In today’s life, one out of the four people is going through stress. Not only considering this pandemic situation, but stress is also very common at a young age, especially in young adults, who have just started up with new jobs or looking for jobs. But a natural way one can do is practice yoga for stress management.
What Is Stress?
Stress is defined as a non-specific, conventional, and phylogenetic basic response pattern, the primary function of which is to prepare the body for physical activities such as resistance or flight.
Different Types Of Stress
There are two types of stress. Eustress is a healthy stress. Sometimes, we have a positive impulse of joy and happiness. Distress is a stress that has to be controlled, like continuous mental or physical strain of any kind, anger, frustration, a state of tension seemingly without any hope. That doesn’t mean Eustress is not harmful; high or prolonged Eustress can turn dangerous due to excessive excitement.
Consequences Of Stress
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Breath rate shoots up
- Bowel and bladder muscle loosens
- Cortisone pours into the system along with epinephrine and norepinephrine, known as stress hormones.
Importance Of Yoga
Yoga can take care of this stress very quickly. Yoga is not only physical but works at the mental level, too, and most importantly, at the muscular level, which we talked about here.
Yoga helps in stretching of the muscles, which at some level, helps to reduce stress in the muscles caused due to destress. Hormonal imbalance is also taken care of by yoga. Yoga talks about a few balancing asanas, which improve concentration. Once a person concentrates on these asanas, he/she tends to forget stress at least for some time. Then relaxation of the body is done in Shavasana, part by part. When a person pays attention to every part of the body for relaxation, again forgetting stress for some time.
Concepts and techniques of Stress management in Ashtanga yoga of Patanjali Yoga sutra and the Bhagavad Gita.
Role Of Yoga In Stress Management
It is quite clear that klishta vrittis are responsible for creating stress. The three virtues which constitute Kriya Yoga are capable of reducing the kleshas. These three virtues are तपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि क्रियायोगः ॥१॥ All these help to correct wrong tendencies and give rise to right ones.
An individual has to undergo some kind of hardship if one wants to develop. To get out of one’s old habits, one has to undergo some pain. We must get rid of old thoughts, feelings, and external things that hold us back from progressing spirituality.
It is the study of self. It can be achieved by listening to the discourse, reflection, scriptural study, and reading philosophy.
It is total surrender to a higher reality of God. The objective is to purify our physical actions, thoughts, and feelings by surrendering to God.
These three virtues are thought to be the best by yoga exponents as they are very powerful and also able to bring about quick results.
When a person acts by placing his mind in the tranquil mind of God, then this experience of action turns into Karma Yoga. By thinking that he is making all efforts enables one to give up all desires for fruits of action and achieve a perfect peace. In this way, one can continue the physical existence in a detached manner until all senses stop their functions, and total surrender takes place, and one gets established in God. Qualities like acceptance, faith, duty, and self-awareness are prerequisites to experience yoga through karma.
Specific Practices Of Yoga For stress management
It includes Yogasana, Breath Awareness, Shavasana, Pranayama, and Meditation.
All the movements in asanas should be comfortably slow and well-controlled at every stage. You should avoid sudden, jerky, and hasty movements. The final position in any asana should be such that it could be maintained for some time without any feeling of discomfort. Your motto should ‘maximum to your capacity but within your limits.’ Day by day, your capacity would increase, but let it happen naturally and never force yourself to go beyond your present limits.
While moving or during maintenance of the final position, learn to use body parts selectively. Allow only those muscles to work, which are required in a particular movement or for the maintenance of a specific pose, but keep the rest of the body completely relaxed.
Breath normally all through the practice of each asana. Avoid holding the breath at any stage of the practice as it may increase the tension in the body. While maintaining the final position, it is better to breathe 5-10 times profoundly and slowly. When any particular movement is to be done along with the process of inhalation or exhalation, you would be specifically told so.
During the practice of asana, keep eyes closed; it would help keep attention focused on the correctness of the technique, on the free flow of the breathing, on proper relaxation of the non-required parts of the muscle groups on the overall feeling of pleasure generated by being with activities going on in the inner body-space.
Conscious relaxation of each part of the body is done by giving instructions in a slow and soft voice, which is audible but not disturbing the process of relaxation. Firstly, we try to relax each part of the body slowly starting from the top of the head to the tip of the toe or vice-versa. Slowly the mind is automatically relaxed, and the thought process is stopped. Paying attention that the person taking savasana is not supposed to fall asleep.
While practicing pranayama, remember that it concerns not only with the breath alone but also with the mind. Awareness of spontaneous breathing, regulating the breathing pattern to deep and slow abdominal breathing, and using it from time to time for healing, like cleansing the body parts of all the unwanted, unpleasant, and hurtful sensations during exhalation and filling it with relaxing, healing, life-giving energy during inhalation and the techniques or Anulom-Vilom and Ujjayi pranayama, all require full mental participation.
In meditational practices, whatever techniques are used, the effect which is expected is the same. It is home-coming. The wandering mind becomes quiet and silent. It releases the energy which otherwise was getting used for this wandering and for emotional upsets arising out of it. This gives rise to the feeling of a tremendous boost to the creative energy of the mind. But do expect the results to vary from day to day and never get easily disheartened when the results are not according to your expectations.
Never lose patience and keep on trying. Under the spell of old habits, your mind would wander again and again, but your job would be to come back to the center of home again without losing heart till the old habit gets weakened and fades away.
Practice yoga for preventive and management of lifestyle disorders.