There are many, many benefits to practicing yoga, and stress relief is just one of them—but it’s a big one. Many scientists now believe that stress is an underlying issue that contributes to a huge variety of diseases, including digestive disease, some types of cancer, obesity, skin conditions, and many more.
By ridding yourself of the stress in your life (or learning how to manage it more effectively), you can give yourself a leg up when it comes to disease prevention. That’s huge! At the time of year when kids are taking exams and sports are wrapping up, life can sometimes feel out of control.
But yoga helps.
Here are 5 ways in which yoga help to alleviate stress and teach you to deal with it in ways that are productive and wise:
It Teaches You to Truly Breathe
We all breathe, but learning to breathe consciously and mindfully at times of stress can be a huge asset to your health and well-being. Breathing deeply and purposefully allows your body to take the heart rate down, circulate more oxygen to the bloodstream, and feed every single little cell with nutrients.
When this happens, our body is given a signal that we do not need to be in fight or flight, and we can relax.
And we do.
Yoga Invites Humility into Your Life
Practicing yoga makes you realize that everyone walks a different path, and that your problems are not unique to you. You’re not the only one in class with a rebellious teenage son or daughter. You’re not the only one struggling at work.
And you’re not the only one with tight hamstrings.
Yoga teaches us that although we are each immensely important, we move as one and all need to respect one another in order to reap life’s rewards.
This realization can be deeply helpful in combating the stress that crept up on you during your drive to the studio, or anywhere else.
Poses and Postures Help Reduce Inflammation
Your organs feel your stress, and although you may not feel the effects immediately, they do, and it’s only a matter of time until you recognize that.
Your body responds to stress by creating inflammation. In an effort to protect itself, your amazing body creates a buffer between its very important parts, but this buffer is not meant to be permanent or chronic.
Yoga helps to reduce and eliminate inflammation by increasing circulation (bringing more oxygen to the brain and body), calming the mind, and creating a collection of healthy thoughts and feelings within ourselves that we can draw from when we feel the need to.
Like a mental health toolbox!
You Learn to Be Still
Think that 10 minutes in savasana is just a show? Think again. Some people have a harder time staying in savasana than they do in pigeon! Why? Because laying still in the day without expectation of sleep invites thoughts into your mind that you may not want there. But dealing with those thoughts in a safe place instead of avoiding them is the healthier alternative.
Learning to be still can help you eliminate a lot of stress—that’s why meditation is so amazing for your body, too!
Competition Stays at the Door
Many of us compete with each other and even ourselves without even realizing it. While competition can definitely be healthy, it’s also unnecessary to be steeped in all the time. Learning to put aside competitive feelings can have a very positive affect on your body—and your stress levels.