Stress Management - the Yoga Way

What is stress? How does it manifest? How can we release it?

The stress response can be summarised as the “fight/flight” reaction. The “fight/flight” reaction is a physiological change in the body. As the body senses danger, it prepares itself to fight or to run:

  • Muscles tighten
  • Breathing becomes rapid
  • Adrenaline rushes through the body
When the danger passes, the body returns to a state of relaxation. This is a survival instinct, often activated in animals and humans in life threatening situations. In our world of today, the dangers we meet may not be “life threatening” but when we are challenged / threatened in any way, we activate this “fight/flight” response. In today’s world, in dealing with our fears, threats etc., we do not fight, we do not run. So the body remains at this high level of tension. Eventually, the relaxation response (the antidote) ceases to function and we remain highly charged. What follows from here are the symptoms developing in the body – the result of extreme tension in the body e.g. tension headaches, digestive disturbances, panic attacks etc.

Yoga helps in dealing with stress. How?
  • Yoga (exercises) postures work with tension and helps us become aware of tension in the body, understand it and release it
  • Breathing exercises help bring emotional stability and calm
  • Meditation helps focus the mind, relieves endless mental chatter and so brings clarity and peace of mind
  • Relaxation enables us to activate this natural response in the body and so experience the good feelings of release

Yoga is a philosophy that looks inwards and helps us understand, nurture and develop the whole person. Its wisdom is as relevant today in understanding the human condition as it was over five thousand years ago.

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