Yoga has been around for centuries and is one of the oldest practices of self-development and healing. It involves breathing control, physical poses, and meditation. While it may have originated in the east, it’s quickly spread around the world.
Many studies have found that practicing Yoga at any time of the day can help with reducing your stress levels. In addition, it improves your mood, increases mindfulness, and provides physical benefits.
Now that we know that Yoga helps with stress let’s look at how it does so.
1. Better Sleep
Stress can affect your ability to sleep properly, and this can leave you exhausted. Yoga can help improve the quality of your sleep. Some of the Asanas (poses) that are known to do that are Balasana (Child’s Pose), Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose), and Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose).
You can do each of these with the help of a pillow or two. Additionally, it’s helpful to breathe slow and deep to bring your body to rest. A good night’s rest can reduce your stress right away! In fact, a study found that its participants’ quality of sleep improved by 11% when they practiced Kundalini meditation and regulated breathing for eight weeks.
2. Increased Energy
Yoga involves a lot of breathing exercises, and these are critical for bringing your body to a relaxed state. Slow breathing patterns in Yoga include techniques for inhaling and exhaling as well. These can bring in the much needed positive energy into your body.
When you take slow, deep breaths, you’re able to take in more oxygen into your body. This allows the oxygen to reach your organs and pass through them, leaving you in a relaxed state.
3. Confidence Boost
Stress reduces the ability to make decisions in one’s life with confidence and ease. You may end up feeling indecisive and dependent on others for making decisions for you. Practicing Yoga regularly can help you reduce your stress levels and thus, improve your confidence.
4. Reduced Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is the main stress hormone of the body. If high levels of cortisol persist in your body even once you’ve dealt with the pressure, you may feel deeply stressed. Yoga can help with reducing these cortisol levels as it combines both physical movement and mindfulness. By consistently practicing Yoga at least twice a week, you can reduce your cortisol levels.
Some of the asanas that are particularly useful for reducing cortisol levels are:
Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
Uttanasana (Forward Fold)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog).
5. Improved Concentration
A common problem people face when they are stressed is that of forgetfulness. When something is troubling or disturbing you, it can be difficult to recall things. The mind tends to become confused in such situations. Practicing Yoga can help you overcome stress and improve your concentration. This can help deal with situations effectively with a calm and composed mind.
6. Reduced Muscle Tension and Anxiety
When one is stressed or anxious, the muscles tend to get in a tensed state. This is especially true for the neck, shoulders, and back. When you practice Yoga regularly, the muscle tension will gradually reduce. Yoga does this by strengthening, relaxing, and lengthening your muscles as you vary your breathing pace. This allows the oxygen to reach your muscles more effectively.
7. Deep Relaxation
Meditation is an important part of Yoga and is crucial for stress management. It helps you regain control of your mind and ease it down to a relaxed state. This, in turn, helps with stress management.
Practicing Yoga and meditation can help you balance alpha waves that help with relaxing your mind. In addition, the breathing exercises help with bringing your heart rate and blood pressure to normal levels.
8. Inner Strength and Healing
While Yoga surely does help with the physical well-being, it even improves the mental strength, especially when one is stressed. When you’re stressed, you may not be able to respond to situations in your regular, calm manner.
By bringing balance to your mind, Yoga helps with the inner healing and building up internal strength. This can help you act with tenacity when faced with a crisis or extreme stress.
If you’re feeling stressed, you can head out for a Yoga session at one of our partner studios. Alternatively, you can have a teacher come home to teach it to you. Download our app and book your session if you’re ready!