Yoga for Stress Management
Stress and anxiety reduce our immunity, affect our hearts, step up depression and take a toll on our health. Yoga helps beat stress, boosts your immune system and activates all your organs to work well.
Yoga: the solution for stress
Yoga is a complete mind-body practice that combines physical postures, controlled breathing, relaxation and meditation.
There are many styles, forms and intensities of yoga. Hatha yoga, the best-known form of yoga has a slower pace and easier movements and is ideal to beat stress. It has three core components.
Asanas are yoga poses which involve a series of movements to increase strength and flexibility. When we are stressed out and tense, it affects our mind and body and our sympathetic nervous system goes on an overdrive. Calming postures combined with controlled breathing impels the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing for a relaxed state of mind and body.
Asanas that are beneficial for stress include Tadasana (mountain pose), Balasana (child Pose), Padmasana (lotus pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog pose), and Savasana (corpse pose).
Breath control gives you control over your body and quietens your mind.
Stress occurs primarily because we are in the habit of fast and shallow breathing, depriving our lungs of sufficient oxygen. Pranayama promotes slow and rhythmic breathing and helps in the intake of more oxygen that re-energizes our body, relieves stress and dispels negative emotions. There are different ways of doing pranayama. Those that help us deal with stress include Anuloma-Viloma or Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), Sheethali, Dirga Pranayama, Ujjayi and Brahmari pranayama.
Dhyana or meditation helps you to become aware of the present and be non-judgmental.
- Meditation must be done regularly.
- The best time for practice is early morning.
- Set up an undisturbed and quiet place for meditation.
- Sit comfortably.
- Command your mind to be quiet during this time.
- Take a few deep abdominal breaths. Exhale and inhale through the nose.
- Establish a rhythm in breathing and transition to shallow breathing.
- Your mind will wander at the beginning. Do not force your mind to stay still. You will eventually succeed.
- Once your mind is calm, select a focal point to concentrate such as the space between the eyebrows or centre of the chest and focus your mind on that spot. Never change the focal point.
- You can chant a mantra like ‘Om’ till your mind is totally immersed in it.
Regular Hatha yoga combined with a simple, natural lifestyle will help you combat stress. Remember, to find an experienced yoga teacher. Don’t try and learn on your own. It could have negative effects.