As someone who has suffered from back pain as well as tired, aching legs from spending long working days on my feet, I decided to turn to yoga to see about getting some relief from these conditions. I have to say I have really enjoyed my yoga classes since I started and they have definitely helped with making me stronger and more supple. I have seen a number of people also mention yoga as a great source of stress relief so I decided to look into it a bit more and answer the question, “Does Yoga Relieve Stress?”.
Does Yoga Help Stress?
Now please don’t turn your nose up at the mention of yoga. It’s a great practice that helps you relax and get your mind and body working in unison. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a licensed therapist or instructor to reap the health benefits of yoga.
Even the least flexible people can do some form of yoga. When I went to my first yoga class I was a complete beginner and couldn’t perform many of the poses but I was prepared to give it a try. It might feel unnatural at first but it soon becomes easier.
What you need to do, though, is find an exercise with which you are comfortable. In your own quest to achieve stress management, you will find that a lot of therapists and experts turn to yoga, deep breathing and flexing as recommended stress relief techniques.
You can practice yoga anywhere, including your own home. At the time of writing this article the world is in a state of lock down due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and I am unable to go to any classes. However, with the benefits of modern technology, particularly YouTube, I am still able to perform yoga by following some of the excellent online programs from some amazing yoga teachers.
Yoga is a practice, which originated in ancient India and was developed by Buddhists. It is similar to meditation, because it gets you to focus on deep breathing as a means to get in touch with your inner being and thoughts.
When you practice yoga, you will begin to quiet your thoughts and focus on the actions of your body alone. This helps lower blood pressure and aids in stress management.
Of course, it is important to make sure you are completely comfortable when you do yoga. If your body feels stressed, and your muscles are tight, you may want to consider some stretching exercises as a warm-up. Even if you’re not very educated when it comes to yoga, you may want to try flexing your arms above your head, while you clasp both hands together.
This is something I have discovered with some of the online yoga classes. Many of them go straight into the yoga practice without warming up so I always take a few minutes to do some stretching and get everything loose before starting. After all if you are feeling stressed then an injury is not going to improve your stress levels!
Yoga was developed over five millennia ago, and focuses on referring to the body as a temple. What this does is teach you how to limber your body, and as a result lower your stress levels.
There are several different kinds of yoga. These include the following:
Hatha yoga is most popular in America; it is practiced mostly by those in the western world and focuses on stretching. Stretching exercises used in yoga may require you to sit with your legs folded on the floor as you push your weight to one side or the other. At the same time, you may be asked to focus on deep breathing techniques, which will help relax your muscles.
Yoga, because it is used for self-improvement, focuses more on the mind than just the body. This is why it’s so important to let go of any negative thoughts before you begin stretching.
According to experts, yoga is a great way to relax and reduce stress without wearing yourself out through strenuous exercise.
Raja yoga requires that you respect both yourself and others around you.
As a stress management technique, yoga has a number of benefits. For example, it helps stretch out your muscles. As a result, you feel more relaxed, not to mention the fact that it improves your breathing.
After a yoga session, you will find that you breathe more clearly and evenly. In addition to helping you relax, yoga helps improve your physical health.
A yoga instructor may ask you to place your feet together while sitting on the floor and slowly bring your head down toward your feet. This requires a great deal of concentration and practice, but with time, your body relaxes. And eventually, you may actually need to stretch to keep stress at bay.
The Benefits of Yoga
When you practice yoga routinely, you will begin to see its long-term benefits and how it takes the tension out of life.
A few other exercises that will help you relax involve stretching your legs out in front of you and reaching for your toes. Grab your toes, and allow your arms to hold your body upright, as you feel the muscles in your legs loosen.
The result is an overall feeling of relaxation. Slowly, you will begin to forget about the stressors in your life, as you immerse yourself in positive thoughts.
It’s a known fact that relaxing is the first step to calming your mind, but did you also know that it can help you tone and improve muscle dexterity?
This means that in addition to helping lower your stress levels, yoga also builds stamina and improves blood flow.
Once you’ve mastered the art of yoga stretches, you will find that these stretches will help alleviate even the smallest stress in your life.
Take a few minutes each day to practice some deep breathing while you stretch. Close your eyes, if you have to, and envision a peaceful and calming environment. Hone in on your muscles to figure out if there are any pressure points.
Massage the tense areas as you practice deep breathing.
Does Yoga Relieve Stress?
In my experience the answer to this question is a resounding YES!
I started doing an occasional class over a year ago and always felt the benefit of it afterwards. I have to say that I have really noticed the benefits since I started doing it at home with nobody else watching. It just feels like you can truly let yourself go and immerse yourself in the stress-relieving benefits of yoga.
Not only have my stress levels been greatly eased but my other aches and pains are much reduced and I feel fitter and healthier as a result.
It’s important to stress that yoga is equally beneficial for men as it is for women. Sometimes yoga is unfairly labelled as an activity for women (and indeed I struggled to find images for this article that had men in them) but I want to encourage all male readers to take these tips on board too.
One final point: although I have referred to a couple of different styles of yoga above, it’s not something you should read too much into and many yoga classes will incorporate movements from more than one style. Find a good teacher and you will find a form of yoga that works for you. If you are considering yoga at home (which is a great way to start!) then start by searching for “yoga for stress” and see what you discover.
Whatever you do, remember that stress can be overcome with yoga. Dealing with stress can be difficult, but using yoga to alleviate that stress is easy!
Give it a try and experience it for yourself!
By the way…
If you have not yet downloaded a free copy of my book “Simple Solutions For A Stressful Life” then you can get a completely free copy by clicking the image below