Stress is a natural part of life. However, when it becomes chronic or comes with chronic pain, your once happy life can feel like an endurance challenge. Whether you’ve got a chronic condition or need a way to manage overwhelming stress, yoga can help. Science has shown that regularly practicing yoga can improve many aspects of your health, including your mood, energy levels, and stress.
Reduce Stress One Breath at a Time
Yoga takes many forms from the invigorating to the relaxing. Those that include deep meditative breathing are the ones that affect your stress levels the most. Meditation on its own can be a powerful tool against stress as it can strengthen the connection between the brain’s logic and emotion centers. A balance between these two portions of the brain creates the emotional stability to handle the unexpected and maintain your mental health.
All forms of yoga use deep breathing, but those that slow the body enough to solely focus on the breath give you the benefits of both meditation and yoga. These types of yoga help the brain focus on the present moment instead of being overrun with stressful thoughts of the past or future.
Healing Power of Daily Poses
Yoga comes with physical benefits as well. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology explored yoga’s effects on the psychological and physical health of yoga on breast cancer survivors. Participants followed a three-month regimen of two 90-minute yoga sessions per week. At the end of the study, those that participated in yoga had less fatigue, better moods, and lower inflammation levels.
Further studies have found that regular yoga actually reduces the inflammatory proteins in the blood that are often caused by stress. With time, yoga can help you keep inflammation levels low and reduce your stress responses in tough situations.
Focus and Mindset
Thought has a powerful impact on physical and emotional health. Yoga combines non-judgemental thinking with physical poses that relieve tension, stretch tendons, and strengthen muscles.
The mental shift that comes with yoga creates an unseen mental strength. When you’re in the now, for a brief time, the troubles of yesterday and the stress of tomorrow disappear. Your body responds to those stress-free thoughts. However, you aren’t ignoring your problems. Constant exposure to stress increase inflammation and takes a toll on the body. You’re giving your body a break from them, a short time for stress to subside. Your mind and body need that time to reset and stay healthy.
Pull out your yoga mat and breathe deeply. For yoga to help in the most stressful of moments, like when you’re stuck in rush hour traffic or facing a tight deadline at work, you already need a good practice in place. Classes are an excellent way to start. You’ll get personal instruction to make sure you’re correctly doing poses. Plus, classes come with a social aspect that can provide social support. You can also opt for home DVDs or online instruction if a busy schedule stands in your way.
The power of yoga will bring the ability to slow your heart rate, lower stress, and relieve chronic pain. Give yourself time and keep at it. Before you know it, yoga will be the stress-relieving tool you can’t live without.