Stress the one word that plagues the existence of almost everyone. We have allowed it take over mind and body leading to damaging effects. It’s time we look for some remedies to undo the wrong the stress has created in our lives.
Meditation, yoga, jogging, swimming and dancing are not only hobbies and activities that can be performed at leisure but also the most effective stress-busting exercises. They are good for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Despite the benefits of these exercises people struggle to take time out to take care of themselves. Self-care is the most important ingredient in life. We have to take time out from all the other responsibilities for our self.
From all the effective strategies mentioned above, there is one I am particularly fond of. It is the most power-packed and relaxing form of wellbeing – it’s YOGA.
Yoga, an ancient practice, means ‘union’, it is more than just stretching your limbs or sprawling on a mat, it is an intricate form of exercise that combines our mind, body, and soul. Regularly practising yoga creates calmness, clarity, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension and inflammation, and improves our mental wellbeing. A session of yoga can make you feel rejuvenated, empowered, grounded, calmer, healthier, active, and on a ‘yoga high’.
Since 2015, June 21 is observed as the “International Day of Yoga”. This day is celebrated annually with activities that help spread awareness on the benefits of yoga. The Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, proposed the idea of yoga day during his speech at the UN General Assembly in September 2014.
Apart from the physical benefits, Yoga helps us with various mental health benefits –
Being Mindful –Being in the here and now has a positive effect on you – it helps you gain courage, have healthy ego functioning, balances your emotions, encourages self-care and self-love, and motivates you to become fearless. It helps you become more aware of what you are feeling and how your thoughts are connecting to your emotions. With every focused deep breath you take, you become more self-aware as you build self-trust, self-capability, and engage in a non-judgmental relationship with yourself.
Betters Your Mood – It helps release the feel-good chemicals – endorphins in our brains. These chemicals are released when an individual feels happy, calm, and positive. With regular yoga practice, one can have reduced levels of stress and naturally improve mood swings.
Improves Memory and Concentration– You equip yourself to focus better while practising yoga in a calm natural environment and simply focus on your breathing sounds and movements. It helps calm your nerves and clear your mind of all the unwanted and negative thoughts in your life. You are able to remember things, which are important and necessary to you in a better way, and thereby making you feel positive about your thoughts and self which definitely leads you to perform better in all your life circumstances.
Helps reduce the symptoms of Depression & Anxiety: It helps decrease inflammation and increase the production of a neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, which eases the symptoms of depression. Yoga also helps decrease the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone, and in order to reduce anxiety, one must find a way to combat stress. It helps you slow down your rapid breathing and heart rate, which helps decrease the stress levels.
Helps with Sleep Difficulties: Relaxation and breathing techniques help you to calm all your senses and you feel refreshed. Yoga helps you better the blood flow that aids in soothing all your senses and makes you feel peaceful, de-stressed, and calm. This helps you have a better sleep and reduces symptoms of insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep difficulties when practised regularly.
Keeping in mind that every individual is unique, yoga is customizable to suit your needs. As a beginner, it’s about being comfortable and at ease with yourself involving different techniques of breathing, warm-ups, aasanas, meditation, slow dance moves, etc. For beginners, it is better to join a Yoga class, rather than watching it off YouTube. The guided and personal monitoring you receive during class will allow you to focus on your technique, maximize the benefits of the exercises, and most importantly prevent your body from getting injured. In case if you have any other health-related problems, informing the trainer prior to admission is important.
It takes time and effort to adapt to yoga. Start slow and gradually progress. Give it a shot, continue it for some time, gain results and you will always experience the benefits of yoga.
The quote by Guillemets T. “A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves.” simply sums it all!