With our busy modern lives, dealing with stress and anxiety is a reality that many people face. Those of us who have felt the releasing powers of a post yoga buzz will already know that yoga can play an important role in tackling the symptoms of stress related conditions. The evidence is more than anecdotal, research backs this up too. But exactly why and how can yoga help you deal with stress and anxiety? We talk you through everything you need to know!
The Science bit: Yoga as a natural anxiety and stress relief
According to Harvard Medical School practicing yoga reduces the body's stress response. When we start to worry about something, be that a deadline at work, our finances, or even a trip to the dentist, it can trigger a rush of stress hormones which then create physiological changes. They will no doubt be very familiar to you, things like tense muscles and a faster heart rate. It’s the state best known to us as the “fight or flight” mode.
Yoga works by reducing this perceived stress response, and in turn the physical side effects. By relaxing the body, yoga can for example, reduce the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and ease our breathing.
One study done by the University of Utah suggests just how powerful yoga can be in reducing stress. It showed that people who practiced yoga had a higher pain threshold, highlighting how yoga can help a person regulate their stress and therefore, pain responses. The bottom line is: yoga chills us out!
The best yoga to practice for reducing stress and anxiety
Whilst a lot of people will argue that a good sweaty workout can be a fantastic stress buster, experts seem to agree that some of the very best yoga styles and routines for targeting anxiety are restorative. These more gentle practices, like Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra allow for a much deeper state of relaxation. Similarly, some of the most simple poses, such as child’s pose, corpse pose (Savasana) and seated forward bend, can be the most effective. Staying in these gentle postures for 20 minutes can have a powerful impact on body and mind. When it comes to stress busting yoga: less is more!
Yoga Stress Busting Quick Fact Sheet:
- Helps the body shut down the ‘fight or flight’ response and move into rest and restoration mode.
- Helps ease the physical discomfort that is caused by anxiety, such as tense muscles.
- Focusing attention on both breath and movement can act as a form of meditation to calm frantic thoughts.
- Yoga classes offer community and connection, which can reduce panic and anxiety conditions.
If you’re looking for some stress relieving yoga, then why not check out bedtime yoga. The perfect soothing sleep partner for a better night's rest!