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Yoga has long been known as a really great reliever of stress. Yoga combines many popular stress-reducing techniques, including learning to control the breath, clear the mind, and relax the body. As yoga grows in popularity, more people are discovering the benefits this ancient practice has to offer in their stressful lives.
The physical practice of yoga postures is known as Hatha Yoga. Hatha yoga comes in a variety of styles: some are slow and focused on stretching, while others are faster and more of a workout. There is no specific yoga style of relieving stress, so choose the one that fits your physical fitness and personality. Any exercise will help you feel better by keeping the body healthy and releasing endorphins, which are natural hormones that make us feel good. Yoga also helps to relieve stress through stretching.
When you're stressed, the body stores tension, making you feel tight and prone to pain.
Yoga stretching relieves tension in problem areas such as the hips and shoulders. Another common effect is the reduction of low back pain.
Pranayama, or breathwork, is an essential part of any yoga practice and often translates to life outside of the mat. Yoga, at the very least, increases the awareness of the breath as a tool for body relaxation. Although breathing is a natural and involuntary act (you have breath to stay alive), you can choose to regulate it. Just learning to take deep meaningful breaths and realizing that this can be a fast way to beat stressful situations is wonderfully effective.
Clearing the Mind
Our minds are always active, racing from one thought to another, spinning possible future scenarios and dwelling on things that happened from the past. All of this mind work is tiring and stressful.
Yoga gives several techniques for taming the monkey mind. The first is, as previously said, breathwork. A breath is inextricably linked to the present moment; you are not breathing in the past or future, but rather in the present. One way to clear the mind is to focus on each inhale and exhale to the exclusion of other thoughts. This is often a basic meditation technique. Additionally, the performance of yoga poses, or asanas, may be used as a form of meditation. Since the poses are so physical and need so much concentration, all other thoughts and worries are put to the side, giving the brain a much-needed break.
Each yoga session ends with five to ten minutes of savasana (corpse pose). While forced relaxation can be difficult at first, it eventually leads to a total release of the body and mind. Savasana helps you re-enter the world feeling refreshed and with the tools you have to deal with stress in your daily life. Yoga Nidra is a practice that allows for a longer, deeper period of relaxation as well as an introduction to meditation, which can be efficient in preventing stress.