What is stress release yoga?
As you may be aware, millions of people have used yoga as a way to restore balance to their body and mind for many years now. What started as a “trendy” activity has transcended its original beginnings here in the United States to become one of the most popular ways to exercise and stay in shape.
Now that the U.S. is starting to get back on track after a very long and enduring 2020, people are once again flocking to health solution centers to regain their momentum.
Despite its popularity, many practitioners don’t fully understand how yoga affects their nervous system. We thought such an explanation was long overdue, so we’re going to explain some of the body’s inner workings in terms of how the nervous systems work and how stress release yoga is utilized by professional yoga instructors to take advantage of it.
How Yoga Exercises Affect Our Body and Mind
Many people sign up for yoga classes because someone in their family or circle of friends has credited yoga for their newfound weight loss, flexibility, strength, or other physical attribute. All of that is true, of course – yoga has definitely proven itself to be amazing for your body – but its effects on the mind are just as substantial.
The exercises, breathing, and meditation involved with yoga allow practitioners to center themselves, feeling more relaxed and confident not only during the classes themselves but throughout all facets of their lives. What’s even more exciting for aging practitioners is that yoga has been shown to improve cognitive function and emotional resilience.
Closer Look at the Autonomic Nervous System
Discussing the body’s nervous system can get a wee bit complicated, but we’ll try to keep it simple. This system consists of two primary parts – central and peripheral. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord, but it’s the peripheral nervous system that’s comprised of nerves and ganglia outside the central area where yoga is most beneficial.
This peripheral nervous system is also divided into two parts – autonomic (involuntary functions like breathing) and somatic (voluntary functions like walking). But, it doesn’t quite stop there.
How Yoga Affects the Autonomic Nervous System
Breaking things down even further, the automatic nervous system consists of two primary branches — the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”). These areas are more influenced through practice, which makes them a perfect conduit for improvement via yoga techniques.
The sympathetic branch is affected by yoga by allowing us to handle stressful situations (and stress, in general) more easily. With the parasympathetic nervous system, yoga allows us to more fully relax and restore balance. You can see the effects of stress release yoga in these types of practices:
- Dynamic Yoga — Dynamic styles of yoga such as Ashtanga, power, and vinyasa include vigorous movements, which are great at stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. This will strengthen immunity, improve respiratory function, and increase cardiovascular health, among other things.
- Restorative Yoga — This type of yoga will stimulate the relaxation response, giving you feelings of comfort, safety, calm, healthy digestion, and other such effects. Think of this as the opposite of dynamic types of yoga.
- Pranayama — The intent of pranayama is to stimulate the vagus nerve, which affects internal functions such as heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate. It involves breathing techniques that move our body into its “rest and digest” response.
- Savasana — This is an extremely helpful practice that encourages stillness and introspection. It’s a fantastic way to end a session because it slows your heart rate, respiration rate, and more.
- Meditation — Yoga is often known for its meditation as much as it’s known for the physical effects. Meditation allows our bodies to release tension and move into physical and mental stillness. It’s integrated into every facet of yoga for optimum effect.
Contact East West Healing Solutions for Stress Release Yoga Classes
Stress release yoga is the perfect way to center yourself and restore balance. By concentrating on specific yoga classes and styles, you’ll be able to improve your mental clarity, stress response, calmness quotient, and more.
As the most respected yoga studio in Palm Harbor, East West Healing Solutions can help you achieve your goals for both the body and mind. If you have any questions or are ready to sign up or call us at (727) 216-3972 today.