Incorporating Yoga for Stress Relief

Incorporating Yoga for Stress Relief

Steve Auger headshotPosted by Steve Auger, guest blogger

We all wish life was worry-free. Unfortunately, stress inevitably rears its ugly head. Even the most positive people can get stressed out, but there are ways to combat it to ensure it doesn’t overwhelm you. Exercises such as jogging, bike riding, weightlifting, and group classes are just a few ways people deal with stress. You can also use yoga for stress management.

Stress comes in many forms and has a variety of causes. From personal issues to social and workplace woes, the average daily routine is full of stimuli that naturally wear us down. Jobs, marriages, illnesses, and finances can overwhelm anyone, and health issues such as depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain can result from long-term bouts of stress. Practicing yoga regularly is a mental cleanse as much as it is physical, and promotes health in a number of ways.

Here are three of the most common causes of stress and how yoga can help you keep it under control.

women practicing yogaHigh Cortisol Levels

According to Today’s Dietitian, excessively high levels of cortisol can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, stress, and obesity. How does yoga address this? Intense breathing—a major focus of yoga—can balance out cortisol levels, according to, reducing high levels and increasing low levels. Keeping those levels in check helps to reduce stress and the potential for dangerous diseases.

Improper Sleep

One of the best ways to reduce stress is by making sure we’re properly rested. That starts with getting the necessary, uninterrupted sleep our bodies need on a nightly basis. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a study of 20 chronic insomnia sufferers showed that a daily yoga treatment helped their quality of sleep, with them waking less throughout the night and falling asleep again more quickly after awakening.

Shallow Breathing

Harvard Medical School explains that deep breathing can lower and stabilize high blood pressure, and also slow a quickly beating heart. Shallow breathing, on the other hand, means the lungs aren’t getting as much oxygen as they should, which can make you feel short of breath. This can lead to increased tension and anxiety. Hatha yoga is a great method for beginners to try because it moves at a slower pace, focusing on poses with controlled breathing.

Stress relief is something we all struggle with, but by implementing a regular yoga routine you can help keep stress under control.

Do you practice yoga? How does it help you deal with stress? Let us know in the comments below.

Image source: Flickr