Stress: How and why of it
Stress? Me, I don’t take stress or no, I work out my stress and thus it doesn’t affect me. That is the most common response we say to ourselves, whenever there is talk about stress. And the main reason for this is not hard to find. We have skewed knowledge about what stress is. The scientific details (long and boring :) )are here at wiki. Or, skip this link and read on :)
How yoga helps our body to counter effects of stress:
- Heart Beat: Whatever the level of stress level, it directly effects our heartbeats. The body, in its safety as ‘fight or flight’ response, starts to prep itself for any impending outcome. So, even if we don’t do anything about the situation (in case of minor stress or any other reason), our heart beats have increased and our heart works overtime for at least some time.
- Digestive System: In simplest terms, when your body is under stress, digestive system contracts so consume less energy, as energy is diverted towards other body organs. This is a natural response of the human body, as it has evolved into ‘fight or flight’ response. Our body doesn’t differentiate much from stress due to looming deadline or a tiger in the jungle. For it, stress means more blood to legs and arms. Simple. Detailed effects can be read here: Does stress effects digestive system? (healthyguthealthylife.com)
- Breathing: When the body is under stress, however minute, it affects the breathing pattern. The breathing becomes shallow and rapid (up to varying degree). As you know from this post, this effect has its own effects on other body functions. It’s is suffice to say, wrong breathing is a vicious circle. When you breathe wrong, it affects your emotional health and when emotional health isn’t doing well, it affects your breathing. In end, it’s your body, that suffers.
- Glucose Level: This factor I have kept for very last and for good reason. When your body is under stress, the blood sugar level rises. It’s done to generate energy quickly as the body gets ready for ‘fight or flight’ response. You can read in more details at WebMD here. But it is what this leads to, that will concern you. Your body can’t stay in high blood sugar range for long, and hence, soon it develops a craving for sugar or sweet items. This alone is the reason for higher consumption of sweetened processed food items in recent times. :O
Why Yoga for stress relief:
Now that you know about stress, the most common response is that you ‘work out’ to combat stress. And herein lies the problem. Nearly all exercise/physical fitness schedule imitate ‘fight or flight’ response. You tend to constantly evaluate yourself on basis of numbers about how much lifting/running/laps etc are your able to do. This is the reason, most of the workout sessions are tiring once finished.
Does that mean, you should leave them? Hell, NO!! Keep going to gym/club as they are good in their own sense.
Just add a little of yoga practice in your routine.
Because, yoga works on the principle of non-competitive nature of working with the body, not on the body. You move gently, focus on breathing, relax in asana. These steps are what makes our body remove the effects of stress on our body. Even regular practice of suryanamaskar, done regularly. With awareness. Gently. Gives you all the benefits required by the body.