Yoga for stress relief and anxiety

by Delight Yoga

The constant need to improve ourselves and compete with the rapidly changing world leaves marks on our bodies in the form of stress and anxiety, which can have long-term effects on our health. Yin and Restorative Yoga help bring back our focus into the present moment and relieve our bodies from everyday stress and anxiety. 

Anxiety creates feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness, which can lead to high levels of stress. Under high levels of stress, our physical body feels restless and weak. Additionally, it gives our digestive system a hard time, as it affects which nutrients get absorbed, how quickly the food moves through our body, and can provoke us to eat less or more. When stressed, we lose our concentration, focus and have difficulties making decisions or remembering things. Stress may also cause irritability, making us easily frustrated and impatient with others, leading to broken relationships. 

Stress relief is so important to cultivate so we can achieve balance in our entire body and find a more positive and calm outlook. Stress relief involves controlling the effects of stress so we can improve our mental, physical, and emotional health. There are many techniques to help us with stress relief including meditation, walks in nature, or yoga, which has a calming effect on our bodies. 

What is Yin Yoga? 

Yin Yoga combines aspects of Hatha Yoga, the concept of the meridians in Chinese medicine, Taoist philosophy and Buddhist meditation techniques. By holding the postures in a seated or lying position for 3 - 5 minutes, it directs the simulation deeper into connective tissues, such as ligaments, bones, and the joints of the body. When practised regularly, Yin Yoga increases the flexibility, circulation, and range of motion in the joints and ligaments. In the class, you will find yourself relaxing from ‘the perfection’ of the world and enjoying the presence ‘as it is’ being mindful of your current state. 

How does Yin Yoga help us to relieve stress and anxiety?

Staying in one pose for a longer time forces us to stay present, breathe, be with our thoughts and any physical discomfort as they arise. We have many stored emotions in our body such as anger, sadness, and anxiety, that can manifest as pain or blockages like knots in our shoulders, tight hips, sore necks, or internal pains. Yin Yoga encourages us to be aware of these stored emotions so we can begin to recognise and release them. By bringing awareness to the breath and to the areas that need our attention, we give our body the signal to release tension and tightness in the muscles. Complete relief has a calming effect on our body. It calms our body, mind and spirit bringing it into a meditative state which reduces our stress levels. The practice of Yin Yoga is an invitation to slow down and reconnect to ourselves. 

What is Restorative Yoga? 

Restorative Yoga is a restful practice in which you hold in certain postures for a longer period while being supported by blocks and bolsters. It is a practice of letting go and relaxing deeply into the pose emphasizing the meditative aspect of yoga - the union of body and mind. Due to the use of props, our body holds the postures almost effortlessly allowing our body to fully relax.  

How does Restorative Yoga help us to relieve stress and anxiety? 

Restorative poses are designed to maximize comfort and allow the practitioner to fully let go, release any tension and increase the awareness of the present moment. Due to its relaxation techniques Restorative Yoga is recommended for the treatment of anxiety. It provides us with the opportunity to step back and observe the sensations in our body that arise and disappear, letting our body be present with any accumulated tensions. The practice provides us with a deep relaxation and helps us to recenter into our inner selves where we find the stillness of body, mind and spirit. 

The Benefits of Yin and Restorative Yoga 

- Calm your nervous system
- Encourage mindfulness and meditation
- Deepen self-awareness and introspection
- Help you feel safe and nurtured
- Strengthen acceptance and detachment
- Improve flexibility
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Boost your immune system
- Improve sleep
- Help with the symptoms of depression
- Increase joint mobility
- Relieve tension