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Yoga for Reducing Stress

Yoga for Reducing StressYoga

Cat, Cow, Pidgeon. Yes, these sound like animals you might find on your local farm, but they are also the names of Super Stress-busting Yoga poses! We all know that a regular practice of yoga has many health benefits, but did you know that it has also been proven to reduce your stress levels?

A study published last year on healthy volunteers showed that 40 minutes of yoga per day could do the following:

  • Decrease stress levels - by reducing adrenaline, the hormone which contributes to increased stress levels and our ‘fight and flight’ stress response.
  • Elevate mood – by increasing serotonin, the happy and mood lifting brain chemical.
  • Increase antioxidant action – by decreasing the components of blood that contribute to oxidative stress, and increasing levels and activity of glutathione, which can increase the antioxidant status in the body
  • Increase immunity – by increasing levels of immune related cytokines, which can assist with healthy immune function.

The beneficial and stress busting effects of yoga in this study were evaluated after 12 weeks. The daily yoga program included yoga body poses, breathing exercises, meditation and awareness practices.

There are many different types of yoga, but all focus on the practice of being mindful and present whilst performing the yoga poses. You will often find most classes include a small amount of meditation time. Here’s a summary of the main yoga types and benefits:

  1. Hatha Yoga – yoga poses are slow and gentle which is great if you’re just starting out or are wanting to wind down at night.
  2. Vinyasa Yoga – yoga poses are performed to flow into one another, almost like a moving meditation.
  3. Ashtanga Yoga – strong poses are held for long periods of time, this is a more physically demanding type of yoga.
  4. Restorative Yoga – this is a more relaxing type of yoga to quiet the mind.
  5. Prenatal Yoga – designed for mum’s to be, this type of yoga focuses on breathing and core work.

There are also many other types of Yoga out there to try. So what are you waiting for!? Grab your yoga mat and head out to your local yoga class and experience for yourself the amazing health benefits this form of exercise can offer you.

 

  1. Lim SA, Cheong KJ. Regular Yoga Practice Improves Antioxidant Status, Immune Function, and Stress Hormone Releases in Young Healthy People: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Pilot Study. J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Jul 16. [Epub ahead of print]
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