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How to Control Stress With Yoga

by:Joy Summit      2020-12-27
Though yoga originated in India as a religious practice, it has evolved into different forms of discipline. When chosen as exercise, it can benefit almost everybody.
The term is a derivation of a Sanskrit word that means union. In its more common usage, the term refers to the poses or asanas that are one of the means to achieving a sense of well being. The poses combine stretching with controlled breathing. There may also be meditative segments and guided imagery.
The key to benefiting is to establish a practice or regular routine. Flexibility and fitness are not required since there are modifications available. As strength grows, practitioners can move into more difficult variations and further increase the suppleness of the muscles. Classes are available in many places including community centers, health clubs, and yoga studios. Very little special equipment is required.
There are several branches. They emphasize different types of poses as well as variations in intensity. Finding the form that feels right on one's body can take time but is well worth the effort. A good version to try first is Hatha. Its pace is slower and its poses are relatively easy.
Studies have shown that yoga may help limit the effects of certain conditions like asthma and PMS. However, it is also very well suited to reducing stress and anxiety. With a consistent practice, at each session, the body becomes both relaxed and energized. It may be the controlled breathing that targets stress best. Focusing on the breath takes the mind away from other worries.
Here is one asana anyone can try now as long as the back is healthy. It is called the cat pose. It increases familiarity with the body's center and helps with coordinating movement and breathing. Begin on all fours, preferably on a padded surface so that there will be less pressure on the knees. Make sure the hands are straight down from the shoulders and the knees are straight down from the hips. Rock forward and back gently to find the place where the spine is straight and the body is balanced. Inhale. On the exhale, pull the abdominal muscles up and curve the spine. Drop the head so there is a single semi-circular line running from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Inhale and release the pose.
Developing a yoga practice requires commitment and discipline. However, it is well worth the effort. Not only will the body become stronger and more flexible, the mind will be more relaxed and resilient.
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