Today is National Stress Awareness Day. We all have stress in our lives and a certain amount of it is good for us but how do you cope with it? In this article Izzy Ixer talks about the benefits of yoga to combat stress.
We all know that feeling of being stressed. Stomach cramps, sweating, shaking and a feeling that we just want to run away. It’s the natural reaction of our body to everyday stress and it makes us just want to escape.
However stress is also the motivator to get us up and out of bed in the morning, giving us the impetus to do things, which we enjoy and which need to be done. So why has stress turned into something we want to avoid and why does it make us feel as if life is bearing down on us?
One of the reasons stress has become such an issue is that there are many aspects of life which have become sources of stress. Too many emails, a full diary of commitments, caring responsibilities, wanting to have a great social life, looking great, money problems, lack of job security, relentless changes at work. So what can we do? How do we take control?
Popular advice is to create a list of the things that you find stressful and see if you can cut some of them out. It’s a great start and well worth doing. Paying attention to your diet, exercise and getting enough sleep will all help you to feel more positive and on top of things. However, the thing you absolutely can learn to control is your reaction to the things you find stressful. With practice and discipline you can alter the way you react to things which cause you stress.
Many people have discovered that learning and practising Yoga can help them to control the way they react to situations and sources of stress. The discipline of practising postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama), relaxation and meditation, produce a level of control over the body and the mind which is wonderful to experience in the Yoga class and incredibly useful to use in your daily life. Learning how your body reacts and knowing how you can manage and control the natural fight or flight mechanism are invaluable skills.
Even the simplest of postures, done with attention and awareness of the breath, help you to learn more about your body and give you a new understanding of your breath, how it feels and how you can change it. By working on your body and breath and harmonising them, you can develop a great sense of presence and calmness, which, with practice you can summon up during the day when you most need it. Yoga can enable you to take control and to change your reaction to the things that are causing you stress.
Individually tailored Yoga programmes are available at the Centre and are suitable for beginners, advanced students and returners to Yoga. If you are already attending a regular Yoga class, why not come along for some additional coaching and individual attention to enhance your yoga practice and manage the stress in your life?
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