace”!