Is Yoga the Kryptonite for Stress?
Yes, stress isn’t good for the human body. Unfortunately, life can also become incredibly stressful. Sometimes even a good night of sleep isn’t enough to satisfy the demands of each day. So how do we cope? How do we manage to stay healthy while getting it all done?
It’s called balance. Not referring to standing on one foot for long periods of time without falling, but to make sure you take the time to let your body catch up with your mind. Our minds are always running overtime, transmitting the events of yesterday while also preparing for what’s to come tomorrow. If you don’t allow your mind to slow down every once in awhile, you become overwhelmed and well… stressed. Taking a huge toll on your body, stress can cause fatigue, illness and will eventually wear your body down to its breaking point.
So how does yoga help to cure this? In 2004, The Department of Basic Medical Sciences of the University of the West Indies explained in The West Indian Medical Journal how “the state of the mind and that of the body are intimately related. If the mind is relaxed, the muscles in the body will also be relaxed. Stress produces a state of physical and mental tension. Yoga, developed thousands of years ago, is recognized as a form of mind-body medicine. In yoga, physical postures and breathing exercises improve muscle strength, flexibility, blood circulation and oxygen uptake as well as hormone function. In addition, the relaxation induced by meditation helps to stabilize the autonomic nervous system with a tendency towards parasympathetic dominance. Physiological benefits which follow help yoga practitioners become more resilient to stressful conditions and reduce a variety of important risk factors for various diseases, especially cardio-respiratory diseases.”
Fortunately, when practicing yoga the present moment becomes the focus. It’s easier to stay in the present when you are concentrating on each body movement or pose being executed. It’s surprising how little attention our body gets during the hustle and bustle of everyday. When we slow things down and take a moment to nurture the parts of our bodies craving attention, stress becomes obsolete. Hence why yoga is the kryptonite for stress!
We all know exercise releases endorphins, which are known to alleviate stress, so what makes yoga special or different compared to other workouts? Yoga is a continuously flowing synchronization of body movements. Weight lifting and cardio can’t target every part of your body at once, yoga can. With your oxygen levels at their prime, your blood flow is incredible during yoga. The applied conscious effort of filling your lungs up fully before exhaling into the next pose circulates the blood as needed. Each pose or flow constantly has your core working, which in combination with your oxygen levels, is great for your digestive system and tension release.
Yoga has even now been introduced as a healthcare option to aid with various diseases and disorders. Through yoga therapy, results have been documented for PTSD, metabolic health, Alzheimer’s, sleep disorders and more. Check out more on yoga therapy at https://www.yogaaccessories.com/yoga-therapy-is-a-serious-healthcare-option.
Department of Basic Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Kingston 7, Jamaica, West Indies. [email protected]
The West Indian Medical Journal [2004, 53(3):191-194]