Why Yoga is Excellent for Relieving Stress - Examined Existence

Why Yoga is Excellent for Relieving Stress


One of the best activities for managing stress is Yoga. Yoga is a form of breathing exercises and postures, originating from early Hindu teachings. Many throughout the world now practice this ancient art, both for the psychological and health benefits of Yoga.

Yoga benefits include: flexibility, muscle strength, improvement of posture, improved respiration, elevated mood, better concentration, and the relief and management of stress.  We experience stress when our body or mind senses a threat. While this may help us in some situations, when it becomes more than we can bear, we need a way to relieve it before it damages our health. Among the multitude of health benefits of yoga are the relief and management of both stress and anxiety.

Yoga Benefits

Studies have shown that, even after only one Yoga class, one can begin to feel a decrease in stress and an increase in relaxation. These immediate health benefits of Yoga can present in several ways. First, there are some types of Yoga that employ meditation, which can help still the hectic thoughts of an anxious mind. More commonly, Yoga classes will focus on breathing deeply and steadily, which also calms the mind. At a physiological level, yoga can also relieve stress by catalyzing several chemical responses in the body, none the least of which is decreasing the release of neurotransmitters, thereby creating feelings of tranquility. Yoga can also improve one’s ability to concentrate; an effective tool in managing stress related to daily problems.

Stress can be the result of many factors and situations in life. The health benefits of Yoga have been shown to address symptoms that both cause and result from stress. We may feel stress from a lack of self esteem or difficulty with social interactions. Recent studies show that yoga can improve one’s self acceptance, as well as decrease social anxiety and depression. Perhaps the stress of life’s problems has made it difficult to concentrate.  Research shows that yoga can also improve concentration and focus.

Stress and anxiety can also cause and result from health issues. When this vicious cycle is not addressed, it can worsen and become a never ending wheel of suffering. A recent report from the Mayo Clinic reveals the ways that the benefits of Yoga can relieve stress. The key is the cooperation of mind and body in Yoga practice. Too often in the busy modern world we push our minds and bodies to the limit. Yoga helps us to become aware of the state of both our minds and bodies, and bring them back into harmony with each other. When these two aspects act together in the Yoga practice, the natural result is a reduction of stress and anxiety.

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Research into different types of exercise, including yoga, reveals that physical activities may be proven to reduce stress if they involve four key factors. These are “aerobics, noncompetitiveness, predictability, and repetitiveness,” and they accurately describe an effective yoga workout. Yoga may even be more effective than traditional aerobic activities for improving mood and reducing stress.

Other Health Benefits Of Yoga

In addition to reducing stress, there are many other health benefits of Yoga. It’s a great way to increase general physical fitness and promote weight loss. Yoga can also help manage serious health problems and has been shown to be a very effective treatment for chronic back pain. These physical improvements will also lead to a reduction in stress, as one’s body and mind become stronger and healthier. There are several types of Yoga to choose from.

Types Of Yoga

There are more than ten styles of Yoga.  However the most popular ones are Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Bikram.

  • Vinyasa is known to be one of the more rigorous forms of Yoga.  It concentrates on breathing in conjucntion with your poses.  Vinyasa Yoga poses and movement revolve quit a bit around the Sun Saluation pose.
  • Ashtanga is called Power Yoga.  It is the most physically demanding out of all the types of Yoga because of the constant movement from one pose to another.  After all, it is known as Power Yoga for a reason.
  • Bikram Yoga is also known as Hot Yoga in which you practice Yoga (in a series of 26 poses) in a hot room with temperatures turned up to well over 90 degress and no more than 100 degrees Farenheit.

No matter what types of Yoga you practice, they are all effective forms of stress management.  But be sure to research each to see which type suits your physical attributes and needs best.

Photo credit: http://www.aisquared.com

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