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Yoga For Natural Stress Relief: What You Need To Know

Laura Finch on October 25, 2021
Laura is a yoga teacher who completed 200 hours of training.

What are the warning signs of stress?

How do you know if you are suffering from emotional stress and how can you prevent it?

Here are a few warning signs:

  • Pain or heaviness in your chest, heaviness in your chest.
  • Elevated heart rate (akak a racing heart), including heart palpitations.
  • Various body aches and pains, especially in the neck, shoulders, back.
  • Headaches.
  • Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Dizziness.
  • Diarrhea.
  • A constant feeling of tiredness, anxiety, depression.

How does yoga help to reduce stress?

Yoga can help us cope with stress on three levels: our bodies, minds, and breath.

A physical aspect of yoga asana helps release tension in the areas that suffer most in times of stress. Think of the last time you got really stressed out. You've probably felt a lot of stiffness in your upper body, your face and especially your jaw.

In addition to using gentle postures, yoga also incorporates deep and mindful breathing. While its hard to control the tension in your body and muscles, you have the power to control your breath. Calm and deep breaths send a signal to your nervous system that you're safe, promoting both mental and physical relaxation.

Finally, yoga changes your brain, thus affecting how your mind thinks about and responds to stress. Studies show that yogis are less reactive to negative situations comparted to people who don't do yoga and thus more resilient to life's challenges.

Why yoga is good for stress and anxiety?

The benefits of yoga are both physical and mental, making it a great tool to alleviate anxiety and stress. 1

The major physical benefit of yoga is that it decreases the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, that negatively affect your blood pressure, immunity, and metabolic functions.

On top of that, yoga practice cultivates mindfulness, guiding thoughts away from the past or future and towards the present. This ability to "stay in the present" is a hard skill to master, but essential for stress and anxiety relief.

What type of yoga is best for mental health?

You should understand that it's not asana practice in yoga that is so beneficial for mental health rather a calm and deep breathing paired with mindfulness.

That said, there are two postures that have the strongest effect on mental health. These include:

  • Viparita karana or Legs up the wall pose.
  • Shavasana, also known as Corpse Pose.

Which yoga is best for stress?

When your body enters a fight or flight mode, you might want to go slow and steady with your physical practice.

Choose relaxing and slow yoga, such as Yin, Iyengar or Gentle Hatha to gently nudge your nervous sytem back into parasympathetic mode.

Here are 5 gentle yoga poses that are suitable for both beginners and advanced yogis and that will help you wind down and relax your mind:

  • Easy pose (Sukhasana
  • Cat-Cow flow
  • Legs up the wall pose
  • Seated forward bend (Patschimottanasana)
  • Happy Baby pose (Ananda Balasana)
  • Supine twist
  • Corpse pose

What are 5 ways to reduce stress?

  • Get some exercise or move your body in any way. 2
    This is probably a clichรฉ for a reason: exercising is proven to release endorphins, the hormones we use to feel happy and content, that can help us cope with stressful situations. 3
  • Get organized. Plan your day and write to-do list.
  • Take a moment to breathe. Inhale through your mouth and exhale through your mouth, lengthening the exhales as much as possible.
  • Taking some time out will help. Go for a walk, even if it's just around the block.
  • Try meditating. 4

Does walking relieve stress?

Research shows that walking can stimulate the release of chemicals in the brain known as endorphins, which help us to relax and improve our mood. Several studies have confirmed that even a shoprt walk makes us feel better and more relaxed. 5

There are many stress-relieving benefits associated with walking, so it's not important how fast you walk. To relieve stress, you don't need to walk fast. 6

Research suggests that even a leisurely stroll is beneficial to your relaxation. 7

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