We often hear claims that yoga can help with stress relief. In order for us to determine that yoga can relieve stress we first need to look at what stress is. The Oxford Dictionary says that it is a state of mental or emotional strain ...
Yoga can help to bring balance and with it stress relief
This is usually a result of adverse or challenging circumstances with our health, relationships or in our response to what's happening around us. Research on stress shows that stress occurs when a person's assessment of events exceed their internal ability to cope with these events.
Stress can be measured in two ways:
Subjectively - the way we perceive stress and assess situations in our lives
Objectively - biological changes that occur in our bodies when we experience stress
This could be an increase in heart rate or activation of our limbic 'fight or flight' response which results in cortisol releasing hormones kicking into action. This is also known as the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis, which is a stress response system.
Chronic stress could lead to HPA Axis dysregulation or even Adrenal Fatigue and can lead to high levels or low levels of cortisol in our bodies, resulting in low energy levels and inflammation.
Yoga is known to activate the parasympathetic nervous system of 'Rest and Digest' which has a calming effect on the body and brings balance between the sympathetic 'Fight and Flight' and parasympathetic nervous system. Through this balance, we are better able to respond to stressful situations.
By over exercising we can also cause the HPA Axis to dysregulate. This is where slow yoga can help to bring balance and with it stress relief!
Another positive impact that yoga has on our stress levels is through the awareness of the breath. We often hear people say, "take a deep breath" when we're under stress. What is really required is to inhale into the lower parts of the lungs, thereby activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
By changing the ratio between the inhale and exhale we can also help to regulate our stress levels. A longer exhale automatically calms the body. Further to this, by becoming aware and listening to our bodies, we are able to deploy methods that can help us cope better with our perceived or real stressful situations in our daily lives.
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about stress relief with yoga, do call me on 07768 314962, leave a comment below or click the Messenger icon in the bottom right of your browser to chat.
Anne Marie completed an 18-month yoga teacher training through Yoga Campus in London in February 2020 to share the magical benefits of yoga with others.
She also recently completed a PTSD and Yoga4Health certifications through The Minded Institute to help people dealing with trauma and those who want to start a healthier lifestyle through yoga.
Helping business owners to create a supportive working environment that will have a positive impact on their business. The benefits, that flow from the holistic and systemic approach from yoga, will have a rippling effect on the health of all employees, their families, their communities and all stakeholders from the bottom up and equally from the top down.
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