“Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.” B.K.S.Iyengar
Are you feeling stressed out? If so, yoga may be the answer for you! Yoga is a great way to relax and destress after a long day. It can help soothe your nervous system and improve your mental health. Scroll down for a yoga for stress relief practice with Kino MacGregor or keep reading to find out how yoga gets rid of your stress and anxiety.
Yoga lowers stress hormones
Studies have shown that yoga lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and calms the nervous system. People who practice regularly are happier, calmer, and able to handle stress more easily. Yoga can also help improve your mood and well-being!
Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system
So, why is yoga so effective at reducing stress? For one, yoga involves deep breathing exercises which activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
This system is responsible for “rest and digest” functions in the body, such as blood flow to the gut and relaxation. When we’re stressed, our sympathetic nervous system (the “fight or flight” response) is activated. This can lead to shallow breathing, increased heart rate, and tension in the body.
Yoga helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body to relax and feel calmer. Additionally, yoga involves movement and stretching, which can help to release physical tension that has built up in the body.
Stretching boosts your mood
Additionally, yoga poses (or asanas) stretch and tone the muscles, which can release tension in the body and make you feel better.
One theory is that when we stretch our muscles, we release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that have pain-relieving and mood-boosting effects. So, not only does yoga help to relieve physical tension, but it can also boost your mood!
Yoga grounds you in the present
Yoga is also a form of mindfulness, which can help to focus the mind and ease anxiety. When we focus on our breath and the present moment, it can help to ground us. Anxiety often comes from ruminating on past events or worrying about the future.
Mindfulness helps us to focus on the present moment and let go of these worries. This can lead to a sense of calm and peace.
The best types of yoga for stress relief
There are many different types of yoga, and all of them can help to reduce stress. However, some yoga styles are more focused on relaxation than others.
If you’re looking for a yoga class that will help you relax and de-stress, look for one that is labeled “gentle,” “restorative,” or “yin.” These classes tend to be slower-paced and use props such as blankets and bolsters to support the body.
If you’re new to yoga, it’s a good idea to start with a beginner’s class. This will help you learn the basic poses and get a feel for the practice. Once you’re more comfortable, you can try a more advanced class.
No matter what type of yoga for stress relief you choose, remember to focus on your breath and move at your own pace. Listen to your body and rest when you need to.
Practice this short yoga for stress relief sequence with Kino to relax and unwind.
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Photo by Adél Grőber on Unsplash