Saturday, 6 December 2014

How can yoga help with stress?

I have a whole series of videos on You Tube on stress, see

Here are some of the ways yoga can help relieve stress:-
• Most importantly yoga triggers the relaxation response and reduces negative thinking.
• The breathing techniques encourage extra oxygen to be brought to the body by increasing the capacity and elasticity of the lungs, which has a calming effect.  This is because the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which is concerned with ‘quieter’ bodily activities is activated (as opposed to the Sympathetic Nervous System which prepares the body for ‘fight or flight’)
• Inversions and forward bends bring fresh blood to the brain which calms the mind
• Twists ‘wring out’ toxins which stress the body
Backbends nourish the adrenals, located on top of the kidneys.  The adreals produce the 'stress' hormone cortisol and are more likely to produce the hormone if malnourished.
• Backbends open the chest encouraging deeper breathing which calms the body
• By releasing tension from the body, yoga also releases tension from the mind (remember the mind/body/spirit connection)
• Power yoga, Ashtanga yoga and vinyassa yoga ‘burn off’ the stress hormones
• If we develop the habit of staying centered through challenges on the mat by staying focused on the breath, eventually this transfers into our lives so when life is difficult we are more able to deal with it.
• One of the limbs of yoga is pratyahara which is turning your focus inwards through asanas such as forward bends and meditation.  In this way with practice we develop a ‘peaceful core’ that is untouched by many things that cause us stress.
Depending on your personality also stress has different effects which was mentioned when we were considering the Ayurvedic doshas (see You Tube).  If you are predominantly of the Pitta dosha your reaction to stress might be anger, irritability, high blood pressure and heart problems.  If you are of Vata constitution your reaction to stress might be to become anxious and fatigued whereas if you are of Kapha constitution your reaction to stress might be depression and difficulty concentrating.  Balancing your doshas will help therefore to reduce stress.

On the wellness blog, 40plusandalliswell I have been looking at the causes of stress, the effects of stress on your body and ways to reduce stress

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