Dissipate holiday stress with yoga
One wonderful option to nurture yourself is through yoga, which is not a religion but promotes health and peace of mind.
According to WebMD.com, “Yoga benefits chronic medical conditions, relieving symptoms of asthma, back pain, and arthritis.” Yoga also is touted as a way to improve mood, blood pressure, balance, posture, concentration, learning, memory, lung capacity and strength.
The Mayo Clinic reports on yoga that, “Certain benefits, particularly stress reduction, can be seen in as little as one day.” The reason yoga, as well as other natural/alternative/holistic therapies, tends to offer so many benefits, is that they bring the body back into balance, or homeostasis. When this happens, symptoms of disease lessen or disappear. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor when doing any form of alternative healing along with taking prescription drugs. Learning the symptoms of overmedication is imperative because you may find that your need for them diminishes.
Most anyone can benefit from some form of yoga, even when sick or injured. It’s a matter of choosing the correct form for your situation and the right teacher to help you find the proper asanas (poses) and modifications, if necessary. If you’re unsure about where to start, talk to a yoga instructor about your situation. The instructor should be able to guide you to the right type of class.
There are many different types of yoga: Iyengar, Kundalini, Bikram, Power and Restorative, to name just a few. The different types can vary quite a bit from each other, and they can vary from one instructor to the next.
Restorative yoga is an excellent format to help one through this hectic season, because relaxation is an antidote to stress. Restorative yoga is also great for anyone dealing with fibromyalgia or cancer, going through a major life change such as the loss of a loved one or a job change, or desiring a lovely, relaxing hour. The poses are all done in a very relaxed state with the body supported with bolsters, blankets, blocks and straps so the student can completely relax into the positions.
Each comfortable pose is maintained for five to 10 minutes with eyes closed, and the body and brain quiet. The idea is to feel completely supported to allow a deep sense of relaxation. This reduces muscle tension and relieves anxiety, which benefits the internal organs.
Restorative yoga focuses on effortlessness and ease, allowing the body to move toward a state of balance. This practice calms the nervous system and invites you to release deeply held tension. This reduces blood pressure and blood sugar levels, increases the “good cholesterol” levels, improves digestion, insomnia and generalized fatigue.
Sometimes Restorative Yoga instructors have the class focus on breath, or give specific cues that bring attention to certain body parts to enhance relaxation. Usually meditative music plays softly in the background. Some instructors say a guided meditation, and sometimes have incense or scented candles in the room. Each instructor runs the class a little differently.
This holiday season, make the time, take the time, to nurture yourself. The holiday season will come and go, but your body will be with you for your lifetime. The better you take care of yourself, the more enjoyment you’ll have in life. So find something that will allow you to relax and rejuvenate every now and then. If you can do it yourself, terrific! Do it! If you could use a little help, instruction, or motivation, consider trying a yoga class.
Yoga is everywhere these days. Try a few different classes to see what suits you. People have been enjoying the benefits of yoga for more than 5,000 years. Try it and you may figure out why it’s been around for so long.