Pennington Institute

Yoga as a way to relief stress.

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline which originated in ancient India. It is the oldest defined practice of self development and has the history of 5000 years. The classical methods of yoga which are practiced worldwide include ethical disciplines, physical postures, breathing control and meditation. Practice of all these four methods improve respiration, enhance circulation, increase flexibility and gives feeling of physical well being. For stress management some relaxing techniques are derived from yoga such as controlled breathing, meditation, physical movement, mental imagery and stretching. The relaxing techniques activate the body's natural relaxation response and combat the stress.

Stress is necessary in life for creativity, learning and very survival. When stress becomes overwhelming it will be harmful. It interrupts the healthy state of equilibrium of nervous system. Stress throws nervous system out of balance and relaxing techniques can bring it back into its balanced state by producing the relaxation response, a state of deep calmness. When stress is overwhelming the nervous system is flooded with chemicals which prepare the body for "fight or flight". This reaction should take place only in life saving emergency situations but overwhelming stress in everyday life activates this reaction almost everyday which wears the body down. The relaxation response developed by practice of yoga brings the body and mind back into a state of equilibrium.

Yoga- Yoga is stretching the body and forming different poses with slow and controlled breathing which relaxes and energizes the body. Virtually everybody can see physical benefits from yoga but its practice for longer period will also give psychological benefits like stress reduction.

Imagery Meditation - Imagery meditation helps to reach a meditative state quicker than other forms of meditation, in which the person needs to focus on the imagery i.e tranquil scenes. Focusing on tranquil scenes helps to reach a distinct level of peace and tranquility and also helps to evaluate the safety versus danger. This technique opens a clear mental path to think your way through life's events.

Breathing Exercise- It is one of the most effective techniques for relieving stress and believed that breathing is the link between body and mind. The soothing effect of breathing exercise on nervous system helps to manage the stress. The deep and controlled breathing in this exercise oxygenates whole body, reduces muscle tension, influences thoughts and feelings eventually reduces the stress.

Meditation- Meditation shields the person from chronic stress. While practicing meditation, it reduces heart rate, slows down the breathing, normalizes the blood pressure and increases oxygen efficiency in the body. The cortisol secretion from the adrenal gland decreases and mind ages at slower rate. The functions of body immune system improve. Mind becomes clear and creativity increases. To practice meditation silence and privacy is required, but experienced meditators can practice anywhere. It does take some practice; some people may find it difficult in the beginning. Meditation involves sitting in a relaxed position with closed eyes, concentrating on a sound or an idol or own breathing. It is necessary to spend at least 5 to 20 minutes in the concentrated state without any distractions.