Monday, December 12, 2011

Manic Monday: Yoga for Stress Relief

One of the main themes for Manic Monday has always been stress management.  The reason I talk about stress and its management so much is because it truly has the most profound effect on our mental and physical health. There will always be situations that are stressful, but that doesn't mean that we have to react to them and then carry that stress around with us all day long.  Holding onto stress keeps us from focusing on the beauty of life and the precious moments that make life great.

One way to address the stress in your life and learn how to release it is through yoga.  This ancient practice is far more than just an exercise.  The Indians consider it part of a holistic practice that includes physical postures (asanas), ethical disciplines, mental imagery, breathing techniques and much more.  What you see in books and magazines (the asanas) are only just one part of a complete practice of self development.

For stress, any of the yogic practices can be beneficial.  I discussed some breathing techniques used in yoga in a previous post.  Conscious breathing can help the body and mind relax, offering relief from a stressful life.  The asanas, which are like meditative movements, have also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.  In fact, there are studies which show that yoga actually lowers cortisol levels in the body.  The effort involved in learning and practicing yoga is fully worth it.

If you don't have the time or money to take yoga classes at a studio with a qualified teacher, you can pick up a book or video that teaches some basic techniques and simple asanas and breathing exercises.  Although it is recommended to find a qualified teacher, you can learn some basic things on your own.  Spending just 15 to 20 minutes a day can have a huge impact on your levels of stress and ability to relax.  Think about doing yoga three times a week and meditating or breathing on the other days.  Your mind and body will thank you.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

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