The benefits of yoga on stress and how you can take your first steps towards practicing.
Gracey Grossmann is a founding member of University of Chester’s yoga society and a yoga instructor. Here she shares five tips on the benefits of yoga on stress reduction and taking your first steps towards practicing.
1. Joining societies at university for example, can be a struggle for students, due to feelings of pressure and having to fit in. Plus many societies require you to be fit, fab and experienced. However literally anybody can immerse themselves in yoga. The best postures to start with are probably ‘standing warrior two’ which is a strengthening pose requiring and enabling focus and stability. Then you have the ‘downward dog’ which is great for the body and mind to find respite and calm. Finally, I would also recommend the basic ‘sun salutation’ as this sequence provides the basis to a yoga practice, enabling you to find your breath and be fully in the moment. One of my favourite Yoga You Tubers is Allie – The Journey Junkie as she is very open and encouraging in her practices.
2. Yoga is the ideal pursuit if you wish to take five and relax before tackling stressful deadlines for example. In those five grounding minutes you can return to who you are and figure out how you feel. This is one of the blissful perks of yoga – there are no minimum or maximum time limitations – slotting easily into existing commitments. Personally, I don’t find particular clothing or mats of special significance – you are the substance to your practice, so simply practice yoga in your most comfortable clothes, laying out a towel or mat of your choice.
3. The mental health benefits of yoga are being increasingly documented. In addition to relieving stress and muscle tension, yoga can aid strain and inflammation and sharpen attention and concentration. It is common to feel alone when dealing with mental health issues and yoga can enhance social wellbeing via a sense of belonging to others. Yoga has truly helped me to find stillness in the stressful moments.
4. I’ve found yoga particularly effective when overwhelmed and dealing with that frustrating feeling of having too much to do with little idea of where to start. I always feel refreshed and ready to tackle life after completing a practice.
5. Yoga also offers a sense of wellbeing as it helps you to be present and ‘in the moment’ as you sync with the rhythm of your body.