Our 21st-century life is often compared to walking a line between an ethical life, one governed by rules, and our basic instincts governed by situations. Our overstimulated brains and sedentary lifestyle takes a toll on mental and physical well-being. We seem to have less time for ourselves with each new tech innovation. We live in a hectic world with little opportunity to quiet our minds and take deep breaths.
The good news is that practicing yoga is a robust way to release stress. Yes, when our nerves seem to be unraveling and our minds are racing, yoga can step into the fray and quiet the world. Yoga may help relieve stress and restore balance leading to a more centered life.
Stress in itself is a natural human response to situations in which we find ourselves having to focus. Hunting, protecting the lives of your family, facing the unknown all need a helping hand. The body produces a stress hormone, cortisol, evolved to do just that. When the situation returns to normal, cortisol metabolizes releasing stress.
The problem arises when stress is chronic. If stress is not released it has a direct impact on the immune system leading to mood swings, irritability, and even disease. The problem is not stress itself, rather, unreleased stress is what takes its toll on modern humans.
Yoga and Stress ReleaseChronic stress is the result of unreleased stress. Another way to think about this is that stress represents an imbalance between the body and consciousness. Yoga teaches us a way to recognize imbalance and to release that imbalance thus returning us to a state of balance. Yoga shows us how to heal from the inside out. Pretty simple in concept, yet it takes a lifetime to perfect.
Some Obvious Non-Yoga Ways to Walk the Yoga Path
There are any number of ways to release stress and promote health from the inside out. Only yoga, it seems, focuses on both the body and the mind at the same time. In this way, yoga promotes health from the inside out.
Coupled with yoga, one can kickstart the process by being 'dressed for success.' This meme appears to be vanilla floating in a sea of chocolate. It seems to obvious that it need no vocalization. We all know that you don't go to a wedding dressed in a jogging outfit. You don't wear a bikini to church. It would be inappropriate for a plumber to go to work in a suit and tie or for a lawyer to show up in court in plumbers overalls. So why would yoga be any different?
Women's yoga apparel is clearly optional in the yoga studio. There are no requirements that you wear yoga pants and a sports bra. But if 'dressing for success' begins on the inside and moves toward the outside then what better way to show your commitment than by dressing the part. Psychologists will tell you that a change in behavior begins by 'acting as if' your behavior has already changed. When wearing women's yoga apparel at the beginning, you are acting as if waiting for the moment that it is you. Just something to think about.