It’s a great time to be alive. Technology has fuelled unprecedented growth and has made most of our lives easier. However, one thing that hasn’t reduced is stress. Be it in your professional or personal lives, stress can rear its ugly head and cause a lot of problems. It has been known to cause cardiovascular diseases, and is a leading cause of heart failure. It can also affect the functioning of your kidneys, and even cause skin conditions and hair loss. Needless to say, you need to find a way to handle stress to negate all these harmful side effects.
If you’re looking for a solution, I have just the thing for you. For a long time, people have turned to yoga as an exercise form that trumps all else, particularly in the western world. But it is for much more than physical health, it also greatly benefits our mental health. The main online definition for yoga is ‘a discipline including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures widely practised for health and relaxation’. It also means ‘union’ in Sanskrit.
Because yoga has such a calming influence on both body and mind, it is very effective at managing stress. In its asanas (postures), yoga also teaches meditation and helpful breathing techniques combined, all together a powerful technique to help you stay calm. These deep meditative, relaxing effects are what have garnered its fans from all around the world.
Benefits of yoga:
- It Helps You Focus
Yoga helps keep your mind focused, something easier said than done. When you have a lot of things on your mind, you tend to panic and lose track of what the situation requires. Yoga helps you keep a calm head even under the most stressful situations. Deep meditation helps you focus your energy as you are essentially concentrating on one thing. This reduces the effect of the adrenaline rush you would normally feel during a pressure situation.
- Helps You Control Your Breathing
Regularly performing yoga teaches you how to control you breathing. Hyperventilating while you’re stressed out only adds to your discomfort. However, exercising control over your breathing helps keep your system in check. Deep slow breaths calm you down and help clear a cluttered mind. They also reduce your heart rate. Some of the best yoga exercises to help you control your breathing are the Kapal Bhati Pranayama, Bhastrika Pranayama and Bhramari Pranayama.
- Clarity Of Thought
Yoga advocates a simple lifestyle. Yoga itself requires no equipment and simply demands an open mind and dedication. People who follow yoga are encouraged to find the simple pleasures in life. Living in the moment rather than over thinking and stressing about the future will help you in more ways than one. Additionally, yoga increases blood circulation which enhances brain function.
- Increased Health
Yoga is also great for your body. It boosts immunity, increases flexibility and will give you more energy to name just a few benefits. Thus regularly practicing yoga improves your overall health. The healthier your body is, the happier you are.
- Therapeutic Effects
If you get into a routine with yoga, it becomes a therapeutic activity. You end up looking forward to your yoga sessions. For instance, performing your asana’s first thing in the morning will give you a great start to the day. This calming influence will extend into the rest of the day.
- Feel Good Inside-Out
Yoga isn’t just about the body, it is also about the soul. Regular yoga helps you de-stress, disconnect from the hullabaloo that modern life and professional work often entail. You can actually get time to tune into yourself, your personal life, what you want and dream for your life, and you may be even start spending more time with your loved ones.
When you think of stress relief, yoga is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind. However, because of the innumerable benefits that it offers, it is one of the best stress relieving activities you will come across. If you’re feeling stressed out, and want to blow off some steam, make sure to include yoga in your daily routines. There are hundreds of yoga teachers all throughout Ireland and in most villages, towns and cities, so find a class that you like and give it a go!
Here are some yoga videos to help start you on your way: