One of the main focuses of yoga is breathing exercises and meditation. These are peaceful and calming for the body and mind. The benefits of this focus can often last outside of yoga practice. If these breathing exercises are done regularly, the benefits of stress reduction can be long-lasting. Stress can be highly detrimental to mental health, which is also highly connected to physical well being. Fighting stress with stress reduction exercises can improve how quickly and effectively the body’s immune system responds to illness. Though the emotional response to stress is often felt first, physical symptoms are common. Stress can cause muscle tightness, breathing irregularity, restlessness, irregular sleep and even nausea or digestive upset. Connecting to the body’s stress response through yoga can be helpful.
Yoga encourages breath lengthening and deeper breaths. The repetitive asanas of yoga are helpful for digestion, and yogic stretching can help with muscle tightness associated with stress. Meditation and rest before and after yoga can be calming and helpful in preparation for sleep. Getting enough sleep, building strength and stretching are all important in reducing the physical symptoms associated with stress. Stress is a highly emotional cognitive process that often follows a pattern and is repetitive in nature. Understanding the thought patterns that lead to stress is critical in reducing it.
Yoga encourages a mind/body connection and incorporates meditation and peace of mind. For individuals that are feeling stressed, yoga classes can target awareness of stressful thought patterns and introduce meditative exercises that can relieve the stress associated with them. While some stress in life can inspire motivation and success, too much is harmful to the body and mind. Yoga helps target stress and engages stress reduction physically and mentally to encourage a peaceful and positive approach to focusing this energy. With repetition and practice, yoga can be a highly effective stress reduction technique.