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How Yoga Alleviates Stress Related Conditions And Body Aches

Any situation the body perceives as dangerous or threatening triggers the stress or “fight or flight” response in the body. This threat may be overt physical danger or more subtle, dealing with interpersonal conflict such as a disagreement with a coworker or situational pressures, like coping with financial problems.

The body’s efforts to deal with a threatening situation cause a series of reactions. The heart accelerates to provide maximum oxygen levels to organs and cells. The muscles tighten and shorten to prepare for action, to maneuver through the situation, to fight or to flee from the danger. Adrenaline courses through the body heightening awareness and providing a quick burst of energy.

The automatic stress response serves a purpose. It protects the body. However, chronic stress, remaining in a stress response state for a prolonged period of time, takes a negative toll on the body. It causes physical and psychological distress, which affects a person’s overall health and well-being.

Effects Of Stress

• 43% of all adults suffer from health problems because of stress.
• 75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
• Stress is a key contributor to heart disease, headaches, body aches, high blood pressure, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, anxiety, and depression.
• The 50% prevalence of any emotional disorder is typically due to untreated stress.
• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that stress is a significant hazard in the workplace and results in costs of over $300 billion annually.

Symptoms of chronic stress related to the continuous release of stress hormones and an elevated metabolism:

• The digestive system may experience stress as stomach aches, nausea, and intestinal irritability.

• Mentally, a person under chronic stress may experience racing thoughts, unreasonable worrying, lack of focus and disorganization and pessimism.

• A person under chronic stress also displays emotional and behavioral markers of the condition. They may become irritable, experience feelings of overwhelm, depression and low self-esteem.

• Stress associated behaviors, overeating or undereating, avoidance and displaying nervous behaviors like nail biting and pacing emerge under chronic stress.

• Stress related aches and pains could occur in different parts of the body. When the muscles shorten or tighten to prepare for action within the stress response then remain that way, it causes aches and pains in different parts of the body.

Where muscular tension presents itself while under stress varies from one person to another. Some people may clench or tighten their jaw causing pain and discomfort in this area and possibly across the forehead and scalp. Other people hold tension in the shoulders and neck. Some people may find themselves experiencing chronic backaches.

Yoga and Stress Related Aches and Pains

Essentially, yoga acts as a therapeutic antidote to stress; it provides physical, mental, and emotional relief to people experiencing chronic stress. Relief occurs during the actual yoga practice and the benefits continue to present beyond sessions when a person practices yoga consistently.

Yoga poses ease stress related aches and pains due to muscular tension. The yoga poses stretch, lengthen, strengthen, and relax tense muscles. The meditation and breathing exercises calm the mind and the nervous system. They also allow a person to reestablish mental focus and clarity during and following practice.

The breath work and poses practiced during yoga elicit the relaxation response in the body, which helps to decrease and regulate stress hormones.

It is also important to note that yoga has a profound effect on various aspects of one’s health, including the ability to lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, help regulate blood sugars in diabetes, and decrease anxiety, all of which are commonly seen with chronic stress.

How To Utilize Yoga To Manage Stress

If one intends to develop a yoga practice as part of a stress management plan, consistency is key to success. Yoga provides progressive therapy.

The poses reshape and improve the health and functionality of the muscles, the joints and organs over time; it is a form of training and as with any training, regular practice sets the stage for progress.

This also applies to the meditative and relaxation exercises associated with the practice. According to Dr. Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD, recent studies show as little as three months of weekly yoga practice, relieves stress related headaches, backaches, reduces stress, and lowers cortisol (stress hormone) secretions. It also lowers blood pressure and improves participant’s mood.

Practicing yoga has been shown to relieve the immediate symptoms of stress related aches, pains, mental distress, and negative emotional states. It also appears to effectively counter the fight or flight stress response by lowering cortisol levels and teaching the mind to observe (through meditation) rather than react to situations.

People experiencing chronic stress can benefit greatly from incorporating a yoga practice in their health regimen. You can begin with yoga by joining a class that is led by a qualified instructor. There are also instructional programs available on DVD. It is very important to learn proper techniques for poses and breath work to reap all the benefits yoga has to offer.

5 Ways to Increase Your Overall Health

As the old saying goes “When you have your health, you have everything” and it is so true. And improving your overall health is not that hard. Here are five easy-to-implement ways to better health:

Laugh More, Stress Less
Do Yoga
Work Up a Sweat
Know Your Healthy Numbers
Avoid Fad Diets

Laugh More, Stress Less

Laughing not only eases stress and lowers blood pressure, but it may also boost your immune system. So regardless of how you do it, bring more laughter into your life whether that is communing with friends or watching a comedy on TV. Giving into stress can be detrimental to your good health because it drives people to give into cravings like, smoking, drinking, or bingeing on unhealthy food.

Do Yoga

Many people overlook yoga and that is a big mistake. Yoga not only relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, slows heart rates, but it also increases flexibility. By working through a series of exercises called poses, you loosen up your muscles and make them more adaptable, lessening your risk of a sport injury. Yoga works muscles in ways no other exercise routines can. One yoga routine favored by many yoga followers is the sun salutation.5 Ways to Increase Your Overall Health

Work Up a Sweat

Working up a sweat just one hour per week will reduce your risk of heart attack, improve your mood and lower your blood pressure. Two to three times per week will reap even more benefits. Try interval training like walking on an elliptical trainer or treadmill for 10 minutes, then doing 15 pull-ups and 15 crunches. Repeat this cycle three times for a great half-hour workout. If you start getting bored with the pull-ups and crunches, swap them out for other exercises like dips, and push-ups. In no time, your muscles will start to become more efficient, you’ll start to lose weight, have more energy and enjoy other physical activities more.

Know Your Healthy Numbers

As part of your annual physical check-up (you are getting an annual check-up right?), your doctor will check certain readings like blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ideally, your readings should be around 115 over 75 for blood pressure, under 100 for LDL cholesterol, under 70 for resting heart rate, as well as a fasting blood sugar level of under 100. If your numbers aren’t close to these numbers, ask your doctor what you can do to change them for the better. Most likely s/he will recommend getting more exercise and eating healthier – something you should have been doing all along.

Avoid Fad Diets

Fad diets don’t work … period, so don’t put yourself through that torture, just to have the weight come back once you go off of the diet. Most of these diets are so extreme that you can’t stay on them for very long. Instead, learn to eat healthy, something you can live with for life. Start by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and good fats (olive oil, canola oil, and the poly and mono-unsaturated fats).

Improving your health doesn’t have to involve spending hours in a gym or eating like a bird. Use these five ways to start improving your overall health today.

A complete and balanced diet is probably the most sound advice, but some specific types of food are especially good for brain health. Here are a few of the best:


The original brain food contains

lots of omega-3 fatty acids and fish oils, especially cold water fish like salmon and cod.

Omega-3s are beneficial in a number of ways, including promoting neuronal growth, improved cholesterol, and fortification of myelin sheaths which facilitate communication between neurons.


This is a great source of antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment by diminishing oxidative stress.

Spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower are among the top candidates.


Like vegetables, fruits are rich in antioxidants. However, fruit tastes better. Some of your healthiest options are blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, avocados, oranges, red grapes, red bell peppers, cherries and kiwis.


Be sure to get enough to keep your body and brain hydrated. Dehydration can cause a headache now, and can lead to long-term neuronal damage sustained from elevated stress hormones.


Last (and arguably least beneficial) is cocoa beans, which contain the flavanol epicatechin and antioxidants. Dark chocolate is best, and avoid candy bars with lots of added sugars. Also, recent research suggests that chocolate can improve memory.

Just like you exercise your body, your brain also needs a workout to stay healthy and maintain peak performance.

Scientifically designed brain games are a great option because you can have fun and improve the health of your brain at the same time.

Thousands of people have started playing such scientific brain games and have reported increased memory, concentration and attention.