Yoga has made a dramatic comeback in the past several years and is now revered as a practice that offers multiple benefits. Many people come to yoga as a way to get toned and improve balance and flexibility. Soon, they learn that a consistent yoga practice has much more to offer than they previously imagined. Here, we discuss the key relationships between stress, disease, and yoga.
What Medical Research Says
According to clinical analysis and studies, up to 90 percent of illness is stress-related. Some of the many conditions that have been linked to excessive stress include anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, cardiovascular disease, and general immune suppression. Stress may feel slightly different for every person. Internally, it is that fight or flight response that happens in the sympathetic nervous system that sends our blood pressure and heart rate up and out breathing and metabolism down.
In the short term, a strong stress response can be good. However, studies suggest that our typical reaction to minor stressors is far greater and longer than it needs to be. This leads to continuously high levels of cortisol, a hormone that can increase cardiovascular output while simultaneously fostering depressed emotions. Ongoing, frequent stress responses wear down the various systems the body relies on for optimal health and wellness.
The body has a natural way of regaining balance after a stressor has passed. This is the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in a relaxation response. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure decrease. Blood circulates more easily through the immune system, glands, reproductive and digestive systems.
This is Where Yoga Comes In
Yoga is based on the connection between the breath and physical movement. The extended deep breathing coincides with conscious relaxation and focus on physical poses. In combination, these actions stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system into its “rest and renew” state. One recent study confirmed that yoga can decrease the amount of cortisol in the blood. People who engaged in yoga in another study demonstrated higher pain tolerance. With continued practice, yoga also helps people enjoy a lesser response to stressors. Less fight or flight, more love and light!
Come Join Us
We so enjoy sharing the benefits of yoga with our clients. If you are a Sterling, Ashburn, Leesburg, Reston or Herndon resident or just passing through, call 703-444-2800 to sign up for one of our rejuvenating Vinyasa, Yin, Hot, Bikram ,Spa Yoga classes.Pilates or Barre.