There are so many reasons for mothers to get stressed. Caring for a home takes a lot of mental and physical energy. It is everything from the finances, to the anxiety of our children’s safety, to the dirty dishes. However, left undealt with, stress can not only hurt our health but our families well-being. So, if you are a mother (or anyone else for that matter) and are finding difficulties facing stress in and out your home, you may want to try getting down on a mat to give yoga a try. But you may still want to know how does yoga relieve stress and is it really all that it is cracked up to be?
How Does Yoga Relieve Stress?
Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines body poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation.
There are many different types of yoga (kundalini yoga, bikram yoga, viniyoga, raja yoga, bhakti yoga, mantra yoga, yoga nidra) but the one that is most common is called Hatha Yoga. This is one that should be considered because it relaxes your body and relieves tension and stress.
The core components of Hatha Yoga are:
Poses: There are 84 basic poses. They range from simple basic poses that have you laying on the floor to more difficult poses that stretch multiple body parts. They provide different health benefits from relieving stress and strengthening your spine, to helping your digestive system.
Breathing: Yoga breathing or Pranayama is very important to yoga and has the ability to quickly increase our energy and release stress. These controlled breathing exercises help you control your body and put your mind at peace.
Relaxation and Meditation: This refers to the loosening of your bodily and mental tension. This is useful before meditation is done.
The Health Benefits of Yoga
Some of the more obvious benefits of yoga are improved posture, flexibility, and muscle strength, but there are more reasons to try it out.
Reduces risk of chronic disease. Practicing yoga can help reduce the risk of some of the chronic diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure. It may also help alleviate the symptoms of conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and pain.
Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol. Yoga can lower your blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Yoga is very useful for diabetics, by lowering their blood sugar they lower their risk for diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness.
Lowers blood pressure. Yoga naturally lowers your blood pressure by allowing you to relax due to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Helps you lose weight. Though those who practice yoga burn fewer calories than those who do traditional exercises, yoga increases insulin sensitivity and lowers cortisol levels allowing you to burn food as a fuel rather than store it as a fat.
Yoga is generally safe for all people but like with any physical activity always consult your physician before starting yoga at home or a yoga class. Although you can learn yoga from books and videos, you will get the best help as a beginner learning with an instructor. Search for a yoga class near you and when you find one that seems interesting be sure to ask the instructor questions.
Some questions you may want to ask are:
- How long have you trained and what are your qualifications?
- Does the instructor have experience working with people with special health needs(if you have some of your own be sure to include them)
- Is the class suitable for beginners, will they be able to keep up?
- What can I expect from the class? Is it aimed at helping with stress and relaxation?
So what have we learned about yoga and its benefits?
Yoga does reduce stress. It lowers our blood pressure allowing us to relax by lowering the levels of cortisol in our system.
The controlled breathing techniques help us control our bodies and allow us to quiet our minds. Then we can put our bodies into a relaxation that relieves bodily and mental tension.
There are many poses that give us many different benefits. Yoga has been around for centuries and is only a class or a video away.
Yoga is a great way to lose weight but you won’t lose as much weight as traditional exercise.
I love yoga because it is a great way to relax my mind and bring me to a calm I usually can’t attain otherwise. The breathing exercises I have learned themselves are enough of a reason for me to practice yoga.
So what do you think? Are you currently interested in taking yoga or are you already practicing? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. All feedback is welcome and appreciated!