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How Yoga Helps To Reduce Stress

Yoga For Inner Peace: A Stress

Goat yoga helps reduce stress

Stress demands all of our energy. When our batteries are so depleted, we cant deal, and anything can push us over the edge. Its like being stuck in semi-panic mode, where there is very little exhale, and the neck, head, and shoulders are likely to be tense. Yoga gives us tools to cope. Here, Colleen Saidman Yee demonstrates eight poses for stress relief. 

Risks Of A Yoga Practice

Yoga is a low-risk activity, but it can cause injuries, primarily sprains or strains. Poor technique, pre-existing conditions, or simply trying too hard can cause injury. Some injuries may be traced to teachers with inadequate training. The risk of injury doesn’t keep most yoga fans from their practice. Among those who have been hurt while practicing yoga, fewer than 1% gave it up.

 The risks of yoga are higher for older individuals, who may have less muscle strength and lower bone density. You should talk to your doctor about your exercise program if you experience injuries. Also, you should never use yoga practice as a substitute for medical care.

American Psychological Association: “Yoga as a practice tool.”


Depression and Anxiety: “Yoga for anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “New survey reveals the rapid rise of yoga â and why some people still havenât tried it.”

Iranian Journal of Public Health: “Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors- Systematic Review Article.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Yoga for Sleep.” 

Journal of Affective Disorders: “A systematic review of yoga for major depressive disorder.” 


Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine: “The Efficacy of Yoga as a Form of Treatment for Depression.”

Journal of Health and Social Behavior: “Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy.” 

MentalHelp.net: “Yoga for Mental Health.”

Yoga Pose #14 Ustrasana: Camel Pose

This yoga pose works effectively well for stress reduction and emotional balance.

Instructions:


Kneel on the floor with your hands resting on the back of your pelvis (fingers pointing towards the floor. Now, lean back and place your hands on your ankle, with your face towards the ceiling. For beginners holding the pelvis area and leaning back a little will also do the needful.

Why is it a Great Yoga Pose for Stress Relief?
  • This pose helps in chakra healing and releases energy.
  • It is a powerful yoga pose for stress relief.
  • It helps us to regulate our emotions effectively.

Required time for this Relaxing Yoga Pose: Even 30 seconds in this pose will help you release stress.

Video Guide of This Yoga Pose to Reduce Stress:

What Are The Effects Of Cortisol On The Body

Too much cortisol that is flowing around in our system for extended periods of time can lead to a host of unwanted side effect, like visceral or belly fat, increased risk of chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, asthma or Alzheimers, high blood pressure, unbalanced blood sugar, diminished bone density and breakdown of muscle tissue.

Yoga Pose #10 Bridge Pose: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

16 yoga exercises for stress relief

It is a wonderful yoga pose to relieve stress and anxiety. But, thats not it! There are various mental health benefits that it has to offer.


Instructions:

Lie down on your back, with your feet placed flat on the ground, and arms alongside. Inhale and lift your hips and chest from the ground .

Why is it a Great Yoga Pose for Stress Relief?
  • This yoga pose has a therapeutic impact on the high level of blood pressure.
  • It works as a gentle stretching for the back and legs.
  • This pose helps in the reduction of anxiety, stress, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and backaches.

Required time for this Relaxing Yoga Pose: 30-60 seconds are good to start with.

Video Guide of This Yoga Pose to Reduce Stress:

Yoga Pose #12 Halasana: Plow Pose

Although a comparatively difficult pose for beginners this yoga pose does reduce stress and stimulates various glands.


Instructions:

Lie down on your back. Now, inhale and slowly lift your legs and hips up towards the ceiling.

Slowly lower your toes to the floor . Hold this position for as long as you can and release it back to normal.

Why is it a Great Yoga Pose for Stress Relief?
  • This pose reduces stress and fatigue
  • It is therapeutic for body aches and insomnia
  • Along with stretching muscles, it also stimulates the thyroid gland

Required time for this Relaxing Yoga Pose: Initially 5-10 seconds will help you experience this pose.

Video Guide of This Yoga Pose to Reduce Stress:


What Does The Research Say About Yoga For Stress

Plenty of scientific evidence supports the stress-relieving benefits of yoga.

According to a 2018 study, yoga had a positive result on women who practiced Hatha yoga 3 times a week for 4 weeks. After 12 sessions, they experienced significant reductions in stress, depression, and anxiety .

These results suggest that yoga can be a complementary medicine and may decrease the need for prescription drugs. More in-depth studies are required to investigate the long-term role of yoga in treating stress, depression, and anxiety.

A small 2020 study in adult men suggested that yoga stretches reduce cortisol levels and have a positive effect on parasympathetic nerve activity, which encourages relaxation .

Researchers in another 2020 study found that people who did an 11-minute yoga nidra meditation for 30 days reduced their stress levels, enhanced their overall well-being, and improved their sleep quality .


Practicing yoga nidra also boosted mindfulness and reduced negative emotions. These benefits stayed the same at a follow-up 6 weeks later.

What Is Yoga For Relaxation And Stress Relief

Modern technology has made life extremely easy for people but that does not mean that everyone is leading a peaceful life. Everyone is leading busy lives juggling work, and personal life causing stress and anxiety. People follow different techniques when answering how to relieve stress and some just ignore it. Yoga for stress relief is one of the best ways to get relaxation for stress. Yoga is a combination of physical and mental practice that helps lower blood pressure and heart rate which are the main symptoms of stress. The best part of yoga for stress management is that it can be done by people of all ages and abilities. Yoga for stress relief has become a popular form of exercise for a few decades now.

Which Angas Should You Focus On

Restorative Yoga: To Reduce Anxiety and Manage Stress Levels

Among these eight, the sana, Pryma, and Dhyna are most practiced ones. They mainly focus on the physical body and mind. This physical activity helps us in relieving stress. Because of the concentration required, our small-large troubles tend to melt away when you practice yoga Yoga.

When one concentrates intensely on what the body is doing, brings calmness to the mind. The meditation techniques in Yoga increases the concentration on one thing. It helps in disengagement from the thoughts, which makes the mind calm, thereby reducing the stress. It also increases your productivity

What Is Stress Exactly

Stress is defined as the state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Stress is basically a physiological and psychological response to an event that upsets our personal balance in some way.

When one experiences a threat, physically or emotionally; the bodys defenses start working for the rapid response to that threat; known as fight or flight response.

How Does Yoga Relieve Stress Stored In The Body

Though some stress can be beneficial and even healthy, sometimes the tension can get stored in our body and negatively disrupt nearly every system and muscle. It can reduce our immune system, cause digestive discomfort, and even increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. 

Luckily, there are a few things we can do to help reduce these risks, such as reducing our stress levels by practicing yoga. Yes, yoga absolutely does relieve physical stress in the body, says Ng. By bringing awareness to the breath and to the areas in the body that need attention, it gives the body an outlet to release tension and tightness in the muscles.

Develop Connection Between The Mind And Body

When the mind and body are connected, theres generally a greater sense of harmony and ease in our lives. The body sends important signals when something is off balance, which happens so often when we are under pressure. Having the ability to respond is therefore really important for our wellbeing.

Yoga teaches us to be sensitive to each movement and to listen to our bodies. The practice encourages us to exist in the present moment and to live in a more mindful, conscious and connected way.

Thunderbolt Pose With Eagle Arms

How Does Yoga Relieve Stress? â Excedrin®

This is an easy way to sit, and we add a shoulder release with Eagle arms. This pose also creates a broad back, which is the opposite of what happens when we are stuck in stress mode. Usually, we push and squeeze the back to propel us forward.

Kneel and sit back on your heels. For Eagle arms, bend your elbows and bring the right elbow into the left, with the backs of your hands facing each other. Then pass your right hand in front of your left and bring the palms together, thumbs pointing toward the tips of your nose . Hold for 5 breaths, then reverse your arms and hold for 5 breaths.

Heres How Yoga Is Beneficial To Reduce Stress And Increase Mindfulness

Deblina Chatterjee  | 

Stress is a major factor for many lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, depression, diabetes, etc. In order to deal with stress, we need an effective solution that can help us overcome mental disturbances and allow us to live peacefully.

Extreme stress can disrupt our lives including our ability to function properly.  There are solutions available in Yoga like meditation and physical practices that can help us overcome stress and live a joyous life. So, Grand Master Akshar talks about how yoga is highly beneficial to heal a stressed mind.

Relationship between yoga and a stressed mind:

Meditation to reduce stress

There are many powerful techniques that yoga offers us which can be therapeutic and healing for stress. Stithi Dhyan is one such meditation technique that builds our observation powers making us watchful and aware of our immediate surroundings. Meditation slows down your reactions and enables you to exercise a pause in your thought process. This in turn allows you to respond better to situations rather than impulsively react from a state of negative emotion. Yoga improves the clarity of mind and helps you become more focused on your goals and objectives.

Physical practice to eliminate stress

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Find Calm In 60 Seconds With This Guided Grounding Practice

Nothing drains your sense of peace and drags you off-kilter like a jittery mind on overdrive. Want to get unstuck and quit dwelling on the why? Colleen Saidman Yee personally turns to this one-minute antidote when anxiety takes over. This brief yet powerful practice brings you squarely back to centerand you can do it anywhere. 

How Stress Changes Your Body

Many changes take place in our body in this process. When the threat is sensed, a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus sets off a chemical alarm, and stress hormone is secreted. It makes the person ready for the response to the threat. The response can be of fight or flight.

During this process, all the energy in the body is used for reducing the reaction time for the response. At the same time, body processes not essential for immediate survival; such as the digestive system or reproductive system slow down.

This happens when a physical threat is there. Nowadays, most of the people experience the threat to emotional balance, rather than a physical one. There are many reasons for this; such as small things like an argument with a friend or family member, monthly bills, traffic jam, etc.; or big things like an accident, death of loved one, etc. These are the main causes of stress.

The problem with the stress response is that, the more it is activated, it becomes harder to shut off. Instead of levelling once the threat is passed; the stress hormones, heart rate, blood pressure remain elevated.

Moreover, extended or repeated activation of stress response affects physical health adversely. It increases the risk of everything right from heart disease, obesity, depression, memory problems, etc. It has a strong impact on our physical, as well as mental health. Here are some of the effects of stress, according to this study

How To Use Yoga To Improve Your Mental Health

3 Yoga Poses to Reduce Anxiety, Worry & Stress

The best way to learn yoga is with a qualified teacher, either in a private session or in a group. A yoga teacher can correct your poses and show you how to modify them if necessary. You can use blocks, straps, and other items to make some poses easier. You can even do yoga in a chair instead of on the floor. 

It’s also possible to learn yoga online or from a book or DVD. But the best way to avoid injury is to take an in-person yoga class. Once you have the basics down, you can use books and videos to help you practice. You will benefit more from yoga if you do it at home between classes, and online classes can keep your home practice interesting. If you are comfortable doing yoga at home, you can practice when you experience extra stress, sleeplessness, or other challenges.

Why Is This Relevant To Yoga Practitioners

One of the most popular reasons that people report for starting a yoga practice is to reduce stress. While there does seem to be evidence that yoga reduces stress, we donât know how that happens. Based on this review of research conducted by those that have begun to study that question, it seems likely that there are multiple ways in which yoga can contribute to reduced stress. Some of those mechanisms may be related to the effects of the embodiment that happens when we do yoga postures.

However, itâs important to continue exploring this question as the variables involved can make it especially difficult to study. Much of the yoga research that has been published on yoga postures fails to describe what postures are used in the study, in what order theyâre performed, how often theyâre done, etc. Similarly, research on stress often fails to define stress and specifically what aspects of stress are being evaluated.

In order to learn more about how yoga reduces stress, and therefore have the potential to refine practices to make them more effective for this purpose, we need to be specific about what we are studying. Specific musculoskeletal effects of different yoga practices vary. So, itâs likely that effects on other systems vary too. While this review of research on yoga and stress offers some possible reasons for how yoga reduces stress, more research is still needed to fully answer that question.

Standing Forward Fold Pose

Uttanasana has many benefits which include quieting a busy mind, promoting calmness, and balancing the nervous system. Its also mostly used as a transition between poses.

Uttanasana stretches:Your hamstrings, calves, hips, and back.Uttanasana helps with:Standing Forward Fold helps to reduce stress and fatigue, stimulates the liver and kidneys, and relieves headaches and insomnia.

How to do Standing Forward Fold

  • From Tadasana or simply your neutral standing position, bend your knees and hinge forward from your hips, placing your hands in front of your feet. Remember to engage your core and exhale as you fold.
  • Shift the weight to the balls of your feet. If your hamstrings are too tight, bend your knees slightly to prevent strain on your lower back. If you dont have tight hamstrings, lengthen through the back of your legs. Remember to keep the weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Grab hold of each elbow with opposite hands. Focus on softening your jaw, neck, around your eyes, and clearing thoughts from your mind.
  • Hold the pose for five breaths, then slowly rise back up to Tadasana.

Tips

  • While practicing this asana, imagine your worries flowing from your head all the way down to your feet, and being completely absorbed by the ground.
  • Take your time coming out of this pose, especially if you have low blood pressure.

Yoga Pose #4 Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

It is a highly effective yoga pose for stress reduction. Along with it has many physical health benefits to offer like bringing relief in asthma.

Instructions:

Lie down on your stomach. Place your hands near your shoulder. Now, slowly inhale and lift your chest from the floor with your hands placed in the same position.

Why is it a Great Yoga Pose for Stress Relief?
  • This yoga pose provides with immediate relaxation
  • It eases our breathing process by opening up our chest
  • Pain in muscles is also reduced by this yoga pose

Required time for this Relaxing Yoga Pose: 30 seconds are good enough to relax yourself.

Video Guide of This Yoga Pose to Reduce Stress:

Is Yoga Good For Depression

Beginner Yoga Poses to Help Busy Mums Reduce Stress

Yoga can help with depression. Research from the shows that yoga exercises have potentially beneficial effects on depressive disorders.

Another clinical study by the University of St. Catherine School of Social Work indicates that yoga can be an effective intervention for depression in diverse populations of varying physical capabilities, especially when yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation exercises are combined.

What Is Yoga For Relaxation And Stress Relief Exercises

Many people think that relaxation means watching their favourite movie or binging on a snack in front of the TV. But this does not help in reducing stress and its harmful side effects. Stress relief yoga or other types of stress management should be done to activate the bodys natural response. Yoga for stress can help in bringing the mind and body to balance. Yoga for relaxation and stress relief helps do just that. It involves:Relaxation exercisesRhythmic exercisesDeep breathingMeditation and more. The yoga for stress management exercises can be as gentle as you want or can be strenuous and challenging. Depending on your needs and ability there are many types of yoga forms. Stress relief yoga, like other types, includes the three main elements like the physical poses, controlled breathing, and deep relaxation.

Anxiety And Yoga Therapy

We tend to think of anxiety as a response to stressful circumstances. Whether its butterflies in the stomach or cant-sit-still-nerves, theres a wide range anxiety we can experience on an occasional basis that is unpleasant, but endurable and to a certain extent, rational.

In contrast, when people with an anxiety disorder are asked to describe an anxiety attack, they often say a variation of I thought I was going to die. Whether its a persistent feeling of dread or intermittent panic, the hyperarousal of the fight/flight survival response creates a feeling of urgent fear and unignorable physical symptoms. So how can someone begin to calm down when their body is telling them that they are in mortal danger?

Meditation, visualization, and focusing on breathing can help with letting go of worry and fear. The overall practice of yoga can elicit the relaxation response, allowing both the body and mind to gain a sense of calm and ease.

Katharina Star, PhD. Counsellor Specialising in Anxiety

Yoga therapy can help people in this situation because they arent being asked to rationalise their way out of anxiety. Instead, they are given tools that help them recognise the thoughts, feelings and actions that lead to heightened anxiety, and enact effective self-soothing methods. In a yoga class, they are also unconsciously learning to regulate their stress response and building resilience to stress.

Why Use Yoga As An Adjunct Treatment For Anxiety

Yoga leads to a cessation of the fluctuations of the mind

Pantanjali

The impact of anxiety can be severe, and there are times that people feel dissatisfied with the solutions they are currently presented. While medication is often a vital part of any treatment plan, patients can sometimes be uncomfortable with side-effects or the thought of a difficult withdrawal. According to Baldwin and Polkinghorn , 50% of people prescribed pharmacological intervention reported an improvement in symptoms, and a US-based study concluded that up to 30% of patients may be treatment resistant finding front-line interventions ineffective.

This goes some way to explain why 56% of those living with anxiety disorders seek complementary and alternative medicine hinting at a widespread desire for further support outside of traditional treatment plans. With a growing body of scientific literature to guide clinical practice in applying yoga as a treatment of anxiety, yoga therapy can step into this gap and provide additional support helping people regulate their stress response, increase their resiliency and manage their anxiety.

Some postures are challenging, but you are learning to relax under physical duress and this can help you handle long-term anxiety.

Heather Mason

How Yoga Helps Relieve Stress

Easy Yoga to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

As yoga becomes increasingly more popular, many people are turning to it as an antidote for stress and anxiety. Weve all heard that this ancient practice helps us relax, but many dont know exactly what the stress-reducing techniques are and how they help us.

Yoga helps relieve mental stress and anxiety by allowing time to reconnect with the present moment and putting our racing thoughts on pause, says Kevin Ng, yoga instructor and former Fitbit ambassador. This perspective allows us to zoom out and see the full picture versus the tunnel vision our emotions put us in at times.

Read on to learn about the benefits behind having a yoga practice:

How Yoga Can Help Reduce Stress

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Yoga has long been known to be a great antidote to stress. Yoga combines many popular stress-reducing techniques, including exercise and learning to control the breath, clear the mind, and relax the body. As yoga becomes increasingly popular, more and more people are discovering the benefits this ancient practice brings to their stressful lives. Establishing a consistent yoga routine is the best way to experience the difference yoga can make. Start with a stress management yoga routine that is intended for beginners who think they don’t have time for yoga.

How Yoga Can Reduce Stress Levels

If youre feeling stressed over the past few weeks or even the past month or you feel your mental health is getting worse, heres a way on handling it through yoga.

When it comes to managing your stress, yoga can help you slow your body down and process whats going around you. As you do the poses, meditating and even breathing can help you feel good.

You can control and improve your breathing with the techniques you’ll learn in yoga. Photo credit: Indoindians.com

When you practice yoga, you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system that is part of the autonomic nervous system, Yoga certificate coordinator and professor, Alix Plum said. Also if youre practicing poses, for example, you can work on relaxing the body by, you know, the physical activity, and sending endorphins to the brain, which make you feel good.

It can also help you with spiritual practices.

Its kind of training yourself to practice being in the moment, yoga professor, Duron said, Yoga is a great physical practice. Its a great mental practice and integrates spiritual practice as well.

Plum mentions that with meditation you can reach nirvana and relieve stress.

There are eight limbs in yoga, its a well-rounded way of you know, being a good human. So doing all of these things lead us to, to that pit, that place where we just feel fantastic, body and soul.

Cat and cow is great pose to warm up and can help stimulate the organs in your body. Photo credit: Ariana Molina

How Do Sanas Help Reduce Stress

The sanas, or Yogic postures; are useful in the reduction of stress. these postures work mainly on the brain and nerve connections. There are two functional parts of the brain which are involved in the process of stress. One of them is emotional part; which serves the emotional function of the brain. Another one is a logical part; which serves the cognitive function.

The emotional part is able to initiate the stress response, while the logical part always tries to turn off the stress response. it also tries to restrain the emotional part of the brain. When the stress response is turned off, the signals from the part of the nervous system which conserves energy and helps in increasing normal body functions ; are activated. These signals help in relaxing the body.

The stress response and relaxing signals travel through the body along a particular path. There are some switch -like structures along this path, which are located in the neck.

Every time one holds a posture, the logical brain is activated. Also, the movements involved in the postures cause the relaxation signals to turn on. This stress circuit gets trained when these postures are practiced regularly for a longer period of time. This helps in the reduction of stress.

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