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Friday, March 13, 2009

Try Yoga To Soothe The Stress In Your Mind And The Tension In Your Body!

By Bertil Hjert

Times are hard and they just seem to be getting harder! Everyday, we hear more dire news about the economy, sinking stock prices and mounting job losses. Everyone is worried that they will be the next victim. This stress can have damaging effects on your emotional and physical well being.

Stress and worry can lead to more severe anxiety problems, even panic attacks! It is important to keep your mind and body balanced and one great way to do that is to learn yoga.

- Yoga is practiced by more than 6 million Americans and this number is only on the rise. As more and more people are discovering the amazing health and stress reduction effects of this ancient art, it is becoming increasingly commonplace among both men and women. Yoga is not just exercise and it's not just relaxation, it is a combination of both and it can be practiced by anyone, regardless of their age, gender, flexibility or weight.

- Yoga does incorporate some gymnastics into its movements. There are twists and contortions that will increase your flexibility and help you trim your weight and improve your appearance. To the untrained observer, it might seem like you have to be a contortionist to practice yoga. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, yoga is all about accepting the limitations of your body in the moment and working towards expanding those limitations to their fullest extent.

- Yoga also includes some meditative practices, a great way to lessen anxiety and prevent panic attacks. Meditation is not just for hippies, it is a way to let go some of the accumulated stresses that build up in our lives and simply be at peace in the moment.

An important aspect of meditation and of the more physical components of yoga is the emphasis on the breath. It is so important to breathe properly and too many of us forget how to breath from our abdomen, Without this deep breathing, we are denying our body, valuable oxygen it needs to deal with the stress we encounter in our lives.

There are many different types of yoga and many different ways to engage in the practice. As a beginner, I suggest you go to a yoga studio. Studio teachers will be more likely to help you get into the position (something you might need) and help you integrate the emotional part of the yoga experience with the physical.

Yoga classes at gyms, tend to be more physical in nature and give short shrift to the meditative component. Do not underestimate the power of meditation or the way it can release muscle tension and provide you with some inner peace. However, once you've learned the basics of yoga, attending gym based classes or indulging on your own, will accomplish the same purpose.

If neither of these options are available to you, there are a number of videos and books available that can guide you through the yoga practice although nothing replaces just a few classes for the visual and educational perspective they offer. The key to lower levels of anxiety and even panic attack prevention lay in finding ways to achieve some inner peace and some physical relief.