Yoga for Stress and Anxiety: What You Need to Know

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Yoga for Stress and Anxiety: What You Need to Know

April is Stress Awareness Month. Therefore we wanted to share articles that provide useful information about treating stress as well as bring awarene

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April is Stress Awareness Month. Therefore we wanted to share articles that provide useful information about treating stress as well as bring awareness to how stress can affect people. This blog is written by Cherise Smith, a yoga instructor. In this blog post, you’ll learn about the symptoms of stress, Cherise’s personal struggle with the condition, and coping mechanisms. Since Cherise is a yoga teacher, she believes in yoga for stress and anxiety. Here’s what she had to say. 

Are You Stressed and Anxious?

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you’re not alone. 

According to the American Institute of Stress, Americans are among the most stressed in the world. 57% of Americans report feeling paralyzed by stress.

In addition to that, 94% of workers report feeling chronic stress at work. The American Institute of Stress says that chronic stress if left uncontrolled can affect your body and mind. Chronic stress tends to be related to the cost of daily living and is often ignored. 

Besides work, there are many causes of stress according to The Recovery Village including:

  • Money
  • The economy
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Health issues

Stress is also not equal across the board. The Recovery Village says that groups with a higher rate of stress include ethnic minorities and women. 

Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety

There are many symptoms of stress and anxiety. As a matter of fact, many of the symptoms overlap. Healthline says, the symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

This was echoed by the American Institute of Stress. According to their research, participants reported feeling:

  • increased tension in their bodies 
  • “snapping” or getting angry very quickly
  •  unexpected mood swings
  • screaming or yelling at a loved one 

In addition to that, stress can cause:

  • Heartburn
  • Increase in blood sugar
  • Low sex drive
  • Fertility problems
  • Increase risk of heart attack
  • Missed periods

How I Found Out I Was Stressed

Stress may present itself in unexpected ways.  I remember, some years ago, I began to have chest pains, for no apparent reason. Naturally, I decided to follow up with my physician. I had the whole cardiac work up- EKG and Echocardiogram. After all those tests, the diagnosis ended up being stress. 

At that very moment, I decided to let go of the stress and the things that I could not change. I was not going to allow stress to control my life and well-being. For me, it was a switch that I literally turned off, however; for many, it just isn’t that easy. Now, let me add that yes, I still deal with issues, and I still have moments where I can feel the stress increasing. Thankfully, I am able to manage it a lot better.

How Yoga Became My Solution to Stress and Anxiety

At this time in my life, I was participating in yoga classes off and on, but I had no idea that yoga could be such an important part of managing my stress. When I started my yoga teacher training, I was introduced to a lot of different styles of yoga, that I didn’t even know existed. 

One is a style where you don’t even hardly move. Since completing my teacher training, I have been managing my stress using the various styles that I have learned and that I teach.

Why I Started My Business

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I enrolled in yoga teacher training.  I learned many different ways to manage my stress to be able to show up for myself and for others.

Being able to find balance and get so many benefits from my own personal practice, I decided to start my business, so that I could help others learn to manage these issues as well. 

My business will inspire women to take time out for much-needed self-care that will help them be able to be present for themself and for others around them. I will encourage women to reach for their dreams. When I started my yoga training, a business was not my intention, but I know that I cannot keep all the many benefits of yoga just to myself.

Yoga has allowed me to have a true awakening, and self-realization of my innermost desires. It has given me the courage to follow a dream that I didn’t even know that I had. I want to be able to inspire other women the same way that I have been inspired.

How to Use Yoga for Stress and Anxiety

Yoga can be an effective way to manage stress. Here are some poses and other ideas to help you relax.

Vinyasa

First, we’ll be looking at Vinyasa. Vinyasa is a physical practice that combines yoga postures with the breath. The physical practice of yoga is a great way to let go of some of the energy and tension that you may be holding in your body. This style of yoga is often, what most people will think of when you mention yoga.

Restorative 

Restorative is a style of yoga that allows you to relax, rest, and restore. This style of

yoga allows you to simply find your way into a comfortable position, usually supported

with props. In addition to that, this style allows you to find deep relaxation and gentle passive stretch of the body. People of all ages and conditions typically tolerate restorative yoga.

Pranayama 

Pranayama refers to breathing exercises done in ratios. Ratios refer to a specific number of breaths per exercise. These breathing exercises assist with calming the nervous system which helps you calm down. There are many different styles of breathing

exercises that all have different benefits. However, most of them will result in decreasing

stress and anxiety.

Meditation

Meditation is a practice that helps you concentrate and focus on either:

  • Sound
  • Object
  • Visualization
  • The breath
  • Movement
  • Attention

You focus on one of the things stated above in order to increase awareness of the present moment. Doing so helps to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance

personal and spiritual growth.

Meditation can be done alone or guided by someone else. Guided meditation can be themed around relaxation, love, kindness, and others. 

Black woman meditating

Yoga Nidra

Finally, we have yoga nidra. This is a form of guided meditation, which is known as “yogic sleep”, It is a state between awake and asleep. 45 minutes of a yoga nidra session is considered equivalent to a 3-hour nap.

Conclusion

Yoga is the union of the mind, body, and spirit. Therefore, yoga for stress and anxiety is a good option to help you bring yourself into a state of balance. In addition to that, yoga has been proven to be an important practice to help with managing stress and anxiety.

If you are dealing with stress and anxiety, why not give yoga a try?

Contact me today to schedule your free session, and see if yoga for stress and anxiety can help you with your stress management

About the Author 

Cherise is a certified yoga teacher and specializes in pain management. In addition to that, she is experienced in stress and anxiety management. Cherise is also a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and worked in healthcare during the entire pandemic. She began practicing yoga many years ago, due to chronic back pain, and through her practice, she wakes up daily without the pain.  

Cherise Smith

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