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Every year, over 30 million people worldwide, suffer from mental health issues, with it surfacing in three out of four people during childhood.
In today's world, stress and anxiety are everywhere we turn. If it's getting the best of you, you may need to hit the mat and give yoga a try.
It can have such a massive impact on your life. The overwhelming feeling when your heartbeat starts to speed up and your hands begin to tremor is a scary, uncomfortable one.
However, extensive research suggests that practicing yoga can help to relieve anxiety and modulate a stress response.
Yoga originates from India and is known as a mind and body practice that draws on so many different elements and helps people to be calm, present, and relaxed. It also served in building strength and flexibility. Yoga takes you inward and forces you to be in control of your mind and focus on your breath.
Yoga: An Ancient Mind-Body Remedy!
Over a decade, yoga has steadily become increasingly popular and is now used by many people in their everyday lives.
According to a US national survey, around 31 million adults have used it. There are several different types of yoga, with more popular types being Vinyasa, Hatha, and Bikram yoga.
Yoga is an ancient remedial mind-body practice that combines physical poses, along with controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation.
In essence, yoga's effects on the body and mind are similar to how you would feel after a spa treatment.
With the practice of yoga, it helps to dramatically reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and also lower your heart rate.
Harvard researchers published data in 2011 that found that 18 percent (the equivalent of 6.4 million Americans) had been advised by their healthcare practitioners to use mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation to reduce mental health issues.
The Impact of Anxiety
In today’s society, with a busy lifestyle and a finer line between work and home life, it can feel like it's too much at times.
Unfortunately, anxiety and stress are two regular occurrences that inhabit many people’s daily lives.
Whether you’re anxious about attending the first day of work or school, an upcoming work presentation, or are constantly bombarded with panic attacks, we all feel its effects at some point.
How each individual addresses and copes with it will significantly help you get through high levels of anxiety.
Relief from anxiety and stress is now only a yoga technique away!
But for many patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be a very appealing way to better manage symptoms. Indeed, the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent.
If we attempted to count all the instances in life when we experienced these emotions, we just may lose count!
Anxiety can show in many forms. For instance, it can surface when we fret about the results of an exam or the reaction of our parents to our career choice, nervousness about a first date or a job interview—we all have lived through these moments at one point or another.
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7 Steps to Overcome Anxiety and Stress
When we're busy and overly stressed, it's easy to stop doing the things that are good for us, like exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating well which is all in correlation to lacking the will to take care of ourselves.
When we step on the yoga mat, we have an opportunity to step out of the overactive thinking mode and into relaxation mode as the deep breathing serves to slow down the conscious active mind!
Yoga can teach us to breathe with awareness and to use the breath to move through challenging poses.
- Yoga decreases worrying... All of us have had the experience of getting stuck in our heads, with chronic worrying which can be exhausting. Yoga provides us the opportunity to practice letting go of the worries and coming back to our bodies and breath, over and over.
- Yoga helps us to regulate and control the breath. (This is especially great for panic attacks, which will bring your breathing down at an accelerated rapid pace.) The breath is directly connected to our nervous system. When we're anxious, we tend to take rapid, shallow breaths, and may even unconsciously hold our breath. When we slow down and deepen our breathing, we naturally soothe the nervous system.
- Yoga increases awareness of the body. We often carry unnecessary tension in certain areas of our bodies, and through the practice of yoga, we can get better at recognizing tension and easily let go of it. (Works wonders with tension headaches and stomach pain).
Yoga connects the body and mind, offering us a sense of harmony with your body and mind. When the two are connected, it helps you to live in the moment as well as become more mindful. By being more sensitive to your body's subtleties and having the ability to detect and respond when something isn’t quite right is the key to balance and inner wellbeing.
- Yoga demonstrates self compassion... When we make time for 15 or 20 minutes to do something kind for ourselves like yoga, we treat ourselves as someone who's worth taking care of.
- Yoga trains the mind to accept discomfort... We often run away from discomfort, and at times this retreat can lead us away from what we aim to achieve and in essence this fear stifles our growth. Avoiding activities that cause anxiety will in fact bleed the life out of our life's experiences.
Yoga calms the mind... It can seem difficult or impossible at times to relax the mind. Meditation is extremely powerful and is naturally used in combination with the practice of yoga. As you do each pose, you learn to calm the mind, as you breathe deeply and become aware of your breath which are all vital tools that are useful for coping with anxiety symptoms.
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Yoga Benefits for Beginners-Advanced
There is fast-growing evidence of regular yoga being a low-risk way of reaching several benefits of well-being, physically and mentally.
There are tons of documented overall health benefits that can be reaped from regular practice. With the proper equipment for your level and a yoga mat, you're off to terrific start.
In addition to the relaxing effect that comes directly from a session of yoga, we can also receive a greater awareness of our bodies that can further lower our physical tension and stress when we're away from the mat.
Whether you’re just beginning or more advanced, the poses will put your body into a position that you are not accustomed to.
However, knowing that something isn’t comfortable but you can and will get through it is something you can apply to several areas in your immediate life.
Moving your body into these poses might cause discomfort at first but it’s normal to feel that way. Getting through these physical challenges and powering through the discomfort will eventually help to increase your tolerance level.
It is excellent for those who suffer from lower back pain or sciatica, as it helps to realign your spine.
It is also a great way to join a community and feel more connected, which naturally helps to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation.