Stress Management with Yoga: The Wisdom of the Ancients
Relax with your Body, the Oldest Friend you Have
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is the premier text on applying yoga to all facets of one’s life. It’s a spiritual guide to living a life by laudable principals with yoga as the physical, mental, and spiritual vehicle toward achieving this goal. Patanjai wrote his concise aphorisms which constitute the legendary work roughly 15 centuries ago, yet the content is just as meaningful today as it was then. (which is why you can find it translated in most of the world’s languages) Perhaps it’s even more relevant today since materialism has brought people more stuff than ever and yet depression and despondency seem to be at an all time high. “Yoga is to still the patterning of the consciousness.” That is a translation of one of the major tenets of Patanjali’s Sutras. It’s a worthy concept and quite a tall order, but just hearing it the first time (and every time thereafter) is enough to settle down the mind and open the door to serenity.
At the end of every class, students will most likely hear a statement by their teacher telling them to thank their body for all that it does for them. There are many different types of yoga accessible to people, regardless of what their body type is or how in shape they are. In fact, Iyengar Yoga is a specific practice which makes use of many props tha help students get as close to poses as they can. Folks with disabilities and injuries are welcome as well. This gratitude towards one’s body is truly a novel concept since we are all bombarded constantly by messages (both direct and indirect) from everywhere that our bodies are in some way unworthy and in vast need of improvement. Advertisers need to make you think you’re less than equal in the majority of cases; otherwise you wouldn’t need their product.
Yoga is about respecting the light and spiritual, universal essence in the “Jones’s”, not the need to have an equal or better car in your garage than they do. When you can see through that bunk and realize that you can never possibly have enough once you start chasing material goods and status, you may be able to experience the elusive joy that can be uncovered, like an onion, in the human condition. Yoga relies on immersing yourself in the inner workings of tiny muscles that you might never have realized were there. Working toward achieving true poses is anything but superficial. By the time you’re finished a yoga class, your brain is in the alpha state, which means that your brave wavelengths are in shape for serenity.
Get In Tune with your Body, Not your Monkey Mind
Yoga is about acceptance of the body you have, and about progress, not perfection. If you read the vast majority of self-help books, you will find them reiterating that a path to happiness and fulfillment rests in practicing gratitude, awareness, kindness, and attention. You will find all these principles in yoga, which focuses on immersing oneself in the bloom of the present moment. Of course, living in the now is also one of the most critical habits in stress management, thus avoiding the traps of worrying and living in the past or future. Shiva Rhea: Daily Energy – Vinyasa Flow Yoga is an article reviewing a DVD that showcases a type of yoga that is especially good for stress relief so you could do it anytime.
So let’s delve into the science of stress relief through yoga. A huge factor in cultivating the ability to cope with stress is the ability to relax your body and be able to bring about equanimity in any set of circumstances, no matter how trying. Practitioners learn how awareness and manipulation of the breath has a calming effect and is soothing to the central nervous system. This, in turn, will actually boost your body’s immune system, helping you word off illness and disease. The poses align your body correctly which physically relieves it of the stress of misalignment. The misalignment of the spinal cord is a major source of all kinds of problems. Kundalini Yoga focuses heavily on correct alignment with quick breathing known as “the breath of fire.” This kind of breath work rids the body of harmful toxins and gets fresh oxygen to organs and clears up those chakras to let vital chi flow freely.
Staying limber is obviously better for you than being rigid and tense. But apart from keeping your body well stretched, certain yoga poses actually stimulate glands in the brain that aid in relaxation. The controlled, deep breathing inherent in yoga is soothing to the nervous system and gets a lot more of the good stuff to distant cells than normal, shallow breathing will. Finally, the meditative process involved with deeply concentrating on achieving all the nuances of a pose will silence that monkey mind. Therefore you become fully immersed in the moment, free of mental afflictions, worry, and stress.
Yoga and Weight Loss
When it comes to yoga for weight loss, it’s a different ballgame because weight loss requires that you burn a lot of calories by keeping your heart rate up. Luckily we already have some great articles on our channel here which describe the yogic disciplines catered to this goal in detail. How Many Calories Does Bikram Yoga describes why this type of class has become immensely popular, because it can slim you down by engaging in specific pose sequences in a hot room. Be prepared to sweat for it.
And if you don’t want to join a class, we’ve got all 26 poses described here in Bikram Poses, so just crank up the heat in your house and get moving. By the same token, hot yoga is also ideal for weight loss for the same reason that bikram is (heated room, constant, challenging movement). You are likely to find hot yoga classes somewhere near you because of its popularity.
Depending upon the intensity and length of the class, vinyasa yoga can also be a good choice for weight loss. Flow Yoga: A Graceful Shape-Shifting Practice to Keep You in the Zone will teach you how this class will keep you moving, morphing from one pose to another without stopping. As you can see, this type of yoga fits under both categories if you are truly pressed for time.
Now that you understand just how great the benefits of yoga for stress management and weight loss are, I hope you decide to include some form of it into your fitness schedule. Science is uncovering the wisdom of the body at the level of the cells more and more. But the ancient yogis who developed yoga knew these things long before microscopes or CAT scans ever came into being. Namaste! The light in me salutes the light in you.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Northern Lights Yoga in Helena, Montana https://northernlightsyoga.com/