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Friday, September 18, 2009

Yoga for controlling stress

Today our lifestyle has become such that we are constantly under pressure and stress. Stress has become an integral of life and affects us in many detrimental ways. As societies and cultures have evolved we have learnt to expect stress in our day to day life, but we have still not learnt the right way to deal with this stress.

The effects of stress are not only manifested as illnesses of our body, but also of our mind. Many of the most pressing health concerns today are directly related to stress. Stress can cause physical discomfort and aches all over the body, especially in the lower back region and the neck and shoulders in addition to lack of sleep and inability to concentrate.

How to control stress?

Fortunately, yoga can come to your rescue. No matter how you may react to stress, yoga makes you feel much more relaxed and de-stressed. Simple yoga techniques like deep breathing and Shavasana (The Corpse Pose) can help you relax and free your mind from nagging thoughts.

There are several other stress reduction techniques, but by far, yoga has proved to be the most effective technique to control stress. Yogis are famous world over for their ability in controlling stress and appearing unperturbed even in times of chaos and confusion. Anyone, no matter at what fitness levels they may be, can practice yoga.

Yoga is a holistic approach for wellness. Apart from giving you the ability to control stress, yoga also helps you bring together the mind and the body, creating a spiritual balance between the two. Here are some of the yoga exercises you can do to beat stress.
  • Start with the Shavasana. This is also known as the corpse pose. Lie down flat on your back with your eyes closed. Stretch your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up. Stay in this position for a few minutes while envisioning the various parts of your body.
  • Maintaining the same position, start to turn your head from side to side. Inhale and exhale deeply, allowing fresh air to enter your lungs. In your mind, tell yourself that you are feeling relaxed, while consciously allowing each one of your body parts to distress.
  • Let your breathing be easy. Do not try to control or alter its rhythm. Concentrate on the inhalation and exhalation and the heaving of your chest with each breath you take.
  • Think of a calm and serene place and imagine that you are there. Try to ignore any thoughts that may trouble you. Initially, it will be difficult to let your mind be completely devoid of thoughts but as time progresses, you will be able to master your thoughts and eliminate stress while you are practicing these yogic techniques.