Yoga for Stress Relief

Yoga for Stress Relief

Did you ever consider to use breathing exercises, yoga poses, and meditation to calm your body and mind?

Did you know that an estimated 80 to 90 percent of visits to the doctor are stress-related ?! And that only less than 3% of doctors talk to their patients about how to reduce stress ? Or that Yoga, meditation, and other mind-body practices train the body and mind to be able to cope with stress better and improve overall health and well-being ?

In a national survey, over 85% of people who did yoga reported that it helped them relieve stress. Exercise is a very useful way to relieve stress, but yoga is different from spinning class or weight-lifting in that it powerfully combines both physical fitness with an underlying philosophy of self-compassion and awareness. 

One of the main concepts in yoga is being non-judgmental toward both yourself and others, which is a powerful tool for stress relief since much of our stress comes from us being hard on ourselves or frustrated with others.

A fundamental principle of yoga is that your body and mind are one and connected.

Stress in one domain will affect the other and vice versa. Many of us live primarily in either our mind or our body, which creates imbalance and even a lack of awareness. For example, people with very analytical careers may spend a lot of time in their mind, and may not realize how much tension is stored in their body. Or if you’re an athlete, you may be keenly aware of your body, but could benefit from becoming more aware of your mental state. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, yoga you helps balance and tone the connection between your body and mind.

Yoga also trains your counter-stress response system called the parasympathetic nervous system. With regular yoga practice, your chronic daytime stress hormone levels drop and your heart rate variability increases, which is measure of your ability to tolerate stress. This has been shown to improve even after a few sessions of yoga.

How can you integrate yoga into your daily life to get rid of stress?

1. Use your breath.

  • Breath is key to connect with your body and turn down the dial of stress.
  • Start with learning Ujjayi breath (a.k.a. Ocean Breath) and use it in each pose. Take a deep slow breath through your nose and exhale through your nose while constricting the back of your throat in the “ha” shape, but keep your mouth closed. Your breath should be loud enough that someone next to you could hear it and should sound like the waves of the ocean or like Darth Vader from Star Wars.
  • Try a calming breath called Alternate Nostril Breathing.


2. Here are yoga poses for stress relief. Use your Ujjayi breath in each pose.


  • Tara Brach, a psychologist and meditation teacher, describes this acronym RAIN— a mindfulness tool to help you deal with stress and cope with difficult situations:
  • R – Recognize what is happening
  • A – Allow life to be just as it is
  • I – Investigate inner experience with kindness
  • N – Non-Identification—the realization or awareness that we are not defined or limited by our emotions or stories.5. Aim to be kind to yourself.


  • Kindness and positive emotions protect and cushion you from the burdens of stress and have been shown to improve physical health and depression.
  • It’s really easy to learn to be hard on ourselves, so unlearning that self-judgment can be difficult but worthwhile. Being self-compassionate doesn’t come naturally for most people, so it takes concerted practice and intention every day.
  • How can you begin to remember to be kind to yourself on a daily basis? It’s different for everyone. Maybe you can give yourself time to spend time with a close friend, let yourself spend extra time playing music that you usually don’t let yourself enjoy, or perhaps try a loving kindness meditation.


By extending kindness and love to ourselves first and foremost, we are able to expand our ability to accept, forgive, and love.

Positive emotion will naturally grow around you and reduce stress both yourself and the people around you.

So even if you’re not doing a pose on your yoga mat, by being kind to yourself regularly every day, you are doing yoga in one of its most powerful forms.




Yoga Breathing Techniques for Weight Loss

5 Yoga Breathing Techniques for Weight Loss

5 Yoga Breathing Techniques for Weight Loss
— Read on

Mental Strength

Mental Strength

Respiratory and psycho-physical exercises

Taken from applied psychology and predominantly from the interventions of clinical psychology and sports psychology, these are a bridge between tradition and modernity; there’re partly rediscovered and partly taken from modern adaptations of the self-knowledge, and psychosomatic self-control traditional techniques of human optimization from the Orient and the West.

Among the best known, are Yoga  techniques. Here we will recall the training of “bodily posts” (asana), that actually trains archetypes of humans possible attitudes to the circumstances of life. We have stretching, flexion, extension, lateralisation, torsion, balance and inversion with specific effects and meanings. In each posture, it is important to pay attention to all aspects, the postural and respiratory technical details in and also the specific mental awareness and evocation.

The breathing exercises of yoga, (pranayama – in translation, the control of the energy of the breath) are found in modern practice in the form of complete breathing and dissociated on segments, abdominal or diaphragmatic, medio-thoracal and superior or apical, each with psychophysiological specific effects. There are also exercises for respiratory purification, energy load and hyperventilation, as well as exercises to regulate the respiratory rate and to control the positive and negative apnea.

One of the exercises used by me with quick results on my client’s emotions, is a breathing exercise meant to reduce the feeling of “stomach butterflies “.

First,  I’m telling my client to take short breaths. Next, I’m telling him to placing his both hands on the stomach and regulate the breath, at that point, my client must be aware of how his body feels, how it rises and descends in the time of inspiration and exhale, inspiring on his nose and exhaling on his mouth. Now, that he is completely relaxed, it is a good idea to make the client remember his best personal performance, and encourage him to “stay” with that feeling for a couple of minutes. From this point on, we reexamine the positive feelings he experienced, and their effects on the physical plan (on his own body).

Constantly practicing the exercise, (first together and after a time alone, because he will be capable to do it himself), the capacity of control over negative thoughts and emotions, will increases and also performance.

Did you ever tried respiratory and psycho-physical exercises?


Yoga and Tennis Elbow

How Yoga Can Help Your Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow is a term for pain near the elbow that is caused by overuse of the lateral muscles of the forearm. This results in the tendons around this muscle to become overloaded, sending pain signals to the brain to decrease activities that fire up these muscles.

Clients experiencing this type of pain report that they are usually experiencing symptoms only on one side at a time, suggesting  that there is a movement or motion they are repeating predominantly with a favored side of their body.

As humans we naturally take the path of least resistance, so we will usually hold our toothbrush in the same way each day, eat with the same hand positions of our utensils, and hold our steer wheel while we drive in a way that feels familiar to us. Hand gripping and clenching movements are the ones that will intensify this pain, so holding a coffee cup all day, chopping and cooking often, and constantly using a computer mouse are going to be examples of repeated motions that will activate this injury.

There is nothing wrong with creating routine and structures for the processes we integrate into our lives, but in our culture of “go, go, go” and “more, better, faster” we don’t allow our bodies the rest and the counteractivity that it needs in order to recuperate and recover properly. One of the prescriptions for tennis elbow is rest and icing the affected area, but for someone like me, who thrives on activity – I went in search of another remedy.

Here are some stretches and exercises that will assist in strengthening surrounding areas and stretch out the tense and overused muscles.



Yoga and Tennis Elbow


First we have “eagle pose” or Garudasana. Cross your right arm over your left arm, hinge at your elbows to about 90 degrees and depending on your flexibility, try to get your left fingers or palm into your right palm. Activate your hands, fingers, wrists and forearms. Refrain from clenching or grabbing. Remain in the pose for 5-10 slow breaths. Repeat with the left arm crossed over the right. (For the full expression of the pose, with the left arm under the right, cross your left leg over your right, reaching your left toes to the calf of your right leg. Switch sides when you switch arms)



Yoga and Tennis Elbow



Wrist stretch: With the fingers of your right hand to the sky, back of the hand facing you, bend at the wrist and gently pull your fingers with your left hand toward your face. Hold for 5-10 slow breaths. Release and send your right fingers toward the floor, back of the hand facing away from you. Push the palm of the right hand, hinging at the wrist, toward you for 5-10 slow breaths. Release and repeat both exercises on the left hand.


Yoga and Tennis Elbow


Bound forward fold: I love this stretch for so many reasons and I do it multiple times a day. Stand with feet hip distance apart, interlace your hands behind your back. Hinge at the hips and send your chest forward, keeping your hands and wrists touching (not clenching!). Bend your knees as much as you need to for your abdomen to touch your thighs, and then start to send your hands up and over your head while you start to slowly let your knees straighten.

Let your head and neck hang relaxed, roll your shoulders toward and away from your neck. While maintaining the bind of your hands, keep reaching them toward the floor, without overextending at the elbow. Repeat with opposite thumb on top, 5-10 slow breaths each time, allowing the spine to reset and rest between stretches.