In today’s world, stress is almost a given. We have so much information being thrown at us on a daily basis, so many things to think about, that we never get any time for ourselves. There are so many ‘remedies’ floating around which have the tantalising promise of destressing you – going on holiday, going for a massage, giving up the rat race and going to live on a farm somewhere….
However, the sad thing is that sooner rather than later, the destressing positive effects that these solutions have will wear off and we’ll be right back where we started – probably even more stressed because we’ve spent so much on the holiday and it didn’t work!
The good news is that there is a sustainable solution and this is yoga. Read on to find out why we say this.
Yoga Is An Ongoing Practice
Whereas a massage or holiday only provides temporary relief, with yoga you are easily able to keep stress at bay – and make sure that it doesn’t come back! Why do we say this?
Yoga is practised daily – once a week at the very least. It forces you to rid your mind of any nagging thoughts which are causing you stress. It does this via the meditation that you practise at the beginning of the class. The constant repetition of a particular sound – which is usually ‘ohm’ – fills your mind and, as a result, any other thoughts vanish.
In addition, the positions (or asanas as they are termed in Sanskrit) that class members have to adopt are quite challenging to get right. The slightest variation in a pose could mean the difference between a good yoga session and a sprained muscle. This means that correct yoga practise requires precise concentration which prevents yogis from thinking about anything else – besides how they need to shape their body – during their practise.
Yoga Relieves Tension In Muscles
When we are stressed, one of the first things that happens is that we get sore shoulders. The reason for this is as anxiety mounts, our trapezius muscles (the ones in our shoulders) rise towards our ears. And the more stressed we are, the more often this rise occurs.
Stress and tension reside in our muscles – literally – and the way that we can make sure that our muscles are not stressed is by stretching.
As yoga asanas are essentially stretches as you need to hold positions for between 30 seconds and two minutes, yoga lengthens your muscles. Sometimes, you’ll find that you are not able to do some of the movements in certain asanas – such as straightening your legs as your hamstrings are so tight from constantly sitting behind a computer – there are always modifications to get you started on the pose. As time goes on, you’ll be able to do the pose as it should be done.
Yoga is indeed a great way to reduce stress however, you need to be consistent in your practise because as you progress, the destressing principles that yoga teaches will become second nature and you will practise them unconsciously.