De-stressing with yoga!

2014May09_Yoga_AFitness is not just about toned abs and a washboard stomach, it’s about feeling healthy and living life to the full. In today’s fast moving world one of the biggest factors in ill-health and a poor quality of life is stress. There’s no doubt about it that as well as potentially exacerbating a whole host of health issues, stress can be mentally and physically draining and lead to poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyle habits prompted by the quest to destress and let off steam. What you could try instead is de-stressing with yoga!

Stress can be caused by your own thought processes, induced by events outside of your control, as well as created through unhealthy ways of living. A bad diet with no exercise is in fact putting stress on your body. If your life is not balanced then this can take its toll both physically and mentally. And what’s important to differentiate is a healthy adrenaline kick in certain situations and your body feeling swamped by stress hormones eliciting the fight or flight response with nowhere to go and nothing to do battle with aside from yourself.

It is easy and understandable to blame work and family pressures, as well as health and financial concerns. After all, these are real life realities. However, as well as taking a long hard look at how you live your life, you can also quell stress through exercise and yoga is one of the best.

If you need some convincing that yoga is an antidote  to feeling more relaxed in life then here are some of the benefits of yoga in the fight against stress:

  • Forces you to switch off: No phones, no demands and no outside stimuli; yoga is a great way to disconnect from whatever else is going on in your life and reconnect with yourself. Getting away from it all with yoga gives you a break from the stresses of everyday life.

  • Reduces cortisol levels: Studies show that yoga can have an impact on cortisol which is a stress hormone. The impact is immediate and you only have to look at how you feel after some yoga stretches to accept this.

  • Takes away pressure to perform: Competition can be a fun way to fuel motivation but non-competitive training can banish pressure and the resulting stress you feel to perform and perform better than someone else.

  • Gentle yet effective for a soothing effect: Yoga is not cardio exercise, although it can be a great complement to more vigorous workouts. This means that the stretches and movements have a calming effect, proving you can still build strength and improve your flexibility without putting your body under constant stress.

  • Gives you some space for you: The beauty of exercise is that it involves you working out for yourself, and mentally this can be a chance to forget other concerns for a while as you focus on you and your needs. The pace and style of yoga practice particularly instils this feeling.

  • Improves your mood: Yoga is known for stimulating the release of neurotransmitters, or so-called ‘happy hormones’. It’s way more difficult to feel down or stressed-out when you feel so great. Feeling good can also inspire you to make healthy changes in your life in a positive way.

  • Promotes a feeling of acceptance: Stress is sometimes compounded, or even created, when people are too critical about themselves and berate who they intrinsically are. Yoga promotes the idea of accepting where you are at right now in your life and moving in a positive direction at your own pace. In other words, you’re not fighting yourself physically or mentally with yoga.

There are many other ways in which yoga de-stresses. Find out more next week when we reveal some more anxiety busting benefits.



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