“star star teach me how to shine shine
so I know what's going on in your mind....”
I'm back listening to the frames after many years and just before I sat down to write this, the above lyric spoke out to me because the theme of this blog is all about how practicing yoga helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety and stress and can really help you shine like the stars we all are:)
There are many reasons to practice yoga and there are also many different reasons why people take up yoga. For some it's because of an injury or for others, like myself it's because something dramatic happens in our lives and we look for something to take us out of their minds and to reconnect to ourselves.
I'm not telling you anything new when I tell you that todays lifestyle is busy and we have to deal with stresses and strains on a daily basis. From a physical point of view we can end up carrying our stress and tension around with us on a daily basis feeling it as tight shoulders, stiff neck or lower back pain to name but a few. Mentally, some people experience stress in the form of anxiety attacks and this can show up as feelings of dizziness, pounding heart, sweating and shallow breathing. This is where practising yoga can not only be essential to body and mind health but can really help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety in the body. Heres how....
One of the most important elements of a physical yoga practice is to focus on your breathing. Slowing down the breath not only helps you connect with your body, it calms the mind and can also help you relax when you are in a tough pose. You can even use this simple technique of following the breath outside the class. Helping you to calm the mind and body in times of stress.
Just like all other forms of exercise, a yoga practice gives the body endorphins which improves mood, counteracts the effects of depression and relieves anxiety and stress. Also because a yoga practice is about balancing– body and mind and strength and flexibility, practicing yoga helps the body prevent injuries and relieves pain.
As I already mentioned, when we're feeling anxious or stressed we often tighten certain areas of our bodies without even realising it. If this tension builds up it can lead to pain in the shoulders, neck, back and other areas. Practicing yoga helps to relieve this muscle tension as yoga not only strengthens muscles but lengthens and relaxes them too. Yoga poses also focus a lot on posture and alignment so that over time your posture is bound to improve, reducing aches and muscle tension in the body.
Yes that's right – yoga is challenging! There are always certain poses that are going to be challenging, not matter what level you're at, even if you're a teacher!. Practicing something that is hard or challenging however is a good practice to take outside the class. If you have the patience, strength, flexibility and determination to get through a yoga class (especially a hot one!) then you definitely have the strength, determination and patience to get you through other areas of your life.
So if you haven't tried a yoga class yet, come and give it a go – your body and mind will thank you for it:)