Experience the true essence of yoga!
Uh-oh, here it goes again. You feel irritable, frustrated at having to wait for something or someone, pains in your shoulders or neck, pains in your chest or stomach, unable to sleep or excessive sleeping. You know that feeling: stress! Stress causes distress to the body, and many illnesses can be directly related to stress. We may not be able to control the situations that cause stress, but we can control how we react to it.
Yoga can give you the tools you need to help combat the effects of stress on the body. Just ask anyone who has taken a yoga class, the sense of peace and tranquility they experience after is absolutely wonderful. Your blood pressure will lower, you heart rate will become normal, and yes that pesky headache will disappear. But the effects of stress have more than a “temporary” physical manifestation; there is a domino effect. Stress colors our judgment with food choices; it alters our breathing patterns robbing our cells of the quality and quantity of breath they need to function appropriately.
Through meditation, breathing exercises and guided postures, yoga will help you to slow down the activities of the mind – the first step in combating stress. There are increasing demands on our lives from taking the kids to after school activities, to meeting deadlines at work and stretching our budgets in a difficult economy. Yoga teaches us to just stop and breathe, experience the breath, be present for our practice and take a moment for ourselves. After all, without our health we will not be able to respond to all those demands on our lives.
Meditation will alter your mindset; breathing exercises will increase the flow of breath into the body; and guided postures will relax the muscles and correspondingly relax the body. The continued and consistent practice of yoga will reduce and potentially reverse the effects stress on the body.
Experience your first yoga class by practicing this meditation to relax the mind and relieve stress. Begin by sitting in a comfortable chair; elongate the breath by counting to five on the inhale and the exhale. Let’s begin:
Inhale through the nose; Exhale through the nose.
Inhale through the mouth; Exhale through the mouth.
Inhale through the nose; Exhale through the mouth.
Inhale through the mouth; Exhale through the nose.
(Repeat for 5 minutes daily.)
This article appeared in our August newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here and be the first to know about new classes, upcoming events, and articles on yoga and meditation.