One of the best ways to destress that requires minimal equipment and space is practicing yoga. Whether you are at your workplace or at home, yoga is a great way to destress and promote wellness. It is not just the physical postures (asanas), it also includes breathing patterns, meditation, and other relaxation techniques.
1. Improve strength and flexibility
When moving through movements and holding specific asanas, different muscles are activated and strengthened. A downward dog posture can actively engage your upper body and stretch out your hamstrings increasing flexibility. From this posture you can move your body weight backwards to a high plank position and strengthen your core. By moving through various asanas in a smooth way, you can release emotion and tension related tightness, like muscle knots.
2. Reduces joint and back pain
Great asanas for reducing joint and back pain include the cat-cow pose, seated forward bend, and one leg pigeon. Try these movements out and feel your lower back lengthen and release tension! Optionally you can match your breath to your posture and deepen the stretch with every exhale. These stretches are especially great for employees who sit at a desk all day.
3. Boost your mood
Moving your body in a smooth flow can help your blood flow around your body easing tensions you may have. Studies have shown that yoga poses lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increases your parasympathetic activity- the system in your body that encourages relaxation. Furthermore, this can encourage mood enhancing endorphins which are the feel good hormones you’re looking for.
4. Relaxation and breathing techniques
Aside from the physical aspect of yoga, it is also very spiritual and intuitive. Try breathing techniques and meditation to help you center yourself and release any negative feelings. Meditation can help people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, or ADHD by increasing emotional awareness and finding paths to let it go. Studies have shown that individuals who regularly meditate have a lower blood pressure and overall better heart health than those who do not have a regular relaxation routine.
5. Promotes better self care
Yoga strongly advocates for the connection between mind, heart, and body. By practicing yoga, whether it be power yoga or hot yoga, you may develop techniques and feel more in tune with your body. From here, you’ll be able to live a happier, healthier, and more balanced lifestyle. During your yoga practice, try focusing on the present moment- notice how it improves your awareness, attention, and mental centering.
6. Reduce risk of injury
Another benefit of this mind, heart, and body connection is that it can potentially address the physical and nonphysical aspects of injury. The physical aspects, including strengthening muscle tissue, increasing mobility of joints, and stabilizing our body, can be engaged through yoga practice. For nonphysical aspects of injury, since many asanas utilize balance as a key element, individuals’ proprioception can be improved. Proprioception is the awareness of one’s body and how it interacts with space. Having this skill is highly important for individuals to move safely in their everyday lives.
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