Stress is bad for your heart and immune system, but there are ways you can reduce stress to live a happier and healthier life. Yoga is a great way to reduce stress by relaxing the central nervous system. Here’s how you can use yoga to cope with anxiety and reduce the stress in your life.
Attend a Yoga Class
If you’ve never done yoga before, it’s a good idea to attend a few yoga classes. Yoga books and DVDs are valuable tools that you can use to help you remember the poses and breathing exercises when you practice at home, but a yoga class is essential for absolute beginners. Attempting to learn the poses without the guidance of a qualified, professional yoga teacher could result in serious injury.
At the beginning of your first yoga class, tell your teacher about any injuries, new or old, that you may have sustained. Even if you’re currently injured, you may be able to perform some of the poses or breathing exercises with a teacher’s supervision. Be sure to tell your teacher about any chronic health problems you may have as well, so that she can adjust the practice according to your needs. There are many dozens of yoga poses and breathing exercises, and you may not be able to safely perform many of them, but that’s okay; no matter your age, state of health or fitness level, yoga can benefit you.
Establish a Home Practice
Once you’ve attended a few yoga classes, you’re ready to establish a home practice. Many students of yoga find it’s satisfying to continue attending classes once every week or two, even after they begin a daily home practice. It’s a good idea to keep taking yoga classes with a qualified professional teacher; you’ll continue to learn new things and you’ll be less likely to hurt yourself when practicing yoga at home.
For your home yoga practice, you’ll need a quiet area where you can practice undisturbed. Your yoga space will need to be big enough to allow you to move freely. You may feel that your home yoga session needs to be as long as your yoga class (most yoga classes are 60 to 90 minutes in length), but this isn’t true. Just twenty minutes of yoga each day can significantly reduce your stress.
Stick to It
Practicing yoga for stress relief requires as much dedication as any other exercise program. The more frequently you practice yoga, the more benefits you’ll feel. Don’t berate yourself, however, if you can’t find time to practice yoga every single day. Just do yoga as often as you can.
The more often you do yoga, the more adept you’ll become and the more enjoyable the experience will be. As yoga becomes a part of your daily life, you’ll find it becomes more and more easy to find the motivation to practice, and you’ll suffer less and less from the effects of stress.