By Yogi Ram
Our modern lifestyle is very busy. Family, career, social life . . . The pressure is high. From a young age, we are encouraged to perform intellectually, physically, professionally and socially.
Unfortunately, a very common result of this constant pressure is . . . STRESS.
Controlled and limited stress is not necessarily a bad thing. Stress can actually help you perform under pressure, excel during a job interview, reach deadlines, etc.
However, constant and overwhelming stress can have a negative effect on your physical and mental wellbeing. It can even lead to a series of health problems such as anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, muscle soreness, reduced immune system and much more. According to research, stress can even lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, depression and obesity.
Therefore, it is important – no matter how busy your schedule – to take time for yourself. By reducing your stress levels and calming down your mind and body, you will feel better immediately, and will experience lasting energy, positivity, and health overall.
How Yoga Fits into the Mix
Unfortunately, when people get overwhelmed with stress, they don’t always handle it the right way. Commonly accepted ways to unwind are lying on the sofa, staring at the TV, using drugs or alcohol, eating junk food, or taking medication.
Yet there are much more efficient ways to unwind and learn to control your stress before it starts to control you. One of those ways is a regular yoga practice.
Several studies suggest that yoga can reduce the impact of chronic and exaggerated stress, and that it can also be helpful to relieve anxiety and depression.
When the body is in a state of stress, the sympathetic nervous system automatically activates. In this “fight-or-flight” response, the body temperature rises, the heart beats faster and the muscles automatically become tense, ready to fight or flight.
One of the main benefits of yoga is that it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the body’s “rest-and-digest” system. When in this state, the body spends its energy on healing, recuperating and digesting. As a result, your immune system and overall body and mind well-being improve.
Aside from activating the parasympathetic nervous system, yoga also gives you access to an inner strength and calmness which empowers you to deal with life’s inevitable stressors, fears, and frustrations.
But What If I Have No Time?!
Even though many people agree with these facts, lack of time is a problem that still remains. If you have to carve another hour out of your already busy schedule, yoga could easily become an extra thing to add to your to-do-list.
But good news! It’s not required that you practice yoga for one hour every day. Even if you only practice for 15 minutes a day, you will still benefit from yoga’s effects. Just 15 minutes of yoga can make a tremendous difference in your energy levels and in how you deal with daily tensions and pressure.
No matter how busy your days are, never lose track of your most important duty, which is to take care of yourself. Try to keep that thought in mind whenever you think you are too busy to spend even just 15 minutes a day on your own growth and wellbeing.
To end with the wise words of Buddha, “You yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”