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Beat stress through yoga

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Yoga helps you synchronise your mind and body in a harmonious way and discover your inner strengths, says Dr Prashant Wadhawan

Modern life as we know is not easy. We are constantly building our stress levels from persona and professional imperfections. This stress not only hampers your social life but also affects your mental and physical health. These multiple issues grow bigger every day leading to severe chronic issues like depression, blood pressure and diabetes, among other things.

One of the best ways to fight these issues is by performing yoga consistently. As a spiritual discipline, yoga enables you to focus on synchronising your mind and your body in a harmonious way. Yoga helps you to discover your inner strengths and can go a long way in lending stability in your distorted life.

Yoga today is popular across the globe, not just because of its efficacy in the management of some diseases, but also of its strength in providing relief to the practitioner from mental and emotional distress. Nowadays yoga is being practiced as part of a healthy lifestyle across the globe. Yoga is a complete control of one’s personality so that one may discover one's true self.

Here are some of the benefits of yoga

Improves flexibility

Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. Initially, you probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You'll also probably notice that the pain you experienced in different parts of your body, start to disappear. You can eventually expect to gain flexibility in your back, hamstrings, shoulders and hips.

Reduces stress

Yoga goes a long way in eventually reducing your stress levels. Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are on the mat. This provides a much-needed break from your stressors, as well as helping to put your problems into perspective. The emphasis yoga places on being in the present moment can also help as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started.

Breathing exercises like pranayama in yoga activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for release of relaxing hormones like serotonin. Serotonin relaxes muscles, mind and lowers stress. It also teaches you the diaphragmatic breathing which balances the autonomic nervous system and increases oxygen supply to the brain and other organs. It strengthens the core muscles and muscles involved during breathing.

Lowers blood sugar

Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and boosts HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. In people with diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin.

Protects your spine

Spinal disks—the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That's the only way they get their nutrients. If you've got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you'll help keep your disks supple.

Increases your blood flow

Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result.

Relaxes your system and makes you happier

Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present. It helps you to become calm and relieve stress. Yoga asanas are designed in a manner that you use your body weight while performing them. It helps you realise your strength and further increases your resistance. It helps you understand your own body and thereby makes you more aware.

Dr Prashant Wadhawan is Strength and Conditioning Coach cum Nutritionist at Viiking Trance Fitness by Sachiin Joshi

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