Below a link to my Stress Reduction Newsletter, or read here!
- Monday at 6:15 pm – $7 Beginners Yoga Class
- Thursday at 10 am – Beginners Chair Yoga Class – food or monetary donations accepted.
You specifically asked about yoga for stress relief.
Why Yoga for stress relief? Well, life can be stressful. For starters, there’s your busy schedule – waking up super early for work/school, juggling work/household/nutrition/exercise. It’s a lot to balance! Positive thoughts can reduce stress.
Everyday issues can add emotional stress, too – counseling a friend through a health crisis, regretting a disagreement with a family member, weighing an important decision, or stressing over health crisis. With lots on your mind , it’s easy to feel stressed.
There are many different ways to cope with stress. Talking with friends, exercising, seeing a pastor/counselor are just a few. Yoga can help reduce stress because it promotes relaxation, which is the natural opposite of stress. Yoga can benefit three aspects of ourselves that are often affected by stress: our body, mind, and breathing.
You don’t have to wait to feel stressed out to do yoga, and you shouldn’t! People who do a little bit of yoga each day often find they’re better able to handle things when life gets a little crazy. Practicing yoga builds your ability to calm, focus, balance, and relax yourself.
Yoga Is More Than Just Stretching
Lots of people think of yoga as stretching or twisting the body into various impossible-looking pretzel shapes. But yoga is easier than it looks. There are simple poses as well as complicated ones, so there’s something for every ability. Yoga requires no special equipment, so you can do it almost anywhere.
Yoga Unites Body, Mind, and Breathing
Yoga poses are good exercise and can help loosen up the tense muscles in your body. The areas of the body that tend to carry the most stress are the neck, shoulders, and back. But other parts of the body (like the face, jaw, fingers, or wrists) also can benefit from simple yoga stretches.
Yoga is so much more than just physical exercise, though. The key to getting the best out of each pose is to focus not only on your body, but also on your mind and breathing.
Getting the Most Out of Yoga
When you’re in a yoga pose, think about how you can unite your body, mind, and breathing. Even a simple pose like mountain pose is a stress reliever when you focus on keeping your breathing slow and even, and visualize yourself as firm and steady as a mountain.
Stay ‘in the moment.’ When we’re under stress, we’re often thinking about what we need to do in the future or what we could have done better in the past (“I wish I hadn’t said that!”). Instead of letting your thoughts wander as you do yoga, think about what your body and breath are doing in this moment. Notice how a particular muscle or area of the body feels. Focus on breathing in slowly as your body stretches tall, and breathing out slowly as you curl up.
Being in the moment like this helps you build your ability to focus and concentrate, which helps in all aspects of life.
Use your breathing when things get difficult. When a yoga pose feels challenging, imagine sending your breath to the area in your body that feels stiff or tight. Does it help? You can use this skill in the rest of your life, too. Whenever something challenges you — a tough homework problem, an argument with a parent — try to focus on your breathing. You may be surprised by how much better you deal with the situation.
When to Try Yoga
Try taking a weekly yoga class.
Breathing is one of the most important parts of yoga. Breathing steadily while you’re in a yoga pose can help you get the most from the pose. But practicing breathing exercises when you’re not doing yoga poses can be good for you, too.
It may seem strange to practice breathing, since we do it naturally every moment of our lives. But when people get stressed, their breathing often becomes shallower and more rapid.
Paying attention to how you are breathing can help you notice how you’re feeling — it can give you a clue that you’re stressed even when you don’t realize it. So start by noticing how you’re breathing, then focus on slowing down and breathing more deeply.
So I’ve just given you a glimpse about yoga. You’ll need to see for yourself the benefits!