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Strike a Pose: Managing Emotional Distress Through Yoga

Life is full of stressors. One thing after another can build up stress in our lives and lead to anxiety that’s difficult to manage. If you struggle to quiet the swirling thoughts in your mind, consider giving yoga a try.

What is yoga?

Yoga is the ancient practice of stretching and meditation. Dating back almost 5,000 years, yoga relaxes the body through physical movements and mental clarity. By holding certain positions and engaging in pose flows, yoga contributes to strengthening your core while lengthening muscles and putting the mind at ease.

How yoga helps

Stress management is just one of the many benefits you’ll find with yoga. Putting your body into motion and practicing yoga a few times each week can also reap some physical benefits. These include:

  • Better sleep
  • Lower cortisol levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower heart rate
  • Reduced body tension
  • Increased strength and flexibility

Styles of yoga

From intense to meditative, yoga can be practiced in many forms. Before deciding which type is best for you, take classes from a few different instructors or stream classes online to find the truly perfect fit. Here are just a few of the many types of yoga available:

  • Vinyasa – This type of yoga is considered the most athletic as you move through poses coordinated with your breathing. Strenuous moves, such as triangle and the warrior series, work on body alignment, coordination, and breathing all at once.
  • Hatha – Consider this the “kitchen sink” of yoga classes. This practice borrows from other styles and is centered around physical training and precise movements. Hatha is a classic style, making it a great introduction to those just discovering yoga.
  • Hot yoga – If you like to work up a good sweat hot yoga is for you. Room temperatures usually reach 105° and humidity levels peak at 40%. Proper alignment of the body and spine is improved by utilizing 26 poses and running through each posture twice.
  • Restorative – For those who need a moment of calm after a long day, restorative yoga is all about relaxation, cleansing both the body, and resetting the mind. Utilizing fewer postures means you spend more time reaching a place of serenity and quiet. Blankets, bolsters, and yoga blocks help participants achieve this feeling of zen.

Our bodies respond to yoga in different ways depending on how we feel, our state of mind, and life’s circumstances. Whether you practice early in the morning, as a midday stress reliever, or as a way to unwind from a long day, yoga can lead to a happier and healthier outlook on life. 

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