“Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”
 Mr. B. K. S. Iyengar, founder of Iyengar Yoga,(1)

At this time of year, many of us are coming back to our “normal lives”; re-establishing our social school and working lives. With all that competes for our time and attention, it is easy to miss or minimize our need to take of ourselves.
Without healthful and helpful habits built into our lives, it can be hard to stay on top of everything without getting back on the stress cycle that can rob us of energy and joy.

Yoga for PostureIt is of no surprise to anyone that stress is linked to a host of diseases and disorders that we encounter in our lives. Many psychologists have stated that the dysfunctional attempts to handle stress and avoid anxiety are at the root of much physical disease, mental confusion, and emotional disturbance.

In an article from the Yoga Basics  website entitled “How Yoga Heals”, the negative aspects of the stress response is powerfully detailed as follows:

       “Chronic stress can lead to continuously high levels of the {adrenal gland hormone], cortisol. This hormone at normal levels helps to maintain an active, healthy body (including regulation of metabolism and blood pressure). But excessive amounts of cortisol can suppress the immune system and cause sleep disturbances, loss of sex drive and loss of appetite. High levels of cortisol can also increase your heart rate, blood pressure and your cholesterol and triglyceride levels (risk factors for both heart attacks and strokes).  The byproducts of cortisol act as sedatives, which can lead to changes in mood, especially to feelings of depression.”(2)

It is no wonder that we have developed a number of approaches, creative and otherwise, to eliminate or reduce stress and anxiety in our lives.

In that search for effective tools for our health and wellbeing Yoga and meditation has become a more and more accepted and valued choice to address the needs of body and mind. It is unique in its ability to help to create, rebuild and enhance the core experience of bodily ease and mental equilibrium that can be the foundation of a happier life.

The Harvard Health Publishing website states;

      Indeed, the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent. The evidence is growing that yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.(3)

And This From the Mayo Clinic website:

The potential benefits of Yoga include:

  • Stress reduction. A number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.
  • Improved fitness. Practicing yoga may lead to improved balance, flexibility, improved range of motion and strength.
  • Management of chronic conditions. Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.(4)

These are bold statements of the possibilities of Yoga for sure. Yet with the governing sensibility that Balance and Ease are our natural state, Yoga practice is designed to address and resolve the blocks to experiencing these states of being more and more often. With that a growing sense of wholeness(healing) can happen.  When we practice Yoga, posture(asana), breathwork(pranayama) and meditation(dhyana) as happens in most Yoga classes, we take a clear step toward handling the deleterious effects of stress. The combination of these aspects powerfully operates directly on our physiology to return us to health and balance in body and mind.  Many have reported that even a very basic habit of Yoga and self-care practices has helped them approach the stressful situation differently. and changed their lives immensly.

No previous experience is necessary to enjoy the full power of Yoga. From the first beginners class one can often feel benefits in the soothed and relaxed muscles, eased nerves, normalized breath, and a calmed mind.

(1)Elephant Journal, 33  Short Sweet yoga Quotes from the Masters   https://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/33-short-sweet-yoga-quotes-from-the-masters/

(2)Yoga Basics, www.Yoga basics.com

(3)Harvard Health Publishing Mayo, Yoga for Anxiety and Depression, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression

(4)Mayo Clinic, Yoga, Fight stress and find serenity, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/yoga/art-20044733/