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Yoga for Health: Are You Stressing Out? Take a Yoga Class

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Aug 17, 2007
Stress is actually the number one killer of humans on the planet. Stress is a factor and cause of more physical and mental diseases than most of us can imagine. If you have any disease or ailment, stress will make it worse. If you are getting "stressed out," it may bring on an ailment or disease.

Just look at what stress does to your blood pressure and heart. Cancer patients recover better when they are dealing with less stress. There are many reasons to worry, and none of us is without worry or stress. Too much stress can also cause an abrupt withdrawal from society and result in a possible depression.

Stress overload can cause job burn out, chronic fatigue, and nervous breakdowns. All of these conditions can result in long-term effects that can "sap" a person's life energy, focus, and motivation.

Unfortunately, stress can also be caused by the ego, too much attachment to outcome, greed, jealousy, and hate. This is mentioned within the Yoga Sutras, by Patanjali, which has remained a timeless guide to human insight. Sometimes, we create our own stress and are our own worst enemies.

So, what's the solution? Stress management programs are one answer. Have you ever noticed how many stress management techniques look like Yoga? To be honest, if something looks and sounds like Yoga; it's probably "Yoga in disguise."

I do not want to take away any credit, but Yoga is a 5,000 year old health maintenance system. You could call Yoga the "mother" of all health maintenance systems. Many of today's health maintenance systems are "off shoots" of Yoga.

Hatha Yoga teaches you to stretch and strengthen your tense muscles, breathe correctly, relax, meditate and much more. Regular Yoga practice will help you develop your focus and turn stress "on its head." As a result of Yoga practice, you will easily be able to handle life's daily stress.

Whether the form of Yoga you practice is holding postures for a while, or flowing from one posture to the next, your body will be relieved of stress. Hatha Yoga sub-styles such as, Restorative Yoga and Iyengar Yoga, hold the Yoga Postures a bit longer than most.

The controlled breathing, practiced while holding a posture, enables the Yoga student to release stress, and walk away from a Yoga class feeling better than he or she did before the start of the class.

On the other hand, Hatha Yoga sub-styles that flow such as, Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, and Ashtanga Yoga, have more movement, but the repetition of movement will also release stress from your body.

So, which is the best style for you? Most Yoga studios and wellness centers realize that students do not all "dance to the same beat."

These movement-based Yoga classes differ from a gentle Restorative Yoga style. Each Yoga style has its own flavor, but a prospective student should talk to a Yoga teacher prior to the particular class. This is the wisest course of action, when considering your own goals.

Yoga is not a complete cure for stress, but it does cause the opposite effects of stress. Most Yoga students do find themselves living a calmer, more relaxed, and healthier life style as a result of practicing Yoga on and off the mat. This is why so many doctors recommend Yoga to their patients.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

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