Life is stressful! The key is to keep stress manageable and positive – the happier you are, the more you laugh, and the longer you will live. Yoga is a peaceful way to assist with letting go of your stresses and worries of the day.
Stress affects us on a physical, emotional and mental level. When life is stressful, rediscover the tools to take ownership of your health – how to relax, how to breathe properly, and how to destress your body and mind. Figure out what makes you shine, what lights up your life and what makes you totally and utterly happy.
YOGA AND STRESS
In Sanskrit, the word ‘yoga’ means joining or uniting. Essentially, yoga is uniting body, mind and soul. Yoga is a state of consciousness, stability, balance and peace. It is about going internally – learning and listening to your body and its subtle messages and about bringing balance not only when you are on your mat but when you are involved in your daily life as well.
For me, yoga has helped tremendously with coping with stress and unthinkable situations. I am calmer when in difficult circumstances and I find I respond to situations rather than react to them. I am more accepting of others and of myself and I know that even though I might be going through a tough time right now – if I relax, calm down and take a few deep breaths, solutions will come to me. All in all, I feel I am a lighter, happier and gentler person because of my yoga.
YOGA TIPS FOR STRESS
- Take deep breaths
Most people don’t breathe properly. We don’t use our full lung capacity, which, in yogic terms, means that we are not fully allowing Prana and Life force into our body. Think about it, when you are stressed what happens to your breathing?
On a physical level the most important way to breathe is using complete yogic breathing. Breathing in slowly, expanding the abdomen, then into the ribcage, and finally the upper portion of the lungs. Then breathe out in the same manner. By using full diaphragmatic breathing, we overcome tension, fatigue, and even depression. It improves posture, tension in the neck and shoulders and is effectively destressing for the body.
- Learn to relax
Our social life, work, food and even ‘entertainment’ put more stress on our body and minds. Most people don’t know how to relax properly or don’t make the time to do it and many have forgotten that rest and relaxation are Nature’s way of recharging. Even while trying to rest, the average person wastes a lot of the body’s physical and mental energy through tension.
Yoga helps relieve stress by prescribing a period of complete relaxation when practically no energy or Prana is being consumed. This is called Sivasana or Corpse pose. When in Sivasana you are completely relaxing your whole body, you send a message to the mind to bring relaxation to tired muscles. By using this auto suggestion and focusing on each body part you are consciously allowing the body to rest and relax.
- Stress-free yoga postures
In yoga the physical postures are called Asanas, which means steady easy pose. This is because the yoga postures are held for some time. The fundamental difference between yogic exercises and other exercise is that physical culture usually emphasises violent movement of the muscles. Yoga Asanas are practised slowly, reducing lactic acid build-up, fatigue, violent movements and stress on the organs and body.
During yoga Asana practice the focus is not only on strengthening muscle and fitness, as with many other types of physical exercise, but the focus is on health for your whole system.
Optimum health is created whereby all the organs are functioning properly, the endocrine system is stimulated so hormones are kept balanced, and you create strength and flexibility of the spine thereby increasing circulation to the nervous system.
Yoga regards your body as a vessel that houses your Soul and so the yoga Asanas are designed not only to develop the body, but they also broaden the mental and spiritual capacities as well.
One hour of practice will give you one hour of exercise, one hour of deep relaxation and one hour of meditation – working on your body, mind and Soul.
- Positive thinking
Your reality is subjective to your truth. It is YOUR reality, nobody else’s. It is the reality that you have chosen according to your belief systems, your past experiences and the knowledge that you have gained in your lifetime.
If something is not working for you, or is creating stress in your life, then you have three choices: remove yourself from the situation, accept the situation, or change the situation.
You have the choice to change your perception and shift your reality. Remember, you choose to live the life you want to live. You choose your experiences.
So choose to live your life from a happy, positive, vibrant and sunny place.
By using these tools you can fight stress and find peace and serenity.
A little bit of yoga every day is a great way to prevent stress. By introducing a regular yoga practice into your daily life you will find more time to be calm and still, and spend less time running around being frantically busy.
Remember: ‘Meditate for half an hour every day, unless you are really busy; then a full hour is needed.’
Find the time to relax on your mat. Your body and mind will thank you for it.