People often wonder whether yoga is good for dealing with stress. The answer is yes it is and there are many reasons why yoga can help deal with stress and tension.
Yoga can help because it works in the body, and much of our daily stress gets transferred to and stored in the body. The ongoing accumulations of tension and anxiety in the back reveal themselves as knots, soreness, stiffness and pain in muscles and joints. Stress also eventually takes a toll on our vital organs and functions, diminishing their effectiveness and efficiency, and making our bodies uncomfortable places to be.
Yoga works to gradually stretch and strengthen the muscles, releasing chronic tension. When the muscles can be both strong and relaxed, the body can recover its own optimal alignment. A properly aligned body is much easier and more comfortable to live in.
Yoga can work because it fully engages your mind, where stress typically begins. Whenever you think about — or dwell on — an unpleasant or worrisome event in the future or in the past, you start to build up stress.
Yet when you keep your focus on the here and now, pressure is much less likely to build up. This is a primary focus of yoga: learning to keep your mind in present moment awareness. It is about choosing how to spend your mental time and energy, instead of being “run” by your thoughts. When the mind is able to rest and find quiet, mental tasks are easier to take on.
Yoga works because it goes to your heart and soul, your emotions, where stress takes a toll in the form of depression, numbness, anxiety, feeling restless, lost or simply ill at ease.
Strain shows up in your emotions and your spirit. You just know whether you feel OK with yourself and the world — or not. Yoga builds acceptance and a calm equanimity.
From a relaxed and neutral emotional foundation, problem solving and motivation are much easier to connect to. Starting with your yoga practice on the mat, you can extend more and more of the dispassionate mindset to everyday life.
Stress is one of the largest contributing factors to almost all diseases and interferes significantly with the healing process. By taking time and making effort to reduce your stress and relax, you are making a significant investment in your overall health. Yoga can help create the conditions for your own immunity and healing powers to be activated or enhanced. It is an ideal complimentary therapy for many medical conditions.