4 ways yoga can help to reduce stress and ease anxiety

We all know someone who is super into yoga whether it be your friends, your mom, your dad, or your aunt or uncle some people simply swear by it. But why? How does it work?

1. Yoga is calming.

Life is demanding we can all relate. Applying for internships? Awaiting to hear back from that company you would really love to work for? Professors bombarding you with work? Bank account going to shambles? Take a step back. You will gain experience with time, the company will get back to you, your work will get done, and you will succeed if you put the time and effort into doing so. Yoga helps those suffering with anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and PTSD by modulating the body’s stress response according to research conducted by Harvard Medical School. Yoga can help to recenter and revitalize both the body and the mind. It helps us to put our focus on the breath instead of internalized thought processes. There are all different styles, forms, and intensities of yoga so chances are you will be able to find one that you feel is a good match for you.

2. Yoga has proven medical benefits.

Yoga has been proven to help those with hypertension and high blood pressure by restoring something called “baroreceptor sensitivity” in the body which is related to your heart rate. Due to this, yoga has been added to many cardiac rehabilitation programs within the United States. It has been also related to the lowering of cholesterol and sugar intake in some individuals. Additionally, yoga helps to increase muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance.

3. Yoga helps you to stay mindful.

It is important to take some time out of each day to take care of your mental health. The importance of taking care of your mental health was first recognized by in 1909 by mental health pioneers Dorothea Dix and Clifford Beers. They believed in advocating for and providing appropriate resources to people suffering from mental illnesses. Yoga will help you to become mentally stronger. The practice of yoga will become easier with time–you will eventually develop a “flow.” Once you start routinely practicing yoga you might find healthy habits like staying mindful to become easier to incorporate into your day-to-day life. The practice of mindfulness will not just help you stay in the present moment, but will also help you to better monitor what you eat, helps with increasing self-control, tone the body, and improve body image.

4. It is a positive outlet.

There are some schools in the United States that are starting to use yoga as an alternative to detention. These schools encourage mindfulness and meditation methods instead of punishing these youths. Since the enactment of this policy, one school reports that there have been zero suspensions at these schools. The children can take their mindful practice home with them which could also positively impact parent-child relationships. Student meditation is also correlated to the improvement of: test scores, information processing, and dealing with stress caused by deadlines. For those with generalized anxiety or social anxiety, I think that attending yoga classes could help you to get out of your comfort zone in a healthy way. If you are very socially anxious, I would recommend going to yoga the first few times with a close friend and seeing how you feel. For those who are struggling with addiction, yoga could help teach you to pause, delay gratification, and return to the present before making harmful choices. Yoga can help people to feel more comfortable within their own bodies and that feeling is unbeatable.

Videos for yoga at home:

Morning:

Bedtime:

Vinyasa:

Strength & Focus:

Reference

Publications, Harvard Health. “Yoga for Anxiety and Depression.” Harvard Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2017. <http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression&gt;.

Publications, Harvard Health. “Yoga – Benefits Beyond the Mat.” Harvard Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2017. <http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat&gt;.

Gaia. “Yoga and Addiction: Helping Release the Grip.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2017. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gaiam-tv/yoga-for-addiction_b_2670245.html&gt;.

Upworthy. “This School Sends Kids to Meditation Instead of Detention.” YouTube. YouTube, 04 Jan. 2017. Web. 11 Feb. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzjKJK00tT8&gt;.

“Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2017. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/yoga/art-20044733&gt;.

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