We've all got more stress than we need. Yoga is one strategy for decreasing stress in the body.
Understanding The Impact of Stress
We often think about stress as a mental thing that causes fatigue and anxiety. In fact, stress manifests in the body physiologically. Did you know that psychological stress can be measured by testing markers of inflammation?
Many of the same inflammatory markers that indicate heart disease and diabetes are chronically elevated if you are under a lot of psychological stress.
For example, two inflammatory markers, IL-6 and C-reactive Protein, are much higher in people who are under profound stress. Examples include having suffered a natural disaster, living with someone who has a chronic disease, having a low income, or having higher scores for stress and anxiety on questionnaires. In these people, IL-6 and C-reactive protein are elevated all the time. These compounds harm the brain and metabolism because they compromise the function of the central nervous system.
Do Yoga To Ease Stress
A simple way to decrease your feelings of psychological stress and help clear inflammation is to perform a regular yoga practice. A study of young men in the navy found that those who performed yoga a few times a week for six months decreased stress levels. They also increased glutathione. Glutathione is an internally produced antioxidant that naturally helps get rid of stress biomarkers like IL-6 and C-reactive protein.
Meditation is also effective for reducing sensations of psychological stress and lowering the markers of inflammation. One study compared IL-6 levels in a group that performed several meditation sessions and a group that participated in a health discussion group. The meditation group had lower IL-6 levels at the end of the study than the health discussion group.
Researchers think meditation is effective for stress reduction because the yogic breathing that accompanies it helps to clear stress hormones. Plus, meditation allows you to develop active skills for reducing stress when you encounter it head on in daily life.
Stress is overwhelming. Take back control and ease your stress by adopting a regular yoga or meditation practice. The results are often subtle. You'll feel small improvements in your moodthat add up to big improvements in quality of life.