It’s obvious that yoga helps you with many aspects of your life which includes: mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. While in any given pose, you allow your body to relax at a cellular level while strengthening your body. The mind-body practice of yoga is designed to bring together your body, mind, and spirit through physical poses, breathing and relaxation. It can help you reduce stress that might cause the body harm by lowering blood pressure or your heart rate.
Poses range from super easy to advanced so anyone can do it. Yoga has been highly regarded as a way of complementing health programs like addiction, strength building, or reducing anxiety. Letting go of the things that serve you no purpose is something that yoga promotes by the sheer act of doing it. When you practice daily, you automatically manage whatever stress or anxiety you have with little effort.
Relaxing Through Yoga
It’s important to maintain a relaxed frame of mind and body. You’ve probably experienced the tightness in your shoulders which can lead to headaches or chronic pain. You may suffer from tight hips and a sore back as well. These pains are manifestations of the emotions that you’re holding onto. Those tight hips may be from sitting constantly but they are also due to emotions, which include anxiety. So, Pigeon Pose, which is a deep hip stretching pose, can help you release anxiety from the body as you release tension from your hips.
There are so many examples of this in yoga poses but just as important is your breathing. When you breathe in mindfully to your body, you begin to relax everything from your muscles to your mind. “Ujjayi” or “Breath of Fire” when done alone can quickly release anxiety from your body and give you extra energy as well. Controlling how you breathe throughout your yoga practice will help you quiet your min, preventing the onset of stressful thoughts.
Yoga comes in many forms and styles with one of the most common types in the West being Hatha yoga. It’s especially good for stress management with poses that support releasing everything. You can do the poses slowly with poses that are easy for beginners.
These serious of movements are not only designed to relax you but also increase your strength and flexibility simultaneously. There are poses where you can lie on the floor that are easily done or you can use difficult balancing and stretching poses that challenge your boundaries.
During your yoga, you can incorporate relaxation or meditation which is where you’re mindful of all the details going on in your presence. While you’re in a pose, if you focus on the feeling in your body, you’ll be able to adjust and challenge yourself. It’s also empowering to get out of your own head for awhile and focus on the present.
Yoga has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety through many studies since the 1970’s. Yoga can help people through clinical depression and anxiety as well as more serious problems. Yoga is a complimentary part of most addiction and behavioral problems today due to how well it works. You know that feeling when you leave a yoga class? That blissful, relaxing feeling. All you have to do is commit to the poses and let it ease stress and allow total relaxation to spill over you.
Yoga for Strength
Yoga can be just as effective as lifting weights to help you achieve the tone and strength you’re looking for. As it engages your core often, you will get the added benefit of having strength where it matters most. Yoga helps you avoid injuries when you’re doing other sporting activities on top of promoting strength and this sequence can help you achieve that.
You will gain flexibility, a better range of motion, and improve your balance. Yoga doesn’t let you neglect any of your muscles like you might when you body build. You get an overall, functional strength which can help you excel at many other physical activities in your life.
When you hold onto poses for a longer period, you increase your muscular endurance. Everyday you do yoga, you can eradicate pain from the day and reduce muscle soreness. When you do yoga after lifting heavy weights for example, you allow your muscles, joints, and bones the ability to repair and grow.
Adding the practice of yoga into your strength training program promotes wellness of the body when you’re hard on it. When you move through poses, you promote fluid to go to the joints so bones will glide over each other without rubbing. The fluid also gives nutrients and oxygen to cartilage.
Yoga gives you strength in a slow, progressive fashion that makes it far less likely for you to get injured. As you begin to hold poses for longer and take it to the next level, you are slowly adding the building blocks to gain a lot of strength in a safe way.
The power of yoga is its power to promote a healthy lifestyle in all aspects of your being. You can be at your best physical shape while learning how to be a more relaxed person. You become an all-around athlete and are kinder to yourself in the process. Bring yoga into your life for all the wonderful benefits it provides.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others.
She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International.