As we have discussed on previous occasions, the practice of yoga has numerous health benefits, and one of them is the reduction of stress. Whatever the reason why you feel restless or stressed, yoga can be your best ally to placate it.
What is stress and why does it occur?
Stress is the mechanism that is triggered when a person is overwhelmed by the situation - or different situations - and does not feel able to meet the different demands placed on him or her. Thus, an overload is experienced that influences both the physical and psychological well-being of the individual. However, although there is a tendency to consider stress only in a negative way, there is also positive stress, since it sometimes acts as a process of adaptation to the environment.
Stress is activated as a defense mechanism, that is to say, certain daily or work situations lead to the activation of this stress mechanism in order to be able to perform them, being stress -as long as it does not entail problems for oneself- essential for life. According to some experts, stress sometimes serves to increase a person's performance -when it is tolerable-, although, if too much stress is experienced, it will cause a blockage. Thus, a little "healthy" stress can help a person perform better and be more decisive, being a response mechanism rather than a defense mechanism.
Stress can be produced by various causes, there are external causes (the so-called life events) and internal causes (those that have to do with the state of oneself: fatigue, hormonal changes, negative thoughts, ...). Depending on one's situation, almost anything can generate stress, although it is proven that work, personal changes or losses, the environment or different interactions with others are usually the most common causes of stress.
Benefits of yoga for stress
It is usual that when stress becomes a companion in your daily life, you start looking for ways to control it. And for this, it is important to achieve a state of relaxation in body and mind; that is why, through the practice of yoga is able to achieve it, since in this discipline the body and mind are conceived as a unit. Through the different asanas and breathing, the body is filled with energy causing a relaxation of muscle tension and stimulation of the cells. And unlike other practices to reduce stress, yoga also allows us to be aware of the causes that provoke it.
The practice of yoga is linked to stress because it is important to maintain a correct breathing, and a conscious and deep breathing causes the blood flow to increase, thus creating a better oxygenation of the whole body. In addition, one must be concentrated in the different postures, which invites to focus the mind on the asanas and leave behind the daily problems. And the combination of both makes that with a regular practice of yoga (at least twice a week) the stress level decreases and you begin to feel the various benefits that yoga offers to the body, thus facilitating a calmer life.
As we saw in our post about the benefits of yoga practice, it has numerous benefits for our body and our lifestyle, but those that are directly associated with decreased stress are:
Improved blood circulation.
As we have seen, through rhythmic and paused breaths the body and mind are oxygenated.
With the realization of the different asanas is achieved by increasing the elasticity and mobility of the joints, making both muscle contractions and chronic pain -which are worsened by stress- are eliminated progressively.
Yoga has been proven to have very positive effects in the treatment of insomnia, which is closely associated with anxiety and stress.
As with any other sport discipline, regular practice increases the predisposition for healthy lifestyle habits, so it becomes a lifestyle that promotes a beneficial cycle in which stress is reduced.
Helps create a routine
Closely linked to the previous benefit is that it helps to create a routine and have greater discipline, these two points being essential when it comes to breaking the feeling of blockage that a person with stress faces.
Improves the body's response
The processes that are related to stress and anxiety involve hormones in charge of controlling the body's response, produced as a consequence of a situation that is identified as difficult or directly as a threat. However, with the realization of efforts (as in the practice of yoga) our body secretes endorphins, hormones that are related to happiness and that, in addition, the body generates as a reward.
Therefore, we can affirm that through the practice of yoga on a regular basis is an effective formula that helps us to combat anxiety and stress, as it helps to release that tension.