How To Use Yoga for Stress Relief
If 2020 could be characterized by one word, it’d be stressful. It seems like everyday there’s something new to worry about, something new to cloud our thoughts with tension and unease. While we can’t control the world around us, we can learn to adapt how our body responds to stressful situations, and yoga can be a key part of that. In today’s blog, we’ll explore how to use yoga for stress relief, exploring themes like mindfulness, guided imagery, and more.
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How yoga helps with stress
For over 5,000 years, people looking to connect their mind, body, and spirit in calm harmony have been practicing yoga. To many, it’s considered the oldest form of self-development, and has been proven to reduce stress and increase wellness. Fortunately for us today, the practice is accessible to anyone, beginner or expert.
So how exactly does yoga help relieve stress? Well, many of the yoga practices you may be familiar with, like controlled breathing and meditation, are inherently designed for stress relief. But yoga can also have measurable physical effects on the body as well, such as reduced cortisol levels, lower blood pressure, reduced muscle tension, and lowered heart rate.
Now that we know how and why yoga works for stress, let’s look at a few yoga-for-stress practices you can incorporate into your routine.
Yoga-for-stress elements to add to your practice
Below are some of our favorite ways to add a little bit of extra stress relief to our practice. Everyone’s mental health needs are different, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques until you find a few things that work for you!
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Mindfulness is a buzzword we’ve been hearing more and more of this year, but what does it actually mean? We like how Mindful puts it,
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Put simply, it’s wonderful for stress relief. There are so many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your yoga routine, which is why we created this helpful resource to kickstart your inspiration.
Similar to mindfulness, guided imagery can be a helpful tool for managing stress. Many people already incorporate it into their yoga practice without realizing it. Imagination is powerful. When we can train ourselves to visualize things, like say, lying on the warm sand on a tropical island, our brain processes it as if we were really there experiencing it!
Those peaceful mental images we create during guided imagery sessions can help create a calming emotional and physiological response. Some of our favorite classes on YogaVibes either open or close with guided imagery!
Another great stress management practice is known as pranayama, or controlled breathing. Breath control comes in a variety of forms, but at its core, it’s all about focusing your body and mind on task in an effort to reduce tension and lower the heart rate. We’ll be focusing on pranayama in our next blog, so stay tuned for that!
Yoga for stress classes
At YogaVibes, we recognize that many begin their yoga practice as a way to deal with stress in a healthy way. That’s why we’ve created an entire yoga category dedicated to mental health on the YogaVibes site. Check out some of our favorite classes featuring instructors like Adam Ballenger and Alex Moody!