Sunday, October 23, 2011

Manage Stress With Yoga

Yoga At The Start... 

Learn to find your center, the place where stress is observed, not experienced.

And End Of Your Day

Throughout this series of stress management posts, I keep mentioning yoga and the benefits of a daily practice.  I'm partial to yoga because of the positive affects it has had on my personal well being.  Yoga helps to connect and balance the body, mind and spirit. Many people shy away from yoga because they immediately think of all the crazy poses they see yoga masters doing.  Doing yoga does not mean that you have to twist yourself like a pretzel or stand on your head.

The foundation of yoga is breath and movement. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Based on personal experience, yoga is one of the best ways to manage stress. Once you learn the postures, you can do yoga for free, anywhere you have the privacy and space. Doing yoga in the morning helps to slowly activate the mind and physically release kinks from sleep. You will go into your day physically balanced and mentally focused. Yoga is the perfect foundation for dealing with the inevitable stress that will be coming your way once you get to work.

Repetitive work stress such as sitting at a computer and answering the phone all day, or the rigors of a physical job, can lead to muscular tension. Even if your job doesn't require repetitive physical labor, it is natural to tense up in a stressful situation. The jaw clenches, shoulders draw up, and the pelvis tightens; all natural reactions to work place tensions. Yoga postures counteract the stress that has been building up in your muscles throughout the day. Stretching and moving the locked muscles helps to release tension. By forcing the body to move in the opposite direction it has been locked into from stress reactions, a balance is achieved once you are finished. Your body finds a middle ground of sorts, what is referred to as being centered.

Begin your yoga exploration by checking out DVDs at your local public library. It's free, and a great way to preview workouts if you are interested in purchasing them.  I have several suggestions up in the yoga section of Marla's Market (under Healing).  I have been partial to Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown lately, as this series is also a fantastic way to burn fat and connect with the Self for relaxation and stress management.  But if you are a beginner, I can't recommend Rodney Yee's A.M. Yoga enough, as a gentle and empowering introduction to the ancient practice of yoga.


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