There are obvious benefits of yoga, like improving flexibility and increasing strength. But yoga is so more than just conventional “fitness.” Yoga is a lifestyle dedicated to self-care. And a big part of self-care is stress relief. If we don’t manage stress, the long-term consequences can be very serious.
How does yoga help with stress and anxiety? Through the potent practice of aligning breath with movement. Indeed, aligned breathing is just as important and valuable as the yoga poses and movement.
Yoga Is Growing in Popularity
The practice of yoga in the west has grown dramatically in recent years. More than 36 million people in the United States practice yoga regularly (generally by taking classes). This is up from 20 million in 2013, which means yoga has nearly doubled in just a few years. Whether it is Hatha yoga, Vinyasa flow, restorative yoga, or one of the other major styles, yoga is now the most popular group activity for health and fitness in the U.S.
Participants in yoga find it is a unique and powerful combination of stretching, strengthening, and calming. They enjoy the camaraderie of being in a class with other practitioners who share the same healthy lifestyle goals. Yoga classes help you develop a wellness toolkit that can be used in other areas of your life — “off the mat,” as many yogis like to say.
Breathing is a natural reflex. It happens automatically. Being conscious of your breathing in your yoga practice delivers several different benefits including:
- Being present in the moment
- Increasing blood supply to the brain, lungs, and limbs
- Helping to improve focus, decrease stress, and build endurance
Conscious breathing is an integral part of yoga. Training in conscious breathing can help practitioners stay focused and present. It can also help to improve oxygen intake into your organs. And, importantly, focused breathing can be used to help control stress and anxiety.
Whole-Person Health: Mind, Body, and Spirit
There are different types of yoga and all of them focus on elevating three things: the mind, the body, and the spirit. At SyteraYoga, a premier yoga studio in Vienna, practitioners report after class that they enjoy a tangible feeling of wellness. Their bodies feel energized, their minds feel calm, and their spirits feel rejuvenated. Yogic breathing can be attributed to helping them experience this much-needed sense of whole-person well-being.
Breath control is well known for reducing stress and helping to release feel-good endorphins. Conscious breathing combined with yoga poses, and the meditative aspect of the practice, increase the feelings of well-being. These techniques can be applied outside the studio to quickly control feelings of anxiety and stress. And this is something that everyone can benefit from — less stress!
If you are struggling with stress and anxiety, try a yoga class today. It can be the perfect way to feel energized and engaged by life instead of depleted by it.