Regardless of who we are, we have it. We have it when we are running late for work, we’ve got it when we fight with our partner, we’ve got it when we smell the turkey dinner we have mended for our new in-laws burning in the oven. Even those people who seem perpetually happy have it. Nobody is immune to it, nobody is safe from it, and nobody knows fully how to conquer it.
It’s a world-wide epidemic. Though no Jonas Salk-like personality has come in with a magical cure or vaccine, anxiety remains a manageable condition; it’s to be, or the human race would be extinct. From eating directly to cutting back on caffeine, from quitting smoking to exercising, there are ways to decrease stress behind each corner. And, occasionally, there are far more unique ways to decrease stress simply up and round the bend. In today’s day and age it appears as if everyone has an understanding of what Yoga is and what Yoga does.
However, this isn’t always the case and some people are left not knowing, knowing only half the story, or entirely under the belief that Yoga is the name of the bear who teases the forest ranger from the Hanna Barbara cartoon. Yoga, in the literal sense, means “unite,” a unification of mind, body, and soul which ends in a feeling of wholeness. A broad term used to describe a collection of exercises, Yoga involves concentration methods, breathing measures, and a collection of moving or stationary poses.
There are lots of ways that Yoga relieves anxiety. First off, because Yoga can help to balance physical aspects of health – such as raising the immune system, improving digestion, and decreasing cholesterol – and because physical facets of health and psychological aspects of health form a merger with the arrival of each new body, physical aspects and psychological aspects are in direct correlation. Feeling well constantly counteracts the effects of feeling emotionally stressed.
Yoga also directly attacks stress, beating it on the battlegrounds before posing for a victory photo. Because Yoga balances the various systems of the body, the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and the digestive system, it balances mental activity, slowing it down in the procedure. Yoga also stretches the entire body, offering a masseuse for inner organs, and producing a sense of peace from the inside out.
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Additionally, Yoga can sharpen concentration, improve body awareness, and relieve muscle strain, all which can be variables of stress. It teaches people how to concentrate on relaxing, rather than focusing on the strain and worry usually at the middle of the human attention span. All these factors work together to temporarily eliminate people from obsessing about the “to-do” list of life; yoga training gives individuals a reprieve and a feeling of control. Through breathing methods, people learn how to keep calm, building a stronger, natural reaction to anxiety and a more relaxed feeling of being.
Another way Yoga fights stress is through the practice of Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice where someone focuses on their thoughts at the present moment, objectively focusing on each motion of the body and each idea and idea of the mind. In sum, Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention, teaching individuals to peer deeply within themselves to attain self-understanding and self-healing. Though it has Buddhist roots, Mindfulness isn’t dependent on a single belief system and is therefore accessible to people in all walks of life.
Through regular practice of Yoga, individuals learn how to minimize stress by focusing on their body’s natural harmonious rhythm as opposed to the external world’s chaotic beat. This then allows the body to return to its normal condition of well-being, unharmed from external things. While it does not make stress disappear, it reduces the effect it has on the body, causing anxiety to decompress. TWISTED is a medical yoga studio in the Center for Osteopathic Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. Twisted integrates osteopathic medicine, hatha yoga and mindfulness practices to educate optimum balance between physical, mental, and psychological wellness. It aims to educate and assist people to live a healthy life – from the inside out. Rehabilitation programs offer an extensive treatment regime for the entire being. Empowering each individual, one breath at a time, to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential.