Are you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted or stressed out? Looking for a way to reduce your stress levels without risky medications or expensive therapy sessions?
Yoga and meditation provide powerful tools that can improve mental health in multiple ways. Both practices are scientifically proven to reduce one's cortisol (the primary hormone responsible for our 'flight or fight' response) production, enabling practitioners to better manage their stress levels both physically and mentally.
Harmful effects of stress on the body
The physical effects of stress are well documented and can be severe. An increase in the hormones adrenalin and cortisol can lead to a wide range of bodily symptoms, including headaches, high blood pressure, nausea, chest pain, insomnia, poor digestion and increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Stress cases have also been linked to exacerbating current medical conditions such as asthma, eczema and ulcers. Furthermore, unchecked and sustained stress can gradually impact our immune system overtime, leaving us more vulnerable to illnesses such as flu or colds.
Generally speaking, recognising the warning signs of stress is an important part of taking care of our bodies – not only in order to alleviate any negative physical effects but also be ensure we look after ourselves holistically.
Yoga promotes healthy sleeping patterns
Yoga and meditation are simple but effective tools to help combat stress. These activities can help improve mental well-being by teaching individuals to practice mindfulness, which helps break the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
Regular meditation encourages focused thinking skills, allowing people a greater capacity to partake in activities with clarity and focus. When combined with deep stretches and breathing exercises that come with yoga, it is possible to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone associated with the body’s response to stress, significantly.
Additionally, yoga promotes healthy sleeping patterns, relieving long-term muscle tension and leading to an overall improved mood. Through these methods, yogis can expect increased mental clarity as well as physical stress relief for lasting resilience against future anxieties and worries.
Focusing on yourself is essential
Reducing stress levels has a positive impact on both your physical and mental health. Studies have demonstrated that reducing feelings of stress can help to improve overall well-being and boost the immune system. It can also help improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety associated with everyday tasks, and minimize risk factors for chronic health problems such as depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Most importantly, reducing stress ensures that you live a more relaxed and happy life. Making small changes, such as taking regular breaks throughout the day, developing healthier eating habits, and dedicating time to unplug and focus on yourself is essential to nurture there essential benefits of reducing stress levels in your daily routine.
Learn how to practice postures and breathing techniques
Yoga classes offer both physical and mental health benefits. Expect to learn how to practice postures and breathing techniques that will improve posture, strength and flexibility, as well as calming relaxation skills to increase mindfulness and reduce stress.
The class may focus on one particular type of yoga or require a combination of activities such as gentle stretches, dynamic movement, relaxation methods, visualisations or guided meditations. These practices can help bring about a greater awareness and understanding of self by reconnecting the mind and body.
Each class is designed to suit individual requirements but ultimately the ultimate aim is the same, to build upon overall wellbeing.
Best time of day to practice yoga or meditation
The best time of day to practice yoga or meditation is a subjective choice, depending on what works best for your individual lifestyle, body clock, and preferences.
Generally speaking, the mornings are widely regarded as the most effective time of day to meditate or take part in a yoga session. This is because the morning is typically a peaceful and serene time that allows you to focus fully on your meditation practice and be present in the space with few external distractions.
Additionally, the combination of morning energy and mindfulness can set you up for success and optimal productivity throughout the rest of your day's activities. However, if mornings don't work for you due to work or family obligations or generally dysfunctional sleeping patterns, evenings are also appropriate times for yoga and meditation as long as your routine does not become disruptive through excessive late night activity.
With some experimentation to determine which exact time works best for you, as well as an understanding that body clocks do differ from one person to another, you can get into a flow state with any hour of the day.
Keeping up with a regular practice of yoga and meditation can be challenging, especially in the face of life's busy schedule. That's why it's important to stay motivated and committed to incorporating these practices into your routine.
A great way to stay inspired is to remind yourself of why you began this journey in the first place. Visualize how your practice has impacted your life, and evoke gratitude for the positive benefits it has brought you. Regular exercise can also provide a boost in physical and mental enthusiasm for continuing your practice, so if feasible, make an effort to squeeze some form of physical activity into your day-to-day.
Surrounding yourself with community is another integral part of staying motivated, enlist a friend or family member who can join you during your yoga and meditation sessions, or find supportive networks online that share tips as well as inspiring stories.
Reminding yourself why your practice is invaluable will help maintain motivation even on those days when beginning a new session sounds daunting.