Dealing With Stress

The Practice Of Yoga For Stress Relief


Yoga for Stress Management People often think of stress as an event or series of events or instances that occur. Stress may be defined as the response to changes or demands. Whether it is internal or external the stress response is naturally occurring.

Whether the triggering event or demand is positive such as the birth of a new baby, buying a new house, getting married, or negative such as being fired, getting a divorce, or the death of a loved one, the physiological response in the body is the same.

Under stress, the sympathetic nervous system sends messages to muscles, organs and glands that help the body to react. These messages cause many changes to occur in the body.

The methods of classical yoga include ethical disciplines, physical postures, breathing control and meditation. Yoga is sometimes categorized as an exercise, some just think of it as stretching. There are various styles of yoga, some moving through the poses more quickly, almost like an aerobic workout, and other styles relaxing deeply into each pose.

The practice of yoga involves stretching the body and forming different poses, while keeping breathing slow and controlled. This both relaxes and energizes the body synonymously. Yoga can be considered a holistic approach to stress management. Yoga practices incorporate postures, body movements, breathing practices, meditation, imagery, and progressive relaxation techniques.

Each practice has specific purposes and all are effective in stress management. All of the practices combine to develop a focused awareness of the individuals physical, mental and emotional state. Developing an awareness of bodily feelings and sensations, emotional states of being, and mental attitudes and belief systems and patterns are the first step to reducing stress and using yoga therapeutically in healing.

The sympathetic nervous system controls the stress response and the parasympathetic nervous system controls the opposite or, the relaxation response. Yoga can help to manipulate these responses.   

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There are some common early warning signs, which if one recognizes early enough is able to combat the negative effects of stress and help prevent further harm. Some of the most common early warning signs of excess stress are chronic fatigue, excessive irritability or moodiness, amplified or disproportionate anxiety, poor emotional control, noticeable changes in appetite, sleep patterns or sex drive, insomnia, critical feelings of dependency or helplessness and withdrawal from normal activity or responsibility. One may even verbally express signs of stress by making comments or talking about not being able to relax, feeling tense, and inability to focus or stay on task They may verbalize that they don't feel good, right or are miserable and don't know why. If you pay close attention you may notice that you feel extremely fatigued, the TV may sound like it is blaring, a door being shut sounds like it was slammed. One may argue or yell at those around them for seemingly no or petty reasons. These are indicators that stress has reached a critical level and needs to be dealt with. While it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress it is of equal importance to be prepared for situations or events that are potentially stressful. coping with stress

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By first tuning into the onset of the stressor, or incident you are able to initiate practices that can help to prevent or at the very least counteract the physiological responses that typically follow. The postures used in yoga are designed to exert maximum pressure on different glandular structures so as to keep the body healthy. Many people beginning to practice yoga for stress management may feel unsure if they are doing it right. 

Trust yourself and trust the process and let it develop. Dont push yourself to hard or focus too much on the outcome. When starting out, only hold each pose for a few seconds and do a few repetitions. It is important to keep your focus on the process in the moment, be patient. Healing takes time, it may also take time for you to develop the ability to remain in a passive state.  

Learn some yoga. Yoga has been shown to offer many benefits, and a relaxing yoga session will help you prepare for the daily stress of life.

So while yoga is an excellent form of stress management, the full effect may not be seen or felt until you have been practicing for a while. There are plenty of qualified instructors out there and classes are offered almost anywhere these days. Along with classes there are instructional books, videos and DVDs available.

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