Your best buddies may turn their backs on you, and your family may not support you, but there is one constant presence in your life that will never leave you alone. You guessed it right; that presence is stress!
No matter how much you want it to go away, it will not. Stress becomes an inevitable part of adulting. The only way out is to deal with it effectively.
The Unhealthy Built-up Of Stress
Life throws curveballs at us daily, and we all do our best to dodge them. Domestic responsibilities, financial burdens, and professional struggles are obstacles that most people face. Battling these omnipresent demons can take a toll on one’s mental and physical health by increasing stress. Anger, irritation, periods of anxiety and sadness, and a hoard of physical symptoms
Stress is an intangible feeling that is unpleasant, negative, and makes people feel restless most of the time. Stress causes fatigue despite little to no physical activity.
Busy professionals, students, stay-at-home moms, and elderly individuals often tend to feel the pinch of stressful living. People pursue new hobbies, explore their interests, or choose to travel to let their stress out. Physical exercise plays a big part in keeping stress at bay and should be a part of everybody’s daily routine.
Yoga is an innovative way to combine fun and exercise and get some much-needed stress relief. Yoga combines physical exercise with meditation and scientifically approved breathing techniques to reduce the ill effects of mental stress.
Stress Reduction With Yoga
Yoga is a holistic way of finding the perfect balance between physical, mental, and spiritual health. Ancient literature on Yoga claims that when one aspect of human health deteriorates, the others follow suit. Stress can disturb this subtle balance and may have a cascading effect on health. Regular Yoga will help to keep stress at bay and preserve health in the best condition.
- Mental Rejuvenation
Yoga helps to relax your mind and gives it the energy boost it needs to get rid of stress. Specific Yoga postures will stimulate the release of chemical messengers that alter the mood and make you feel positive. A relaxed and rejuvenated mind can fight stress easily and prevent health disturbances.
- Enhanced Brain Blood Supply
Some Yoga postures help to enhance the blood flow to the brain tissue. A steady supply of oxygen to the brain cells energizes them and washes off any fatigue. A fresher mind can react quickly, make better decisions, and effectively keep unwanted stress at bay.
- Increased Mental Focus
Yoga and meditation sharpen the mental focus, which is crucial to battle stress. Many people find meditation relaxing, and it helps them get all of their mental energy on the right track. Meditation improves the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time for a long time without any distractions. Focus and concentration are indispensable in eliminating stress and avoiding its unhealthy consequences.
- Mental Detox
For optimal functioning, the mind needs to detoxify as much as your body does. Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are great ways to detox your mind and remove unwanted stress. Yoga postures that help to cleanse your mind of all the negativity are excellent stress busters.
A single Yoga class or meditating just once is not adequate for stress relief. One has to be regular and dedicate themselves to Yoga to experience its healing powers. Yoga does not siphon off all the stress instantly; it is a gradual process but will show very satisfactory results.
Let us get acquainted with some Yoga postures that help to reduce mental stress and its ill effects.
Yoga Postures For Stress Relief
- Baddha Konasana
Baddha Konasana is a great exercise to tone the thighs, stretch your back muscles, and release unwanted mental stress.
- To begin Baddha Konasana, one must sit on a firm, flat ground with both legs stretched straight in the front.
- Gradually bend both knees simultaneously and allow them to drop to the side till both thighs are touching the ground.
- Hold both your feet with your hands to make your body posture firm.
- Allow your chest to expand forward and your spine to remain erect throughout the posture.
Remain in the posture for 5-10 breath counts before you relax your body. Perform 3-5 repetitions of Baddha Konasana for best results.
Trikonasana is a standing Yoga posture and is named so because your body assumes a triangular shape while performing it. Regular practice of Trikonasana reduces the impact of mental stress on your health. Trikonasana also helps to relax the lower back muscles, thereby having an impact on reducing anxiety.
- Stand on a flat, firm surface with your hands relaxed by the side of your body.
- Gradually increase the distance between your legs as you assume a wide-legged stance.
- Elevate your arms till they level with your shoulders and are parallel to the ground.
- Turn your right foot outward by 90 degrees, and keep your left foot in place.
- Bend sideward towards the right till your right hand can grasp the right ankle.
- Stretch your left hand upward so that your fingers point towards the ceiling.
- Remain in this position for some time before you relax your body, and repeat Trikonasana by bending toward the left this time.
Paschimottanasana is a sitting Yoga posture that stretches all the body muscles from top to toe. The body posture while performing Paschimottanasana induces mental calm and acts as an anxiolytic exercise.
- Sit on the ground while keeping your back straight and your legs stretched straight in front of you.
- Bend your feet to make a right angle with your shin, and the toes point upward.
- Press your heels and palms firmly against the ground as you begin Paschimottanasana.
- Slide both hands towards your feet while bending forward as much as possible from the waist.
- Try to hold your feet and let your head touch your shins. If you cannot bend that far ahead, bend as much as your body allows without experiencing any pain or discomfort.
Continue normal breathing while in Paschimottanasana. Remain in the posture for 5-10 breaths before relaxing your body.
Just like Paschimottanasana, even Uttanasana involves bending your body forward while in a standing position. Uttanasana stimulates blood flow to the head and helps to rejuvenate the irritated nerves and a tired brain, thus reducing the ill effects of stress.
- Stand straight with some distance between your feet and place your palms on either side of the hips.
- Bend forward from your hips so that your torso is close to your thighs without touching them.
- Position your head between your knees and place your palms on the ground next to your feet.
- Your knees should remain slightly bent as you assume Uttanasana, but you must straighten them after you adjust your posture.
Remain in Uttanasana for 5-10 breathing cycles before you relax your body.
- Viparita Karani
Viparita Karani is a slightly complicated Yoga posture that involves coordinated movements and balancing of various body parts. Pregnant women, elderly individuals, and patients with chronic back problems must seek a doctor’s opinion before practicing Viparita Karani.
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front of you, facing a wall.
- Bend backward as you lie down on the ground.
- Gradually take your hips and buttocks closer to the wall while you balance your legs up against the wall.
- Lift your hips and buttocks off the ground and support them with your hands.
- Your legs must be in the air with your toes pointing toward the ceiling.
Continue normal breathing throughout the Yoga posture and relax your body after remaining in the posture for 5-10 breaths. Viparita Karni reduces mental stress by stimulating and rejuvenating the brain and nerve cells.
It is advisable to practice Yoga on an empty stomach to avoid digestive discomfort. Consult with a certified Yoga trainer before you begin practising Yoga. People who take medicines for their stress must continue seeing their doctor even though they practice Yoga.
Meditation For Stress Relief
People have always associated a lot of spiritual importance with meditation, and rightfully so. However, medical research has approved the use of meditation as a healing technique for various physical and psychological illnesses. Meditation not only prevents stress from disturbing the balance of mental health but also keeps its bad effects at bay.
Follow these simple steps for effective meditation
- Sit on the floor in a cross-legged posture, and keep your spine erect.
- Allow your mind to relax and let the thoughts flow uninterrupted.
- Focus on a point within your mind or on any object around you, and do not deviate from it.
- Keeping your eyes closed during meditation will allow you to concentrate better.
- You may recite a religious or spiritual chant or hymn while meditating.
Meditating for 10-20 minutes daily will open doors to better prospects and healthier living.
CLICK HERE to know more about the benefits of meditation.
CLICK HERE to know how to practice chanting and meditation for stress relief.
Breathing Exercises For Stress Relief
Deep breathing is often an instantaneous response while confronting a stressful situation. The act of breathing is relaxing and gives an instant energy boost to rejuvenate a tired mind. Ancient literature on Yoga discusses the importance of breathing techniques and why it is essential to get them done right. There are many types of breathing exercises, each having its health benefits.
It is crucial to follow the instructions of a certified Yoga trainer while learning and practicing breathing techniques. Breathing exercises help to release stress by regulating blood pressure, rejuvenating brain tissue, and soothing irritated nerves.
CLICK HERE to learn about the various breathing techniques for stress relief.
Stress is that noisy neighbor you put up with because there is no other choice. Stress is omnipresent and will never cease to bother you. You have to master the ropes of life and find the best way to deal with your stress and keep its undesirable effects at bay. Yoga is one way to let go of your stress and lessen its harmful effects.
Yoga is a form of holistic healing for mental stress that provides relief with meditation, breathing techniques, and physical exercises. Yoga is all-inclusive and welcomes everyone who wishes to embrace a better and healthier lifestyle with dedicated efforts.