In the modern age, we’re bombarded by stress at all times. You have emails to answer, dinner to make, social media to keep up with, work to take care of, chores to finish—the list seems like it’ll never end.
If you feel like stress and anxiety are getting the better of you, it might be time to give yoga a try.
Doing yoga for stress relief can help reduce tension, lower your blood pressure, and help you relax. And better yet, anyone can do it. All you need is a mat, a bit of free time, and some hard work.
Why You Should Be Doing Yoga for Stress Relief
Long-term stress can take a serious toll on your body and mind. It affects everything from sleep to digestion to your close relationships. It’s important to find a physical and emotional outlet.
Here are six reasons to hit the mat and start doing yoga for stress relief.
1. Relax the Mind
While stress can take a toll on your body, the source of stress-related symptoms is often your mind. When you become anxious, it’s hard to focus on just one thought—the frantic pace of your thoughts can only make the feeling worse.
Yoga can help you learn how to focus the mind on just one thing at a time, or even nothing at all.
By incorporating physical movements with meditation, you can relax and slow down the mind. When you’re holding poses and focusing on your breathing as you flow from movement to movement, everything will naturally slow down.
Over time, you’ll start to develop a more relaxed mental and physical state. Practicing yoga consistently can actually lower your cortisol levels, which helps you manage anxiety, stress, and depression.
2. Relieve Physical Tension
When practiced the right way, yoga can be just as soothing for your body physically as it is mentally.
Certain postures can have a deeply calming effect for your whole body. Forward bends, inversions, and poses where you’re resting your body on the ground can help reduce tension in your muscles. This physical relaxation will only help your mind relax and focus even further.
3. Learn Breathing Techniques
In order to reap the full benefit of yoga poses, you’ll need to relax both your body and your mind. This is where breathing techniques come in.
When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you’ll start breathing quick, shallow breaths. This only enhances the anxiety and can even induce a panic attack.
Yoga encourages you to breathe more effectively. As you go through each pose, you’ll have to breathe deep and slow—using your diaphragm and the full capacity of your lungs.
These breathing techniques—which encourage you to breathe slowly and hold your breath for several seconds before exhaling—can help reduce stress. They also prompt you to reflect on every movement you make.
4. Release Emotional Energy
When negative feelings like anger, fear, guilt, and resentment build up inside of you, they can manifest themselves as chronic stress.
Without the chance to release your feelings, they can fester inside of you—until they’re released in a sudden, unstable burst. You might end up snapping at your friend, shouting at work, or getting upset over something minor, like the waitress getting your order wrong at a restaurant.
Don’t let your stress turn you into someone you don’t want to be. Yoga can help you release emotional energy in a subtle way. Sometimes, you won’t even be aware that you’re doing it.
Look for poses that focus on releasing tension in your shoulders and hips, which is where you often carry tension and internalized negative feelings.
Just by focusing on your breathing and releasing emotional tension, you can come closer to finding emotional peace.
5. Develop Better Sleep Patterns
If you suffer from stress, you might also have difficulty sleeping. Anxiety can leave you laying in your bed for hours each night, struggling to relax enough to fall asleep.
When people perform yoga on a regular basis, they fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. You’re also more likely to fall back asleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Improved quality of sleep can actually help you reduce anxiety in your day to day life. When you’re well-rested, you can better manage stressful situations.
6. Manage Chronic Pain
Long-term stress isn’t just emotionally damaging, it can actually develop into a more serious condition if left unchecked.
Yoga can help reduce your chance of developing chronic diseases, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and migraines.
It can also alleviate the pain from pre-existing conditions. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia, or chronic pain, yoga can help you manage your symptoms. The physical movement and breathing techniques trigger the release of endorphins, which is a hormone that can increase feelings of euphoria and dull physical pain.
Best Yoga Poses for Stress Relief
Doing any kind of yoga will help you work through stressful feelings and build your resilience to anxiety in your life. But some yoga poses might be more helpful than others.
Here are some of the best poses to curb the stress-related anxiety in your life.
- Rabbit Pose
- Child’s Pose
- Standing Forward Fold
- Thunderbolt Pose
- Reclined Angle Pose
These poses are centered around slow, focused breathing. The body movements will also help trigger endorphins and relax the body.
Finding Peace Inside and Out
Whether you’re dealing with long-term stress or just feel like your responsibilities are piling too high, doing yoga for stress relief can help you stay grounded.
The combination of physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation keeps your body and mind relaxed.
Ready to get started on your journey to inner peace? Take a look at our blog to learn more about yoga, healthy living, and becoming your best self.