Does Yoga Help with Stress?

Does yoga help with stress?

yoga help with stress

Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

People are bombarded with constant distractions. From emails to social media notifications and new streaming content uploaded every day, we are rarely away from some form of technology. Though life is easier with these advancements, it has also elevated our stress levels. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to unhealthy habits, such as developing an alcohol use disorder

Many people with chronic stress try a variety of holistic approaches. One of the most popular practices is yoga. According to a Harvard report, in 2016 over 36 million Americans were actively practicing yoga. Yoga has become an alternative to fast-paced, strength-building exercises, such as CrossFit. Those who prefer a calmer and more peaceful workout may try yoga and find it a more accessible experience. But does it help with stress? Below we’ll explore how effective it is. 

What exactly is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient form of mind, body, and spiritual fitness that started over 5000 years ago in India. The word “yoga” derives from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to join one’s attention. It combines muscular activity with a mindful focus on the self and breathing. The National Institute of Health considers it to be a form of alternative or complementary medicine, because of how it’s proven to help with both physical and mental rehabilitation. There are four core principles of yoga.  

These are:

  • The human body is an interconnected entity of several dimensions. The health of one dimension, such as the body, relies on the health of another, such as the mind. 
  • Everyone has unique needs, and each person should have their own tailored experience.
  • A practicer of yoga should be their healer. They should not have to seek healing from an outside source. 
  • The quality of an individual’s mental state is crucial to healing.

The initial reasons for trying yoga usually come from feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, or insomnia. There are various kinds of yoga, and many different poses one may engage in. The goal is to allow a free-flowing sense of calm to spread throughout the body by focusing on the present moment. You can think of yoga as meditation guided by poses and stretches. 

The danger of stress

Stress is linked to many mental and physical health issues. While stress is a normal part of life, too much can create mood swings, aggressive behavior, and overindulgence in substances. 

Some symptoms of stress are:

  • excessive worrying 
  • uneasiness
  • headaches 
  • body pains
  • insomnia 

Stress can affect all parts of your life, including relationships, work performance, and overall state of mind. 

So does yoga help with stress?

Many have found yoga to be very empowering. It can help one deal with day-to-day tasks and face stressful life decisions. There are various benefits to this ancient tradition. Positives touch upon one’s brain, body, and emotions. 

Some of these benefits are:

  • decreasing blood pressure
  • lowering cortisol levels 
  • increasing blood flow to intestines and organs 
  • generating balanced energy, leading to a better immune system 
  • stimulating better responses to stressful situations and stimulating feelings of bliss 
  • lowering anxiety, heart rate, respiratory rate, and cardiac output 
  • significant increases in serotonin 
  • improved flexibility
  • loosening of muscles and connective tissues, reducing aches and pains 
  • building muscle mass and maintaining muscle strength 
  • bringing fresh nutrients, oxygen, and blood to certain cartilage 

Yoga can improve one’s spiritual, physical, and mental well-being. Other effects yoga has on someone’s quality of life are helping one with posture, confidence, and a stronger sense of self. So does yoga help with stress? Yes, it does, and it helps with so much more. 

Try yoga today

If you want to give yoga a test run without spending money on a class, you can search for yoga tutorials on YouTube. This may give you a better understanding of what yoga entails. You can always make it a more comfortable and fun experience by inviting a friend! 

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