Modern life can be full of stress – relationships are complicated, work is constant, traffic is getting worse, technology invades even the quietness of our homes. Our success at life seems to be measured by how much we can accomplish in each 24 hour period. A 2017 Gallup poll showed that about 8 in 10 Americans experience stress sometimes or frequently on a daily basis.
Stress manifests itself in so many ways in our lives: decreasing the quality (and quantity) of our sleep, causing digestive problems (as we hurriedly gulp down fast food), causing headaches and fatigue, and affecting our emotions and relationships by contributing to feelings of overwhelm, angry outbursts and depression. We often deal with stress by adding more unhealthy habits to our lives, using cigarettes, alcohol or television to relax.
Researchers at UCLA found that even as little as 12 minutes of daily yoga will reduce stress significantly. Harvard Medical School has shown that evoking the relaxation response through yoga can help lower blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and stress hormone levels. The combination of breath practice, physical movement and the brief full-body relaxation and meditation through shavasana all work together to reduce stress.
The world is not on its way to becoming a simpler place and it is becoming increasingly important that we improve our lifestyles in ways that help us manage the rising stress we face in our day-to-day lives. Taking our quality of life into our own hands is essential to living our best lives and yoga can be our best tool.
Bio: Carrie Dawn has been practicing yoga daily after experiencing health problems in her 20’s. She quickly discovered that yoga is so much more than a form of gentle exercise, as it is often seen in the US, and delved into the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga. She is from Edmonds, Washington, USA.