lake city pt hayden physical therapy how does yoga relieve stress

How Does Yoga Reduce Stress

lake city pt hayden physical therapy how yoga reduces stressThere are many different forms of Yoga. The word Yoga means “to unite” or “to join”, some say that it can mean “connection” or “contact.” The most frequently talked about form of Yoga in western cultures is called Hatha Yoga. It concentrates on the health and purity of the body. Yoga originally was one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, however through the years many other religious groups included this tradition in their belief systems.

Hatha Yoga has the Yoga Sutras with posture and then breathing component mixed together. James Raub calls it a “psychophysical Yoga”. You can see then that Yoga can attain this mind body connection through a disciplined method towards a specific goal. In many religious traditions, Yoga was used to connect into a spirit-filled life force. Today the goal of Yoga is often to alleviate health problems, decrease stress and create a form of exercise that restores us.

Yoga Postures Names

There are many postures in Yoga. The postures are called asanas, and they are a steady, held pose. Many are named after things in nature such as the cobra, crane, eagle, locust, scorpion, tree, dog, lotus, etc. Some are named after shapes, such as a half moon, bridge, and triangle.

These postures are all done to accomplish specific goals for the body and mind. The “corpse” for example is done to relax the whole body, release muscle tension, calm the nervous system and helps decrease the symptoms of heart problems. (The corpse posture is exactly how it sounds, you lay flat on your back, with your palms up, and eyes closed. Your feet our hip width apart and you push your shoulders away from your ears. You relax your facial muscles, your throat; you swallow a couple of times with your tongue behind your first row of teeth. You then relax your pelvis, abdomen, and diaphragm and expand your ribs. You then let your spine relax into the floor and you lay still and motionless. As you do this all you concentrate on is your breathing patterns. You breathe in through your nose to the count of four and then out through your nose to the count of floor. You will consciously let all thoughts drain out of your body.) And I am telling you after a hard day at work this posture is one of my favorites.

Yoga Breathing

lake city pt hayden physical therapy how does yoga relieve stressBreathing in Yoga is called prana. It has lots of meanings. Some are: breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy and strength. The ability to control your breath leads to the ability to control your mind. The ability to control your breath also leads to the ability to refresh and rejuvenate all of the systems in your body. According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, “When the breath wanders (i.e. irregular) the mind is also unsteady. But when the breath is calmed, the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore one should learn to control the breath.” The breathing is the connection to the mind with the postures you are in.

This connection then allows your body to access this same peace of mind anytime throughout the day whether you are having a stressful day at the office, driving in dangerous traffic or having a “discussion” with your teenagers or boss. Remember, the more you practice these techniques the better you get at them and then they will become automatic. Do not be afraid to use your breathing techniques anywhere you go. They will help you have the tools to control your daily response to many stressful life situations. And yes it is as easy as breathing.

Should I Do Yoga?

So, is Yoga for you? Well it depends on your goals? Do you need a way to exercise, reduce stress and have a feeling of overall well being? Then Yoga might just be the thing for you.

I hope you enjoyed the article and if you have any questions comment them below so they can be answered 🙂

Next Article – How To Take Care Of Your Skin

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Oh, Spring is here at last and we are shedding our coats and layers of camouflage for short sleeves and the hope of warmer weather. Our skin is our body’s largest organ and so often it is overlooked when it’s been covered all winter. According to the American Academy of Dermatology “your skin shows how healthy you are on the inside”.

What Are The Layers Of The Skin

The Integumentary system is what the skin is called. The layers of our skin help to protect and regulate our body everyday. The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin. The epidermis it the most important layer to take care of daily.

When it becomes cracked, scaly, dry or broken it is an invitation for problems. In a healthy immune system, our body can ward off all these pesky little germs without a problem, but if our immune system is compromised at all, the skin tells all.

Lake City PT’s physiotherapists always assess the integumentary system every time we see you. We look for signs of change in your skin. We look at the texture, the temperature, the turgor, the color, and the moisture of the skin.

We check to ensure breast cancer scar lines are healing, that they are soft and supple without excessive thickening (keloids). We instruct in proper wound care to improve the rate of healing. We monitor the tissue to check its sensitivity after radiation, chemotherapy or use of certain medicines to keep the skin as healthy as possible.

We check to see that the skin is flexible and pliable and that scars and bruising do not produce restrictions so skin can’t move freely. If there is excessive swelling due to injury, such as an ankle sprain or twisted knee, the skin gets stretched and loses the natural tone and proprioception, which makes the joint feel unstable, so we utilize techniques such as edema reduction massage and kinesiotex taping and cold laser therapy to restore the skin and surrounding tissue.

How To Keep Skin Healthy

Remember, your skin has a natural acid mantle that destroys the germs that we come in contact with on a daily basis. It is when we don’t take care of our skin that it can become a problem.

It is that little hangnail or paper cut can cause all kinds of problems and pain, especially for immune compromised individuals. Our skin can be adversely affected by the excessive use of harsh soaps, chemicals, antibacterial wipes and gels, detergents, constant changes in temperatures, burns, and poor daily skin care.

What Is Good Skin Care

So what is good skin care? According to the Mayo Clinic, there are five very basic skin care tips. Protect yourself from excessive sun exposure, don’t smoke, treat your skin gently, eat a diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins (increase your Vitamin C intake), and learn to manage your stress.

Lake City PT’s Coeur d Alene physical therapists understand the need for healthy skin everyday. We teach healthy skin care techniques, such as the use of mild soaps, which are often cream based, natural cleaning products, and lotions that do not contain alcohol, or drying agents.

It is best after showering or washing your hands to put lotion on to keep the skins’ protective barrier lubricated, and then it is less susceptible to skin breakdown due to harsh weather, excessive temperature changes and other daily contacted irritants. When you are cleaning and doing the dishes, it is best to use hypoallergenic gloves that do not allow exposure of the skin to chemicals.

If you have a blister, we suggest you leave the outer layer alone, because the next layer of skin can heal the best, when it is covered by its own protective tissue instead of a Band-aid.We suggest that you keep your nails clipped and clean and use a finger brush under your nails if they are long because that is where bacteria and fungus like to linger.

We encourage you that if you do have a scar that you keep it clean and soft, not wet. If you already have a scab, you can merely keep it soft and supple to ensure the best healing, and never pull off a scab.

What Is Cold Laser Therapy

In physical therapy, we often use cold laser therapy to improve the healing and health of the skin after surgery, to increase healing times of scars and wounds and improve the soft tissue flexibility. If you have a scar, wound or any tissue that you think is inhibiting your normal ability to move, cold laser therapy is a great avenue to try to return your skin and surrounding tissue to normal.

Our skin should be radiant and glowing. When we think of it as an outward expression of what’s inside of us, we will begin to see what it is trying to tell us. Are we taking care of ourselves the way we should, on the inside and the outside? What is your skin telling all?