Top 10 Ways Yoga Helps Reduce Chronic Stress

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1)    Yoga reduces high blood pressure and improves overall cardiovascular health. Yoga keeps your ticker strong and the blood moving efficiently through your veins.

2)    The practice of quieting the mind can release you from mental ruts that your mind gets stuck in. Yoga quells the fluctuations of the mind, giving you some perspective on the thoughts that are creating your stress.  By watching our thoughts as an interested observer instead of getting attached to them, we can let go of the things that stress us out the most.

3)    Yoga gives you a variety of breathing exercises, patterns, and tools to try. When you experience chronic stress, you often forget to take a deep breath and relax. Better breathing brings more oxygen flow to the brain and muscles, improving how your body is functioning. Remember, there is no one right way of breathing, find the rhythm that works best for you!

4)    A student once said to me, “I just can’t master savasana.” I thought, well there is the problem, stop trying to master it and just let yourself experience it! Giving up the control is so hard for us, but super important to combat stress. Savasana = adult nap time, and one of the most important poses we can ever practice. It is the perfect time to give your body a chance to reset and re-calibrate itself.

5)    Yoga restores the endocrine system, which is instrumental in regulating mood, cell growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, and reproductive health. Healthy endocrine system = less stress.

6)    In the modern world, our bodies are in a constant state of fight or flight. High levels of cortisol (the "stress hormone") are associated with many health issues and can compromise the immune system. Yoga lowers your cortisol levels, so your body will start to shift from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). When you practice yoga and work with your breath, you are taking your foot off of the gas pedal and letting your nervous system get the down time that it needs.

7)    Yoga gives you an hour to unplug, to stop scrolling and take a break from constantly looking at a screen. Some people call this a “data diet” or “tech detox”, and in our social networking world, this can seem impossible. However, taking a break from your technology can be the vacation you need, and it doesn’t cost a thing!

8)    Yoga gives you time to let go of your crowded schedule and your ever-growing to-do list. No one needs you to do anything in yoga except take care of YOU! It is not selfish to refill your cup so that you can pour into others. It is not a luxury. It is essential for healthy living.

9)    Sweat= nature’s anti-depressant. When in doubt, sweat it out!

10)     Yoga can reduce pain, relieve muscle tension and diminish insomnia. A regular yoga practice sets you up for better sleep, so when you go to bed, your body can get the rest it needs.

Bonus:  

11)     Yoga can help you reflect on areas of your life you could change to further reduce stress. By improving our mental well-being, we can have a clearer view of what is working and what is not. This process of self-reflection can help you make the decisions you need to live a more balanced life, both on and off of your mat.