Yoga has long been associated with focusing the mind and reducing tension, so is therefore a popular method of reducing stress and anxiety. Both are recognised medical conditions which are on the rise in modern society. They are however, largely unavoidable and are part and parcel of life. The effects of sustained stress and anxiety should not be underestimated, as the cumulative result is raised blood pressure and increased potential for heart disease; amongst others. For those looking for a holistic, non-medicinal approach to stress management yoga should definitely be considered as an option.
What is Yoga?
Yoga originated in Asia, and is a combination of physical poses combined with a number of controlled breathing techniques and meditation. Its ultimate goal is to bring together the mind, body and spirit. There are a number of different types of yoga each with its own characteristics, practised at a range of different speeds. Some of the different types of yoga include:
- Ashtanga – one of the most rigorous, energetic styles of yoga
- Bikram – performed in a heated room for maximum flexibility
- Hatha – also known as Ananada yoga, and a gentle approach to yoga
- Integral – emphasising positions and meditation; and
- Iyengar – a very precise style with attention to detail and specific poses
The benefits of yoga include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower heart rate
- Reduction in muscle tension
- Enhanced strength and flexibility
- Improved sleep
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are natural responses to emergencies or situations where you need to be alert. If you are continually stressed these responses can be triggered by everyday situations. This has the effect of raising your heart and blood pressure – which if prolonged can result in health implications for sufferers. Stress and anxiety are closely related conditions, and share some similar symptoms. These include fatigue, sleeplessness, irritability and feelings of being overwhelmed. Besides engaging in yoga, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to reduce stress in your life, including maintaining a healthy diet, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising regularly and limiting stressful situations as much as possible.
How Can Yoga Help Stress and Anxiety?
Yoga is credited with promoting a feeling of overall well-being, which when combined with reductions in heart rate and muscle tension should be an attractive option for stress and anxiety sufferers.
Find out about other effective natural treatments for stress and anxiety.