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Relieving stress through Yoga

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/8/2006 | Health

Yoga is an ancient Indian science which is very useful for relieving stress. It uses asanas (postures), dhyana (concentration) and pranayama (breathing exercises) to help an individual to get rid of stress. All these methods aim at balancing the body and mind together.

The day to day stress results in a lot of physical as well as mental stress. These have a debilitating effect on out mental, physical and emotional well being. As the stress accumulates our bodys defense forces weaken. We become susceptible to more infections and ailments.

There is a shift in our behavior and attitude as well. We tend to become short tempered and frustrated. Our anxiety levels go up and we start dreading failure. We push ourselves beyond limits for material well being and comforts, and face a burnout. And over the years we become spiritually bankrupt.

Yoga heals our body and mind. It brings inner peace and calmness. It cleanses our system by removing negative energy and toxins. It rids us of negative feelings like hate, jealously, malcontent, misunderstandings and grudges. It improves our focusing and concentration ability. It enhances our self-esteem and fills us with positive energy. It also boosts our confidence levels to a great limit.

Our outlook is completely reshaped. We start seeing things from a broader perspective. We believe in having a quality lifestyle and become spiritually inclined. We are able to control our emotions better.

If we are a victim of traumatic stress caused due to abuse, broken relationships, accidents and financial distress we are able to deal with our problems better psychologically.

Yogic experts believe that a good breathing system can help us fight stress better. For this, Yoga has a series of exercises known as Pranayama. If you master the art of pranayama then ailments such as hypertension, sleep disorders, poor digestion and respiratory distress are cured.

It is important to breathe slowly and continuously. The exercises also lay stress on abdominal breathing and breathing through the nose. These exercises strengthen the abdominal muscles, lungs and diaphragm. On each inhalation fresh oxygen is taken in that helps in the regeneration of the cells and tissues.

As more oxygenated blood circulates in the brain your memory, focusing ability and concentration powers are greatly enhanced. The immunity levels are also boosted making you resistant to various microbial infections. On each exhalation the stale air and carbon dioxide are removed. This prevents the build up of toxins in the body that can cause health problems.

Meditation or dhyana is for spiritual and emotional healing. You need to completely block the outside energy and listen only to your self. This is a difficult stage to attain for many people. But its constant practice relaxes the mind and body.

Yogic postures or asanas stimulate the energy flow in our body and fill us with positive energy. A number of asanas have been developed by yogis for achieving sound physical and mental health. Each asana is specific and can help treat a particular disease. By continuously practicing Yoga we are able to rid ourselves of various physical ailments like osteoporosis, back and shoulder aches, indigestion and stiff or tight muscles.