Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How to manage your stress with Yoga?

For the last many months I have been dealing with very stressful situations in life. Stress has so many manifestations and effects on your mental, physical and emotional state. Irritability, sadness, depression, aches, pains, low self esteem, anger, defeat, over eating, weight gain or loss all are can be traced to stress. I have talked so much about managing physical in life with yoga therapy - but there is a silent 900 pound gorilla pain called STRESS.

We all deal with stress every day. How many of us really truly deal with it or manage it? With the plethora of drugs being bombarded at us for depression, it has become a fashion to be prescribed with an anti-depressant medicine. No one yet knows about all of the side effects of such medication. All I can say from experience is that it is no panacea for stress. Stress in my opinion is the root cause of many depression related and psychosomatic problems. I have been anti-depressant medication free since I started doing yoga two years ago. I am proud to say that today despite being under tremendous stress, I have not succumbed to anti-depressants again. As a matter of fact my physician is militant about me not going back on these medications. Yoga has saved me from medication hell. Combine it with some behavior changes and you have a new way to deal with stress.

Here some yoga poses and behavioral techniques that I use to deal with Stress:

1. Uttanasana
2. Salama Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
3. Salamba Sirsana (Head Stand)
4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
5. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)
6. Adho mukha Vriksanasana
7. Shavasana

The best sequence would be : 1, 5, 6, 4, 2, 3, 7

Most days when I feel really stressed or depressed I try some of these poses, maybe even one. Its an instant relief, but a continuous regular practice including one or two classes a week at a yoga studio like Sunset Yoga will help you manage stress and depression in the long term. I have also incorporated some behavior changes to deal with stress, most recent :

1. Drop your sail down: Acquiesce to the stressful situation or stress's in your life. Don't fight it - accept it.
2. Don't show up for war: Dont make your presence in situations that cause stress. Avoid them. If someone starts a fight - don't show up to the fight to react.

Such techniques require mental strength and courage, most of which I attribute to my continued practice of Iyengar yoga.


The Yogi

No comments: