Yoga for Stress Management

August 26, 2018
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What is Yoga?

Yoga — a mind-body practice — is considered one of many types of complementary and integrative health approaches. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. This can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.

How Can Yoga Help to Overcome Stress?
By practising yoga every day, you can start to feel relaxed, at ease and relieved from all that has been running in your mind. Although, you do need to be patient with the process, and with yourself, as the journey to calming the mind may take some time. Yoga can help you ease away from the stressors in your life.
Yoga helps to connect the breath to your body movements. The breath is always with you, to help you in times of stressful situations. As we practise yoga, we become more aware of our breath and how the body is feeling. This means we can become more aware of signals that our body is sending us when we are beginning to get stressed so that we can then respond to these signals in a more mindful way, rather then habitually reacting to them.
Yoga helps us to ignite our parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system that relaxes and calms the body and mind. A lot of the time, these days, people are living in automatic pilot, which means that they are unaware of what they are doing, how they are feeling or how they may be being consumed by their own thoughts. By being more aware, we can feel when the body is getting stressed. We may then realise that it was from a thought we were having or a situation we were imagining, so not our actual reality. Therefore, your sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight, freeze) may have been sending unnecessary signals, which would cause stress in the body and the mind.

Benefits of Yoga for Stress Management:
1. Union of mind, body, and soul:
A combination of breathing exercises and asana unites the mind, body, and soul. Imbalance of these three gives birth to health issues and unwanted mental stress. Health experts and yogis have confirmed that yoga has relieved people from stress to a great extent.
1. Improved sleep:
Some forms of exercises in yoga help you sleep peacefully. Most people complain of the inability to sleep properly due to various issues troubling them in and out in their life. People bring more focus in life with regular yoga practice.
2. Increased energy:
Breathing exercises are extremely important in yoga for stress management. The slow breath patterns along with inhaling and exhaling techniques bring more positive energy to your body. Scientifically, it helps the oxygen to pass through your organs by making you feel relaxed.
3. Increased concentration:
Yoga asanas relax your body by overcoming stress. We all must have noticed forgetfulness when we are worried about something that’s disturbing us. It leads to a confused state of mind. Yoga brings an improved concentration to deal with situations with a calm mind.
4. Experience deep Relaxation:
Meditation is an important factor in yoga for stress management. One of the essential things expected during stress management is the ease of mind. Yoga with meditation balances those alpha waves that are needed to relax your mind. While you do the breathing exercises, your heart rate tends to become normal and blood pressure normalizes.
5. Boost in Confidence:
Stress often breaks us and tears us apart from taking decisions in life with confidence. We start feeling confused and indecisive in everything and seek others’ support. Yoga for stress management is the best alternative for bringing back inner confidence.

Lesson Plan – Stress Release Hatha/Yin

Opening Prayer
Aum x3
Chanti x3

Posture
– Grounding, spine lifting up, neck, shoulders away from ears, eyes

Meditation
– Awareness of breath – where do you feel the breath? Nostrils, chest, abdomen? Not controlling it, simply just becoming aware of the breath.

Pranayama
– Yogic Breathing
o Sitting – inhale slowly and deeply allowing the abdomen to expand fully.
o Try to breathe so slowly that there’s little to no sound of the breath.
o Feeling the air reaching into the bottom of the lungs.
o Start to expand the chest outward and upward.
o When the ribs are fully expanded, inhale a little more until expansion is felt in the upper portion of the lungs, around the neck
o Breathing gently, with continuous movement. There should be no jerks or unnecessary strain.
o Now begin to exhale – relax lower neck and upper chest.
o Without straining, try to empty the lungs as much as possible by drawing or pulling the abdominal wall as near as possible to your spine.
o Hole the breath for 5 seconds at the end of exhalation.
o Continue for 5 -10 rounds.
o Gently open up the eyes.

Subtle exercises
– Eyes – thumbs to each side and then circular motions
– Neck Left to right circular motions and then reverse
– Shoulders – touch thumb and fingers together – circular motions
– Ankles and wrists – up/down and circular motions
– Knees – bend and move in circular motions and move up/down
– Butterfly

Warm up
– Cat/Cow – moving the hips around in circles
– Puppy dog pose
– Downward dog – pedal out the feet for 5 breaths and tip toe the feet up to the top of the mat to stand in tadasana

Sun Sals – Surya Namaskara
– 2 normal
– 2 Advanced (holding for 5 breaths)
o Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
o Hasta Utthanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
o Padahhastasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
o Aswha Sanchalanasana (The Equestrian Pose)
o Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
o Ashtanga Namaskara
o Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
o Parsvatasana (Mountain Pose)
o Aswha Sanchalasana (The Equestrian Pose)

Asana

Standing

Warrior II – hold in this position and flow the arms as if on a surfboard
– Side Angle Pose – Reverse Warrior (elongating the side body, not crunching the other side)

– centre –

Repeat on other side then Warrior I and forward fold

– centre –

Warrior I front side – forward fold (5 breaths).

Tadasana – Malasana – gently sitting down.

Sitting

Toe Squat – Sitting with toes tucked under – heels together – if you need a cushion under your knees that’s ok

Ankle pose – top of the feet on the mat – knees together – leaning backwards

Lion Pose

Downward dog

Pigeon – right leg front (with bolsters, cushions, blankets)

Downward dog

Pigeon – left leg front

Advasana – reverse corpse pose – lying on belly – forehead on mat –arms stretched out in front

Easy Quad Stretch – bend right leg and reach back with right arm hold onto foot – repeat on the left side

Lying Down

Bridge with block underneath

Shoulder stand

Knees to chest

Cross-legged twist – right leg on top

Cross-legged twist – left leg on top

Butterfly lying down

Savasana – Body scan

Closing Prayer
Aum x3
Chanti x3

If you are curious to learn all about asanana, meditation and pranayama in detail and gain a comprehensive understanding, you should join a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in India. 

At Yoga India Foundation, you can study all about yoga in a friendly and peaceful environment.

A Yoga Teacher Training is a great way to evolve and grow personally and live happier and joyful life.