There are many times in life where you experience loss, grief, strife and even periods of depression. Hardship arrives in many forms; no one is immune from it. During those times, the body holds your emotional distress in different ways: gastrointestinal pain, headaches, rashes, muscles aches and pain and loss of appetite and sleep. The body may have a feeling of heaviness to it. And there can be a lack of desire to exercise due to being overwhelmed. Often, your physical health takes a back seat during these times.
Yoga is very beneficial in times of stress as yoga is the union of mind and body. It doesn’t remove the stresses in your life but changes how you respond to it. It changes your outlook on the environment around you. How? Simply by paying attention and becoming aware of your body and your breath; and being mindful of moments and how you are in those moments.
First, pausing and noticing your breath gives you the opportunity to slow down and notice what is happening within you and around you. Secondly, the yoga poses gently bring awareness to where your body is holding tension. Opening the body’s restrictions improves tissue healing, posture, alignment, flexibility and strength. If you have less aches and pains, you have a better opportunity to face daily concerns with more patience and understanding. You will be less reactive. Thirdly, continued yoga practice unites the mind, the body and the breath so when problems arise (as they will), your mind will be open. You will be able to make decisions with more clarity. Your perspective on the situation will be calmer.
Many feel as if they don’t have time for a 60 or 90 minute class daily. That’s OK. You can practice breathing awareness anywhere and even 10 minutes of yoga a day is beneficial. Or try to intersperse various yoga poses throughout your day. Part of the practice is to take moments to pause and notice during the day. It’s transforming.