The modern world is faced with stress.
We always seem to be rushing here, there and everywhere in an attempt to juggle work with home and family.
It is no surprise that we end up stressed.
Being too wrung out can only lead to susceptibility to illness as well as a constant feeling of being tired and snappy with those around us.
Thankfully there are several things we can do to help ourselves cope better with the stresses of daily life and yoga is one of them.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why yoga can help alleviate stress.
Taking time out
The first and most significant thing we can do to rest the soul and brain is to take time out.
Practising yoga requires us to stop and focus on something different.
In a class, concentration will be needed, and the nature of the exercises combined with the breathing will make relaxing and letting go irresistible.
Sitting on your yoga mat becomes your island away from the worries of money, what you might cook, where you might go that weekend.
That part of your brain needs to be turned off, and yoga encourages you to seek mental quiet.
Calming the thoughts and shut out all extraneous chatter that pops into your mind forces you to focus on the yoga and nothing else.
This is good for the body and lowers the levels of stress hormones.
Generally when we race around in life breathing is just an automatic function.
It isn’t something we consciously think about it just happens.
Yoga has some particular breathing exercises that are deliberately contrived to work on our breathing patterns.
It may come as a surprise to learn that most people breathe in a much shallower way than the lungs can cope with.
Fully expanding the lungs and learning how to breathe correctly means that the body becomes calmer and there is more oxygen circulating the body which again helps with the battle of stress.
Shallow breathing mimics the fight or flight response which is not a state we can continuously maintain without suffering, so it is essential we learn to use our lungs to their full capacity, and this will, in turn, lead to lower levels of stress.
All forms of exercise are useful for releasing tension from the body, but something like yoga is particularly beneficial.
It encourages the lengthening of the limbs and allows the body to return to a more natural state before life took hold.
Being under stress can lead to hunched shoulders, sore necks and bad backs.
Improved posture allows the body to hold a better position which in turn means carrying ourselves better.
This places less stress on the body so pressure can be released and in turn pain levels and stiffness should decrease.
This is a positive cycle of activity and the longer you practice yoga, the longer and leaner your muscles will become.
This means that you will be able to stop carrying the stresses in your body because you have successfully learned to release them.