International Yoga Day 2024: Looking for mental peace? Here's how yoga exercises help you unwind and manage stress | Health - Hindustan Times

International Yoga Day 2024: Looking for mental peace? Here's how yoga exercises help you unwind and manage stress

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jun 21, 2024 11:12 AM IST

This International Yoga Day 2024, learn to create calm in chaos by integrating ancient practices of Yoga into modern stress management. Here's how.

In our fast-paced, hectic lives, finding moments of relaxation and calm is essential for maintaining mental and physical well-being and yoga - an ancient practice originating in India - has become a valuable tool for individuals seeking relaxation and stress management. Through a combination of physical postures, breathing techniques and mindfulness, yoga offers a holistic approach to unwinding and promoting mental calmness.

International Yoga Day 2024: Looking for mental calmness? Here's how Yoga exercises help you unwind and manage stress (Image by wavebreakmedia_micro on Freepik)
International Yoga Day 2024: Looking for mental calmness? Here's how Yoga exercises help you unwind and manage stress (Image by wavebreakmedia_micro on Freepik)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Kendraa, highlighted why yoga is such an effective method for relaxation -

1. Mindful breathing:

One of the fundamental aspects of yoga is mindful breathing. This practice involves paying close attention to the breath as it flows in and out of the body. The rhythmic and focused nature of yogic breathing, known as pranayama, has a calming effect on the mind.

During a yoga session, participants are guided to take slow, deep breaths, which triggers the body's relaxation response. This response counteracts the "fight or flight" stress response, reducing the production of stress hormones like cortisol. As a result, individuals experience a sense of relaxation and mental calmness.

2. Stress reduction:

Yoga is renowned for its ability to reduce stress. The physical postures, or asanas, in yoga often involve gentle stretching and holding poses. These movements release tension in the muscles and encourage relaxation. When practiced regularly, Yoga can help individuals let go of physical and mental stress, promoting a sense of ease and tranquility.

The mindful aspect of yoga extends beyond the mat. It encourages participants to be present in the moment, letting go of worries about the past and anxieties about the future. This mindfulness is a powerful tool for managing stress and promoting mental calmness in daily life.

3. Muscle relaxation:

Yoga asanas target different muscle groups, promoting relaxation throughout the body. When you hold a pose, you may initially feel some resistance but with focused breathing and gentle stretching, the muscles gradually relax and release tension.

Muscle relaxation is not only beneficial for physical comfort but also for mental well-being. Tense muscles are often a physical manifestation of stress and anxiety. By releasing this tension through yoga, individuals can experience a deeper sense of relaxation and mental calmness.

4. Improved sleep quality:

A good night's sleep is essential for relaxation and overall well-being. Many people struggle with sleep disorders or find it difficult to unwind before bedtime due to racing thoughts. Yoga can be a valuable tool for improving sleep quality.

Yoga's relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, can be particularly beneficial for those who have trouble falling asleep. These practices calm the mind, reduce mental chatter and prepare the body for restful sleep.

5. Emotional regulation:

Yoga promotes emotional regulation by encouraging individuals to acknowledge and accept their emotions without judgment. Through the practice of mindfulness and self-compassion, individuals can navigate their emotional landscapes more effectively.

When faced with challenging emotions, yoga provides a safe space to explore and process them. This emotional intelligence fosters mental calmness and resilience in the face of life's ups and downs.

6. Enhanced mental clarity:

Yoga's emphasis on mindfulness and concentration enhances mental clarity. It helps individuals declutter their minds, reduce distractions and improve focus. This mental clarity contributes to a sense of calm and inner peace.

Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar asserted, “Yoga is a powerful practice for relaxation and stress management. Through mindful breathing, stress reduction, muscle relaxation, improved sleep quality, emotional regulation and enhanced mental clarity, yoga promotes mental calmness and well-being. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced practitioner, integrating Yoga into your routine can provide you with the tools to unwind and find relaxation in the midst of life's demands. It's a holistic approach that nurtures both the body and mind, allowing you to experience a profound sense of tranquility and inner peace.”

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