In the previous article, Yoga In Daily Life And Modern Living, I have briefly discussed to you the role of Yoga in helping relieve stress and tension. Stress, is probably something that needs no introduction – as this is something that we are all familiar with.
Stress – The Silent and Deadly Culprit
To a certain degree, stress can be a good thing to as it can constantly keep us alert and on our toes. But when the body and mind is subjected to a barrage of stressful events day in and day out– may it be the need to constantly beat deadlines, cope with changes, deal with seemingly insurmountable problems or the strain of personal relationships, mounting bills – all these can take a serious toll on the body.
In fact, if you have read the previous post on Yoga For Pain, many of the chronic illnesses that develop over time are mainly brought about by excessive stress.
Here’s a wake up call for you:
Fact: Over 90% of the human ailments and 75% of the clinic visits are mostly related to stress.
For many, this tidbit of information is not surprising. Majority of the pressures of modern life often seem unavoidable. In fact, at one point in our lives, we all sometimes wish to simply get away from it all. How often do you hear people say, “I need a break”?
But who doesn’t? With the frazzled nerves and frenzied schedules, we constantly find ourselves in dire need to get away sometimes.
Stress And Its Effect On The Body
Chronic stress can contribute to the weakening of the immune system as well as the gradual loss of memory. A study conducted by the Rockefeller University in New York City revealed that stress contributes to the rapid aging of the brain, which causes the brain cells to shrink at a faster rate, which of course, translates to a shorter life span.
According to Dr. Ronald Glaser of the Ohio State University College of Medicine, the constant and long-term exposure to stress makes the body susceptible to a number of illnesses brought about by the premature aging of the immune system.
Yoga For Stress Reduction Weekly Plan
We have established the fact that stress is unavoidable. It’s a fact of life. This leaves us with the challenge of helping the body cope with stress – without the need for medication or the constant need to spend for luxury trips.
With Yoga for stress reduction weekly plan, you can take your mind and body to a much-needed vacation without spending a dime or stepping out of your home or office.
Here is a weekly plan that I have created to help you naturally, safely, and inexpensively replenish and invigorate your body’s ability to handle stressful situations with more ease and taking control of stress instead of stress ruling you and dominating your life.
This weekly plan is designed to help you gain control of your stress levels. It’s actually a fairly easy plan but with diligence, it can spell a huge difference on your stress levels.
- Spend time to review and identify tour goals in life. Define what is most important to you. It is important that you write down all these to make them feel more real.
- Once you have properly identified your goals, you can edit and eliminate the unnecessary things that hold you back from achieving them.
- Create a schedule that is designed to help you achieve your goals, according to priority. If you feel the need, you can keep a journal or checklists to help you better keep track of your progress.
Consciously decide on cutting out cigarettes, alcohol, and artificial sugar. The strain and stresses that you deal with can wreck havoc on your nervous system — you don’t need to aggravate the problem.
Consciously decide to laugh more often. Watch a funny movie, or spend time swapping jokes with friends or loved ones. Whatever it is that makes you happy, pursue it with renewed fervor.
Pamper your body to a relaxing massage. Like Yoga, massages come with healing effects.
Reinforce your positive faith and beliefs. Believe that you are capable to handling all the problems that come your way. In order to be stress-resistant, you need to have a more positive outlook in life. Work on attaining that internal sense of control, better adaptability and emotional stability.
Reconnect with loved ones and friends to develop a strong social support system. A lot of us tend to get too caught up with our burdens that we forget there are people around us who care, and more importantly, also have their own burdens to carry. Take time to talk and enjoy the comfort of knowing you are not alone.
- Transition slowly to a healthier diet. Carbohydrates can help promote the production of serotonin in the brain that helps in regulating the sleep patterns and aid in relaxation.
- Exercise regularly. This is important to help your body eliminate all the metabolic by-products that have built up in the system. It also aids in releasing tension in the body. Practicing Asanas (Yoga poses) have been proven highly effective in eliminating stress.
- Learn to delegate. Don’t overburden yourself by having too much on your plate. Handle one thing at a time instead of trying to do everything all at once.
- Get adequate sleep and rest. Your body should have at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Learn meditation and breathing techniques to aid relaxation.
Yoga Relaxation Techniques
Also known as the Ocean Breathe due to the soft sound it generates, this particular breathing technique helps you calm your mind and keep you centered.
- Find a place to sit upright comfortably.
- Relax the shoulders and allow tension to flow out from the body. Your hands should rest on your knees.
- Gently close your eyes then start to consciously slow down your breathing.
- Constrict the muscles on your throat area, as if you are about to whisper.
- Exhale slowly from your nostrils.
- Keep your mind clear from any thoughts and simply focus on your breathing.
- Perform at least 20 breaths for every session.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This breathing exercise can help you effectively balance the serotonin levels of your brain, which is the chemical that is responsible for regulating happiness. When performed on a regular basis, this exercise pushes the oxygen towards the bottom of the lung as well as aids in the removal of toxins once you exhale.
- Using your left hand, place your thumb under your right nostril to block the air.
- Inhale from your left nostril for 4 seconds.
- Using your right hand, gently pinch your left nostril using the ring finger for as long as you can without feeling any serious discomfort.
- Release your left thumb then exhale from your right nostril for 8 seconds.
- Inhale with the same right nostril for 4 seconds before holding your breath for as long as you can.
- Exhale with your left nostril.
This is also known as the Bharadvajasana, which is the gentle stead twist that can help you effectively relieve the tension from the spinal area, particularly the lower back.
- Start by sitting upright on your Yoga mat.
- Slowly bend your knees then position your feet over to the left.
- Inhale slowly and deeply while reaching back using your right arm.
- Exhale then twist towards the right. In this position, you are as if looking over your right shoulder.
- Position your left hand on the outer portion of your right knee in order to achieve a deeper twist.
- Hold this position for 3 to 4 deep breaths.
- Repeat the same procedure on the other side.
Popularly known as the Corpse Pose, this is typically practiced at the end of a Yoga session in order to let go of all the remaining stress in the body.
- Lie flat on the floor with both feet and arms stretched out.
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply.
- Simply relax in this pose for 1 to 2 minutes.
These techniques can help you relax and relieve the tension of your body. It is however, highly recommended to practice Yoga in order to derive the great benefits of attaining mind and body alignment.
Not quite sure what type of Yoga is best for you? Types of Yoga And Knowing What Works for You provides you a detailed information on different options available.