Article by the Drummond Team

Dating back over 5000 years, yoga is considered by many to be the oldest defined practice of self-development. The methods of classical yoga include  physical postures, breathing control and meditation. Traditionally an Eastern practice, it’s now very popular in the West. In fact, many companies, especially in Britain, are seeing the benefit of yoga, recognising that relaxed workers are healthier and more creative, and are sponsoring yoga fitness programs.  Many studies have found that a little yoga in the morning, at night, or even on a lunch break, can minimise stress and increase productivity. It is believed that yoga is so effective for stress relief because, aside from the physical benefits that yoga brings, it encourages a good mood, an increase in mindfulness, and a healthy dose of self-compassion.

Overview of Yoga

Many of the popular techniques found to reduce stress derive from yoga:

  • controlled breathing
  • meditation
  • physical movement
  • mental imagery
  • stretching
Yoga, which derives its name from the word, “yoke”—to bring together—does just that, bringing together the mind, body and spirit. But whether you use yoga for spiritual transformation or for stress management and physical well-being, the benefits are numerous.

Effects on the Body 

The following is only a partial list of yoga’s benefits:

  • reduced stress
  • sound sleep
  • reduced cortisol levels
  • improvement of many medical conditions
  • allergy and asthma symptom relief
  • lower blood pressure
  • smoking cessation help
  • lower heart rate
  • spiritual growth
  • sense of well-being
  • reduced anxiety and muscle tension
  • increased strength and flexibility
  • slowed aging process

Yoga for Stress Reduction

As yoga combines several techniques used for stress reduction, it can be said to provide the combined benefits of breathing exercises, stretching exercises, fitness programs, meditation practice, and guided imagery, in one technique. However, for those with great physical limitations, simple breathing exercises, meditation or guided imagery might be a preferable option and provide similar benefits. Yoga also requires more effort and commitment than taking pills or herbs for stress reduction.

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