Utilizing Yoga For Chronic Stress
Stress is a common factor in modern life. Everyone has it. The stress of work, family, home ownership, keeping up with the Jones and the new era of “Pinterest perfect” creates a standard that no one is able to keep up. Stress itself can create more stress, starting a cycle that is difficult to break. Stress is deadly, causing illnesses ranging from fevers to ulcers, high blood pressure and heart attacks. Eliminating stress from your life is essential in order to maintain good health. What is a person to do to deal with their stress? These days, many people are turning to yoga for chronic stress relief.
In a stressful life, fitness often falls by the wayside, making the stressed person feel more down and have less energy. Yoga provides physical exercise ranging from easy stretches to more challenging poses that help increase energy, release endorphins and generally make a person feel better. Also, because of the versatility that yoga provides, virtually everyone can find the correct modification, even if illness or injury are factors. Injuries due to falls are a major cause of stress, especially in the elderly and handicapped; these injuries can be prevented by using yoga to improve balance.
The specific exercise that yoga provides helps to manage stress in a way other exercises do not. Specific yoga poses encourage flexibility, blood flow and deep breathing which translates into a calmer countenance in your everyday life. Yoga has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and reduce muscle tension, all factors and symptoms caused by stress. Improved physical fitness can also increase self-esteem, allowing you to feel better about yourself, thus allowing you to manage your stress more effectively.
Yoga encourages deep breathing which is an excellent stress management technique. Shallow breathing causes the adrenal gland to release stress hormones and can cause illness. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to lower your blood pressure and heart rate, allowing you to calm down and release anxiety. Teaching yourself to breathe deeply on a regular basis also helps keep the lungs clear and decreases instances of pneumonia in cases of respiratory illness.
Yoga helps to fight stress outside of physical fitness as well. One of the main sources of stress for the modern person stems from their smart phone. That little device that most people can’t live without also causes many people to be reachable 24/7. While the phone is a useful tool, it can also mean that you are reachable by work, husband, kids, email, texts, and Facebook notifications endlessly. An organized yoga session gives a stressed person an excuse, actually a very good reason, to turn off the phone for an hour. That time provides a good reminder that the world actually does continue to revolve even if you’re not immediately reachable.
Stress may be an unavoidable reality of a modern, fast-paced life. It doesn’t mean however, that life has to be inherently stressful. Practicing yoga can increase physical fitness and teach you how to quiet your mind, both techniques that can minimize the damaging effects of chronic stress. It may not seem possible, but you can manage the day to day craziness with nothing more than a little sweat and a lot of stretching.