In so much of our lives, we’re thinking on a million different planes at once. This has the result of us not really concentrating on what we’re doing and, sometimes, we don’t do what we’re doing to the best of our ability. Our minds also play out different scenarios in terms of what we’re thinking about. And if these scenarios are negative they cause us stress and anxiety.
One of the fundamental teachings of Yoga is to be in the moment, in other words to make sure that your mind is with your body in class and that you’re fully concentrating on what you’re doing. It uses the movements or – as they are known in Sanskrit asanas – to help hone the mind and ground it in the present. If your mind doesn’t wander into other thoughts, you’ll be less likely to delve into stress-creating thoughts. To guide you in your Yoga practice, chanting is used as is breathing.
Stress management and Yoga
How does chanting help with Yoga?
In a Yoga class, chanting is usually done at the beginning and end of the session. In ancient times, it was thought that by chanting, one gives off vibrations which help us connect with the earth. Chanting rids your mind of the stresses of everyday life and allows you to focus on the task at hand – your Yoga practice. For more information in chanting, read our article.
Ujjayi breathing and its role in Yoga
In the same article we speak about how your breath is used in Yoga. Different from breathing in other exercise modalities, with Ujjayi breathing you breath in through your nose and out again through your nose. However, when you exhale you slightly constrict the back of your throat so that you are effectively ‘sighing’, the benefit of which is relieving tension.
Meditation and its role in Yoga
In every Yoga class there is a meditation aspect. It is an age-old way to quiet the mind in order to find inner peace and to make the connection with your higher self. In the Yoga class, meditation involves sitting or lying in a comfortable position and focusing on a chosen object for a duration of time. Concentrating exclusively on the chosen object, becoming aware of all the changes during the observation and letting go of unnecessary thoughts without reacting to them is the essence of meditation. By not reacting to these superfluous thoughts, you eliminate your body’s stressful reactions.
Meditation doesn’t just need to be practised in Yoga class. You can also practise meditation while you’re walking around. Do the following to become proficient at this type of meditation:
- Begin by simply standing. Just standing on the spot, being aware of your weight being transferred through the soles of your feet into the earth. Be aware of all the subtle movements that go on in order to keep us balanced and upright.
- And then you can being to walk at a fairly slow but normal walking pace. And, in a normal manner, just become aware of how you walk.
Being stressed is all about us conjuring up fatalistic notions in our minds of what may happen in a particular environment or as a reaction to a particular set of circumstances. As these thoughts are negative and, in our minds, present imminent danger we activate our flight or fight mechanism which puts our bodies under immense pressure. However, what we don’t realise is that these thoughts don’t present us with any types of danger and, because they are just thoughts, we can eliminate them from our minds as quickly as they came into them.
Besides being a great workout, Yoga has powerful stress-relieving properties. If you want to learn more about these check out Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Yoga Certification Course. It will give you a thorough grounding into how Yoga can change your, and your students’, lives.