The Benefits of Yoga for Stress Management

Starting up a yoga practice has many wonderful benefits for both your body and your mind. In addition to helping increase strength and flexibility, calming the mind, and serving as a wonderful weight management tool, the benefits of yoga in itself are endless. You will find that Fitness Nation offers a wide range of Arlington yoga classes, all of which aim to help you deepen your practice and achieve your health and wellness goals.

In addition to the benefits mentioned briefly above, yoga is also a great way to deal with stress and anxiety. It is safe to say that everyone suffers from mild anxiety or stress at some point in their lives, but chronic anxiety is a whole different matter. Individuals who are constantly stressed out or feel anxious more often than not are actually doing a lot of harm to their body. Chronic anxiety takes a tremendous toll on the body, draining energy resources and keeping the body in a constant state of stress. When the body is not exercised and there is no relief in sight, it causes tension in the muscles to build up. Furthermore, those who suffer from stress and anxiety also have a more difficult time breathing and the mind never rests.

Yoga was created some 500 years ago, and while practitioners at the time may not have had the scientific knowledge to explain why it worked, they knew it did. Nowadays, we are able to use modern science to help us understand why, exactly, yoga gives us relief from stress.

What is Happening When We Are Stressed?

Before we can go over yoga as a stress management tool, it may be helpful to look at what is happening to the body when we are stressed or anxious. For starters, our stress level is all centered around the hormone cortisol. Under normal conditions, the brain slowly released cortisol into the body to make your muscle work. When you are under a lot of stress, your brain thinks there is an emergency and floods your system with cortisol. While this is a good thing in the event of an actual emergency, too much cortisol can lead to ulcers, high blood pressure, weight gain, and it can throw you immune system off.

Yoga for Stress

Ok, now that we know what is going on when we are stressed, let’s look at how yoga can help. As any person who has taken a yoga class can attest to, yoga is all about how we use the breath. Referred to as pranayama in yoga, the ability to control our breathing patterns when we want to is instrumental in allowing us to deal with stress. Through the help of yoga and pranayama, we can slip ourselves into a ‘rest and digest’ state that will allow our minds and bodies to get some much-needed relief. Here are a few other ways yoga can serve as a beneficial stress management tool:

  • It can help you access an inner strength that allows you to face would-be overwhelming situations and thoughts
  • Yoga is a ‘whole body’ practice
  • Yoga teaches you breath techniques that are great for people who feel stressed out
  • Yoga teaches you how to relax and meditate, giving the mind a break
  • Yoga nurtures your body, mind, and soul

No matter what level of yogi you are, you are sure to find a yoga class that fits your schedule and needs at Fitness Nation. It is our intention to offer a wide range of classes that will help people take the plunge and start a new yoga practice, or continue to take classes in order to keep stress levels low. For more information about our Arlington yoga classes, please check out our class offerings or come in and see us today!