7 Ways Yoga Can Help You Destress

To say that 2020 was a stressful year is, for many of us, an understatement. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges, many of which are still confronting us. Stress is a natural reaction to these difficult times. Stress, however, is not good for us. One such coping mechanism is mindfulness meditation, which has been embraced by many to find solace in the chaos. Another approach is connecting with support networks, such as the Urban Ice Tribe, a community that understands the struggles of these times and offers a helping hand. In this article, we discover seven ways that the regular practice of yoga can act as a natural stress-relief valve.

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7 Ways Yoga Can Help You Destress
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Yoga Relaxes the Mind

Many people find it difficult to stop their mind from racing. It prevents them from getting a good night’s sleep or relaxing at the end of the workday. Yet, a 30 minute yoga session can do wonders in terms of slowing down your mind and allowing you to relax and destress. The atmosphere in a yoga class is very different than you will find in a cardio room or on the gym weight room floor. Yoga is geared toward quiet contemplation and harmony between the mind and the body. 

Yoga is a natural complement for the practice of mindfulness, in which you empty your mind of external thoughts and really get in touch with yourself.

Yoga Relaxes the Body

More than any other form of exercise, yoga consists of an amalgamation of the mind and the body. Many forms of yoga involve moving purposefully and slowly through a range of motion. It promotes a mind-muscle connection that very quickly allows your body to relax. When your body relaxes, you will feel the tension and stress being released. The slow, constant, rhythmic motion of forms such as vinyasa flow yoga also promotes better blood circulation which, in turn, speeds up the delivery to much-needed oxygen and nutrients to your muscle cells and your brain.

Yoga Promotes Better Breathing

You’ve been breathing your whole life, so it’s obviously something that you’re pretty good at. Yet, if you are like most people, you are missing out on a number of breathing techniques that can be useful tools to help you to get a handle on stress. This type of deep nasal breathing helps to get more oxygen into your lungs. More than that, it can also help you to slow down mentally and coordinate your breathing with your actions. This can, in itself be a form of meditation that helps you to clear your mind and harmonize your physical and mental selves when you are practising yoga.

Yoga is Non Threatening

We all know that exercise can be a great stress releaser. However, when we are really stressed, we may not be able to rouse up the energy or the enthusiasm for hardcore gym workouts. That’s where yoga comes in. Yoga is a non threatening form of exercise. It is something that you can ease into. Even if you are lacking in energy, you can get started slowly. Then, as your stress starts to release, your energy levels will increase and, before you know it, you will be fully engaged in your yoga workout.

Yoga Makes You Fit 

The fitter a person is, the less prone they will be to stress. Yoga will make you fitter both aerobically and anaerobically. It will improve your strength levels, enhance your flexibility and make you more supple. Yoga also makes you more coordinated, improving your balance and proprioception. The fitness that you get from the regular, consistent practice of yoga will help you to cope with tense situations and make you less likely to be overwhelmed by stress.

Yoga can also serve as an effective warm down after weight training. It can help to iron out the kinks and muscle aches in your body and is great for foot and ankle pain.

Yoga Improves Your Hormone Balance

When you are stressed, your hormones get out of balance. You overproduce cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone and underproduce such feel-good hormones as dopamine and serotonin. When you perform yoga exercise, however, this process is reversed. You will flush out the cortisol and replace it with dopamine and serotonin. It is this chemical rebalancing within the brain that makes exercise in general and yoga specifically such an effective stress release.

Yoga Promotes Better Sleep

When we are filled with stress, sleep is usually one of the first things to suffer. Yet, lack of sleep is, in itself, a cause of stress. This sets us up for a cycle of stress that is very difficult to break free from. Yet, exercises such as yoga can help us to get a better night’s sleep every night. To get the best sleep benefits we suggest having your yoga session in the late afternoon. 

Prior to bedtime, spend five or ten minutes in mindful meditation. If you are prone to stress at night, you may also find it useful to write down all the things that concern you in your journal. These are the things that you will consider the following day. Now leave them behind and get ready for bed.

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