Yoga and its role in Stress management: how to become calmer and focused?

yoga and its role in stress management

Date 14 Dec, 2021

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Stress has become an unavoidable aspect of existence. Its long-term presence has a harmful impact on our day-to-day lives. As a result, our stressful lifestyle has become a key contributor to health issues as well as illnesses.

Subsequently, the main issue is that the general public has accepted stress as normal. But the question is, should we really consider stress to be normal?

Let's get a better understanding of yoga and its role in stress management.

What is stress and its types?

According to Buddha, stress is caused by the difference between our perception and reality. The greater the separation, the greater the stress. As a result, expect nothing and accept everything.

Thus, we can say that stress refers to any change that creates physical, emotional, or psychological discomfort is referred to as stress. Your body's reaction to anything that needs attention or action is stress.

Types of stress:

Acute arousal: Acute stress is a sort of stress that lasts for a short period of time and can be either good or negative; it is the type of stress we are most likely to face in our daily lives.

Chronic anxiety: Chronic stress is a type of stress that appears to be never-ending and unavoidable, such as the stress of a broken marriage or a physically demanding profession; chronic stress can also result from catastrophic events and childhood trauma.

Episodic acute stress: It is a type of stress that appears to run rampant and become a way of life, resulting in a life of constant distress, is known as episodic acute stress.

Eustress: Eustress is a thrilling and enjoyable experience. It's a form of good stress that can help you stay energised. It's linked to adrenaline rushes, like when you're skiing or rushing to fulfil a target.

Yoga and its role in stress management?

Yoga is a gift to mankind. Further, yoga involves various breathing techniques and postures that help in effective stress management. Consequently, yogic postures involve the stretching and relaxation of muscles, to strengthen the body and calm of mind.

With regard to stress management:

  • Practice deep breathing, abdominal breathing and diaphragmatic breathing: They are found to be very effective in stress management.  Further, these techniques especially diaphragm breathing, stimulate the vagus nerve, which is the main nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system. Moreover, the vagus nerve extends from the medulla, diaphragm to the abdomen. The vagus nerve plays an essential role in calming the heart rate, slowing respiration to normalising the blood pressure, and stimulating better digestion.
  • Yoga postures specifically designed to improve the health of the Endocrine system, are found to be very beneficial to achieve stress management. These postures are as follows:
  • Uttanasana

- Adhomukhsvasana

- Paschimottanasan

- Balasana

- Shavasana

Sun salutation A and B from the ashtanga vinyasa primary series, involves the postures such as downward facing dog and uttanaasana. Subsequently, these poses ensure the proper flow of oxygenated blood towards the brain cells. Hence, aiding in stress reduction too. Furthermore, forward seated bending poses such as paschimottanasana and child pose facilitate the proper flow of blood throughout the body with pressing of stress-reducing murma points. Consequently, shavasana or corpse pose which is a very common pose that is attained at the end of ashtanga yoga or hatha yoga practice gives complete relaxation to our whole body.

What does research say about yoga for stress management?

A study done by (Dunn, MD, PhD et al., 2018) states that adults who practise yoga regularly are less prone to stress and anxiety. Another study by (Deekshitulu P.V, 2012) states that significant cases of stress reduction were reported among the individual who practices pranayama regularly. Subsequently, research conducted by (Azami et al., 2018) states that a total of 52 females with an age range of (33.5 ± 6.5 years) were included in the analysis. Further, it was found that after experiencing and participating in 12 regular hatha yoga sessions, these female participants, reported having noticed a significant reduction in stress, anxiety and depression.

What Style of Yoga is Best for Stress Management?

Yoga is a part of alternative therapy. Further, “dinchariya” or routine of life as per the biological clock is one of the main focuses of a yogic lifestyle. Thus, yoga teaches discipline, time management and routine management. As a result, achievement of stress management becomes easy. Adding to this, the practice of yoga postures brings one-pointed focus, balance, pranayama, and meditation brings peace of mind and body. This can support the process of relaxation, stress reduction and anxiety management.

Traditional Hatha yoga serves as a good choice for stress management.

The layout of hatha yoga session usually consists of:

  • Yoga asana based on Hatha yoga series, with each posture covering bandhas/ locks to focus on a specific chakra and normal breathing.
  • Focus on prana vayu and pranayama practice to achieve a balanced and calm state of mind.
  • Mindfulness meditation.

The health benefits of yoga are:

  • Stress reduction: Yoga practice helps to uplift the positive mindset and helps an individual to feel motivated.
  • Overall physical fitness increases.
  • Regular yoga practice helps to improve overall balance, muscles flexibility and strength (Mayo clinic staff, 2018).
  • Mental clarity increases.
  • One becomes skilled to control and finding solutions to unnecessary negative emotions.
  • Regular yoga inclusion in daily routine helps in balancing hormonal imbalance. For example, cortisol level balance.

Yoga has been found very effective in reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Further, yoga therapy has been reported to support the process of treatment of health issues such as back pain, joint pain and relief from menopause symptoms.

Regain your physical and mental health in Rishikesh

The peace and sense of complete security that a child feels upon keeping his head on his mother’s lap. Similar is the sense of peace and satisfaction that one gain upon their arrival to Rishikesh.

Since time immemorable our Rishikesh being the yoga capital of the world, has served as the best place to learn the art and science of yoga. Subsequently, our Rishikesh is blessed with the natural beauty of Himalayan forests and mother Ganga Ji flowing with the soothing rhythm that purifies every devotee’s heart. As a result, at such a place the “peace of mind is bound to come”.

Conclusion

To experience peace of mind and learn the art of stress management join Ekam Drishti Yogshala.

At Ekam Drishti yogshala we offer short term retreat programs such as 3 days meditation and yoga retreat and 7 days breath and pranayama retreat to various short term RYS certified yoga teacher training courses like 100 hours yoga teacher training.

Thus, we welcome everyone from different walks of life to join our retreat and experience the pure blissful state of mind. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced yoga teacher or completely new beginner out retreat programs are tailored as per individual needs to suit their demands.

Just give yourself one chance to live, learn and experience what it means to connect with the art of living a tension free life by the help of yoga.


References:

Azami, M., Shohani, M., Badfar, G., Nasirkandy, M., Kaikhavani, S., Rahmati, S., Modmeli, Y. and Soleymani, A. (2018). The effect of yoga on stress, anxiety, and depression in women. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, [online] 9(1), p.21. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843960/ [Accessed 27 Sep. 2019].

Deekshitulu P.V, B. (2012). Stress and Yoga. Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy, 02(02).

Dunn, MD, PhD, L.K., Yerra, MBBS, S., Fang, MSc, S., Hanak, BS, M.F., Leibowitz, BS, M.K., Alpert, PhD, S.B., Tsang, PhD, S., Durieux, MD, PhD, M.E., Nemergut, MD, E.C. and Naik, MBBCh, B.I. (2018). Safety profile of intraoperative methadone for analgesia after major spine surgery: An observational study of 1,478 patients. Journal of Opioid Management, 14(2), p.83.

Mayo clinic staff (2018). Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity. [online] Mayo Clinic. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/yoga/art-20044733.



Prachi Pokhriyal
RYS 500 hours Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher, yoga therapist, nutritionist and diet counselor, website content writer, communication, and business development manager.