So tell me, who taught you “how to relax”? Clock is ticking…. Ok time’s up. Yea, I know, no one did. For most of us, the first time we learn practical techniques on how to de-stress is in a yoga class. And just like anything else stress is a learned behavior. The great news is that we can unlearn negative habits—like stress—and replace them with healthy habits. Going to Yoga class gives us the opportunity and help we need to practice relieving tension to break the chronic stress cycle.
How Does Yoga Reduce Stress?
You’ll learn, practice, and memorize practical poses to release pent up tension and restore your body. Poses such as child’s pose, legs up the wall and savasana are all standard stress-relieving yoga postures.
You’ll learn breathing techniques to trigger the relaxation response, the antidote to the stress response. The two most common are three-part conscious breathing known as dirgha pranayama where you breath in through all 3 chambers of your lungs and mindful breathing, anapanasati. A simple breath exercise offered by Thich Nhat Hanh goes like this.
Say to yourself:
“Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.”
“Breathing in I know my in-breath has become deep. Breathing out, I know my out-breath has become slow.”
“Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out, I calm my mind.”
You’ll be guided by your teacher through visualizations and meditations to quiet your mind. With time these are easy to memorize and practice at home.
You’ll have time to notice how you’re truly feeling. We get great at masking or denying what’s really going on. Yoga tunes us back into our emotional landscape to release the issues held in our tissues.
5. Selective Forgetting
Most importantly, you’ll learn how to forget about stress. One of the shared characteristics of happiest people is recognizing emotion and then letting it go instead of carrying everything forward into the next moment.
Yoga helps us stop focusing on what we don’t want. It gives us the tools to relax so we can make the changes we need for healthier, happier lives. The average person has roughly 60,000 thoughts per day, when relaxed you realize your ability to harness the power of those thoughts to work for you.
Yoga simply provides the training and space you need for your personal alchemy to turn the old stressful physical and mental habits into a stronger and calmer You. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia