Yoga for Stress Reduction
Yoga for Stress Reduction
Using breath, yoga poses & meditation to calm the body/mind
By: Carolyn Geiger – 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Spinning Star Level 3 Training, Hunterdon Health and Wellness Centers
As we know, exercise is a very effective method for reducing stress. However, how yoga is different from other styles of movement is the commitment to breath, self-awareness, and staying in the present moment.
One of the fundamental principles of yoga is that there is no separation between the mind and the body, they are interdependent and interconnected.
The most accessible tool to turn down the volume of stress is the conscious breathing used in the yoga poses as well as a focal point for Meditation. The most popular breathing technique used is Ujjayi breath. This style of breathing is inhaling and exhaling through the nose. It is also referred to as “ocean breath” – when practiced, the breath sounds like the ocean.
There are many yoga poses implemented according to the person’s physical ability. The most simple and basic poses can bring about this state of relaxation. A person can notice a difference in how they feel after only a few minutes of practicing.
There is no competition in yoga. It is about achieving abilities to perform flexible poses. Everyone is working at their own pace and within their own body.
Meditation is a practice of mindfulness. It is not trying to stop the stream of thoughts in the mind but trying to witness the thoughts without being pulled into their story. Generally, the eyes are closed during Meditation with the focus being on the breath. Some like to listen to music or some focus with their eyes open on an object.
It is the quality of the breath and the calmness of the mind that is the true goal. When that is the focal point of the practice, the person will receive the greatest benefits: strong & flexible mind and body, a sense of peacefulness and connection to ourselves as well and everyone and everything else.
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