Yoga helps to relieve our stress levels, there’s no denying that by the end of your first class you will be feeling more relaxed and less stressed. Here’s 3 reasons why
1. The Ujjayi Breath
Using the ujjayi breath is an instant reset for our bodies. We go about our day to day lives chest breathing happily, okay not happily but it’s what we are used to. Little do we realize we are depriving the body of oceans of oxygen. So then we go and add stress to the mix, typical daily stressors, the kids have ballet, the laundry needs to be washed and the mortgage paid etc. And then lets add in a deep stressor, say… Lay-off’s are going around at work, or you don’t get along with your boss… Whoa! Now we are moving into tension headaches, emotional exhaustion and the list just keeps going. Suddenly we are no longer fun to hang around with, and truth be told in these moments we may not want to hang around with ourselves.
Ok so lets get into how the ujjayi breath, we pair with our movements in yoga, helps to release this tension. Going back to the chest breathing, the ujjayi breath forces us to slow down those quick shallow breathes, which are usually quicker and shallower the more stressed we get. The next time you feel the stress bubbling up in your chest, or that tension headache coming on, try looking up and taking 10 (or 20 or 100) deep ujjayi breathes. That slow steady belly breath feeds the lungs and brain with oxygen which automatically causes a relaxing response in the body.
Have you ever tried to meditate? Often when first learning to meditate or even as a seasoned meditator our go-to start is to focus our attention on our breathing. Attempting to corralling the mind from it’s usual tirade of thoughts, and when we’re stressed those thoughts become an avalanche on the mind. By focusing on the breaths natural in and out flow we “tie the puppy” aka the mind “to a post”, put a leash on it! Taking this back to yoga, our use of the ujjayi breath matched with the movements of the poses, FYI; another great mind distractor, allows us to enter a mild meditative state while we practice. This calming of the mind is why we leave the yoga studio feeling so relaxed after even a strong/deep yoga workout.
We need to give Savanasa a ton of credit for that relaxed peaceful feeling we leave with after a good practice. There’s all kinds of glowing information on the internet explaining how and why Savasana is important, from www.Chopra.com:
“Savasana helps relieve mild depression, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia, according to Yoga Journal. Savasana can calm the nervous system and promote equanimity in your entire body. Fatigued muscles get to relax, tense shoulders and jaws soften, and the eyes quiet down to reflect a quieter state of mind.”
So it’s obvious to see how yoga which includes a Savasana in every class here at Bareneed Yoga, is the cherry on top of our stress relieving pie.
To quickly recap, 3 ways that yoga helps to relieve stress:
- The Ujayi Breath