Ditch Stress With Yoga
Reasons to Hit the Mat
Life moves at breakneck speed. We rush to and from work, school, family functions and everyday errands. It often seems that days blend together and it becomes easier to forget what the date is or even where we are supposed to be. With this modern life also comes the unfortunate side effect known as stress. It can sneak up on use when we least expect it, manifesting as fatigue, unhealthy changes in eating habits or snapping at the people we care about the most. Being mindful about feeling stressed and taking steps to remedy the situation can go a long way toward feeling more relaxed and living a happier life. Here are five ways that establishing a yoga routine can help you.
1. Release of Muscle Tension
When the human body is stressed, its natural reaction is often to tense up. During unpleasant situations, we may clench jaws and fists, hunch our shoulders or squint our eyes as a defense against negative emotions or atmospheres. Most of the time we don’t even realize that we are doing this, and then later feel the effects in sore or stiff muscles and joints, physical fatigue and even weakness. Yoga stretches muscles and helps to ease knots and areas of tension, which results in a more relaxed body overall. A relaxed body is more receptive to positivity and assures a better night’s sleep – which is also a requirement for the reduction of stress and the ability to handle what comes our way.
2. Purposeful Breathing Techniques
An important component of a yoga routine involves controlled and mindful breathing. The practitioner breathes in for one part of the move and exhales for another part. The process of slow and deliberate breathing can steady the heart rate and calm the nerves, thereby easing anxiety and restlessness. As an added bonus, learning how to breathe with a calm purpose can be used even off of the yoga mat. Try it the next time that you find yourself getting agitated in a long supermarket checkout line or when you are dealing with a child’s tantrum. Releasing your anxiety will allow you to make better decisions and maintain a more positive outlook on the situation.
3.Stabilizing the Mind
Have you noticed that you are someone who tends to look at the negative side of life? Does it seem as though you struggle with keeping up your mental energy? It could be related to a lack of endorphins, which assist with mood and hormone regulation. Exercise – and yoga in particular – is an excellent way to increase endorphin production in the body. Endorphins are known as the “feel-good hormone” for a reason, and maximizing them will give you more consistently elevated moods and joyful responses to everyday life.
Toxins build up within the body over time. An accumulation of unnatural materials causes the organs to work harder than they should, which then puts stress on you. Toxins come from chemicals in our food and in the air we breathe, which makes them difficult to avoid. Calming activities such as yoga that also have an effect on the cardiovascular system can assist with detoxifying the body by excreting any unhealthy elements through perspiration. You will feel cleansed and calm with regular yoga practice.
5. Spiritual Connections
If you ask most people how they feel about their place in the world, you will likely receive a lot of responses suggesting that there is a great lack of unity or purpose experienced. Because of its effect upon a person’s sense of overall well-being, yoga is a strong antidote for anyone who feels emptiness or loneliness within the universe. With yoga, you are required to “be still”, which often leads to reflection and a sense of being connected to yourself. Once that connection is established, it becomes easier to feel connected to humanity, and even to a “higher being”, if that is what you wish.
In all, yoga has many benefits and very few drawbacks. It can be practiced by almost anyone with a willingness to give it a chance. There is nothing to lose but negativity.
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