Managing Stress with Yoga
When stress hormones are present in the bloodstream, the body diverts resources away from digestion, immune function, and higher mental functions. Muscle tension, pulse rate and blood pressure are raised. This response gives us a boost in situations where a simple physical response is required for a brief time, for example, running up hill to escape danger. It is unhelpful however in many modern day situations, where patience and complex decision making are required. When stress is prolonged, it is harmful to health.
Deep breathing through the nose is one of the main physical techniques of yoga, and is proven to lower stress levels. Stretching causes the release of resolvins, the body’s natural anti-inflammatories. Most obviously, relaxation practice is a direct way of calming down and is something yoga emphasises strongly. Yoga philosophy encourages cultivating peace and harmony in our relations with others, which, amongst other benefits, is an incredible tool for managing stress.