Stress is a word which is used in all kinds of ways, and in today’s world it is applied to virtually every possible situation.
You’ll hear people saying they are ‘stressed’ about just about anything you could imagine, be it a college exam, their weight, a job interview, their kid’s soccer team trials, the plight of dolphins, the political upheaval in a far-off country or what to cook for dinner. No doubt you can add hundreds more.
You’ll hopefully see that the overuse of the word ‘stress’ means that it is a catch-all word for anything that we might be thinking about, ranging from mundane, everyday decisions, all the way up to extreme events that could life-changing or even life-threatening.
Given the vast array in terms of the specifics of what people may say stresses them, it is necessary for us to define what stress really is, and once we have done that, we can look at a way of reliving it, with the use of yoga.
Stress Can Be Positive
If you were to Google ‘definition of stress’ you’d likely end up being more confused than before you typed it into the search engine, given how many different answers come up. As we are looking at our well-being and how yoga can help relieve stress then we need a definition that relates to our mind and our body.
One of the most surprising points you may come across on many websites, including many medical ones, is that stress is ‘normal.’ Indeed stress, as defined as by many doctors, is the body’s reaction to anything that requires a response. These responses can be emotional, physical or mental.
That make senses if you think about how stress can have positive effects such as raising our awareness, motivating us, helping us to react quicker, and allowing us to deal with all kinds of individual events in our life.
There are all sorts of stress triggers that instinctively happen that we should welcome, such as reacting quickly while we are driving when someone cuts in front of us suddenly, or focusing our mind so that we can answer questions effectively during a job interview.
When Stress Becomes a Problem
Where the issues start, and where stress becomes a negative, is when the balance between stressful moments and the de-stressed periods in between, becomes skewed. Often this occurs, not through one single event, but often as a result of several things that happen, which cumulatively add to the level of stress someone is feeling.
One problem that medical experts have in terms of relieving a patient’s excess stress is that it can affect each one of us in different ways. Many people will have physical symptoms such as frequent headaches, stomach upsets or high blood pressure. For others, the symptoms may be more psychological in nature such as panic attacks or compulsive behavior.
Excessive stress can also play havoc with our emotions with examples being snappy with others or comfort eating.
Comfort eating is a double whammy as it can lead to us putting on weight, which not only impacts on our physical well-being, but it can then lead to further stress as we worry about weight gain, and how it is adversely impacting our appearance.
Thankfully, there is a yoga solution which can help you reverse the weight gain and relieve stress, called the ‘Yoga Burn Challenge.’ It is a program of yoga videos that can help you look better, and feel better too, including stress relief, burning fat, muscle toning, and self-confidence.
One of the most fundamental principles of yoga is that the body and mind are as one and that one impacts upon the other. This applies whether the impact is negative or positive. It follows that when you have stress in any part of your body or your mind, then it is undoubtedly going to lead to stresses, or more specifically ailments, pains, or illness, elsewhere in your body.
Where yoga’s fundamentals can help us is that any positive effects which it can impart on your body can, therefore, have a positive impact on other parts of your body. A simple example of this are the many yoga routines that focus on relaxing muscles, which in turn can have a positive impact on one’s mental well-being.
How Yoga Can Relieve Stress
As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, yoga has many routines, and while some help to relax muscles, there are many other benefits, and indeed other routines which focus on other aspects of your body and mind as you will see from the following two examples.
Although this might seem very simplistic to some, being able to calm and control your breathing can have huge benefits, particularly in relation to reducing levels of stress. This can be as basic as breathing in and exhaling through your nose but doing so with a loud breath.
Another technique which many yoga participants benefit from is when any part of their body feels tight or tense, they imagine that they are sending their breath to that area.
It would be impossible to outline every yoga pose in an article, but we can discuss their principles. Yoga poses are designed to impart many benefits on our bodies which in turn can have positive effects on our mental health, including, the reduction of stress. Many of these poses simply allow you to sit in a comfortable and relaxed position for a few moments, which in itself can only be beneficial.
There are also yoga poses that improve your body’s flexibility, promote better circulation and enhance your range of motion. All of these can lead to better health with some of the specifics being increased levels of energy, reduction in weight, lower levels of anxiety and lower susceptibility to acquiring many chronic conditions.
If you would like to discover some very effective breathing exercises and poses, you should look at the ‘Yoga Burn Challenge.’ It has been created by Zoe Bray-Cotton who is an internationally credited yoga instructor and includes a comprehensive program of yoga exercises that can assist your body and mind in many positive ways, including stress relief.