Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gah! Stress!

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a headache from grinding your teeth?  Or with sore fingers from clenching your hands into fists in your sleep?  No?  Oh, well, neither do I.  I mean, I do yoga.  Lots of it.  I was just, um, wondering if you have ever had that experience…

Just because we practice yoga regularly doesn’t mean we don’t still have moments in which stress gets the best of us.  Think about the classes you tend to take.  Many of our classes have either “hot” or “power” or both in the title, and many of us use these classes as a way to burn off excess stress, anxiety, nervous energy.  For those of us with type-A tendencies, the group energy and fast pace of a vinyasa class might feel natural, but might not be the best way to settle down.  There are, however, other kinds of yoga (like Yin, Restorative, or Nidra) that can help alleviate the physical and mental symptoms of stress through gentle release rather than strenuous stretching.

Many restorative classes, for example, incorporate breath work and meditation as a way to bring ease to the mind.  In these classes, the body is placed in gentle poses with lots of props to facilitate relaxation and opening as students are guided through meditations.  This kind of practice can be particularly helpful for those of us dealing with conditions like insomnia, fatigue, high blood pressure, or muscle tension (the kind that a little light stretching won’t release).  Given the pace of life even here in little ol’ Bloomington, we should probably all take advantage of these opportunities to slow down whenever we can.

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