How Yoga Can Help De-stress Your Life

yoga

It is important we find ways to destress – the negative impacts of stress can be far greater than just feeling a little scattered or anxious. While there are numerous ways to manage stress, yoga may be one of the best ones. Yoga is a practice of the body or of the mind, or both. Here are some ways which yoga can help destress your life.

Practicing Stillness

In practicing yoga, we are doing a service to our minds and bodies by slowing them down. When we are stressed, we are likely to feel more pressed for time, overwhelmed with tasks on our to-do lists, and perhaps irritable or annoyed. By regulating our breathing and putting the focus back on the body (even if it is only for the time of your practice), that stillness can help to calm any tension, anxiety, or worry. Even a few moments break from stress can improve our mind and body state overall.

Reconnect with Your Body

With stress tends to come a focus on the external world. And if we feel too overwhelmed, potentially an over-focus on our thoughts and feelings. Our body may be neglected during high stress times. Yoga is a way to reconnect with our bodies when we are stressed or overworked. Being tuned back into our bodies can keep us on track with our physical needs. Whether that is food, water, sleep, or stillness. Yoga is a great tool to help us reconnect with our body that gets us through the day.

Improve Body Image

While not everyone may struggle with negative body image, when we are stressed, we may be slightly more overcritical of ourselves. If you are someone who does struggle with body image, or if you critique yourself extra hard when you’re stressed, yoga may be for you. As previously mentioned, yoga helps to reconnect with your body. When you’re doing yoga, you are more in tune with how your body is moving, how it is working. Turning the focus from what your body looks like to how it moves and what it is doing throughout the day can center your thoughts to reality instead of judgment. Because the last we need when we are stressed is to be extra critical of our bodies.

Increase Physical and Mental Flexibility

Yoga is a physical and a mental practice. You can tailor the practice to suit whatever you are needing! Despite what kind of yoga you practice you are increasing physical flexibility by moving through poses or moving in ways you may not normally move. Movement of our muscles helps improves circulation (which can help us be more alert), as well as general flexibility. One of the best parts of yoga is, depending upon where you may go to practice it, you are able to practice at your own pace. Moving our body in ways that feel good and positive to us can decrease stress in those moments, as well as outside of the practice.

Mental flexibility is the ability to recognize and hold multiple concepts at the same time. This can be much more difficult when we are stressed. This is helpful because it can give us a sense of organization as well as self-compassion. The meditative and physical aspect of yoga allows us to be more capable of tapping into our mental flexibility.

Alyssa Greene, LPCC has a Masters degree from University of Wisconsin in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is a licensed therapist  practicing in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Alyssa has experience in working with various populations, but most experience working with eating disorders and body image.