7 Yoga Asans for Stress Management

Stress is a common problem for everyone these days. Stress is a big distraction in our life and it contributes a lot to generate diseases in our body, these may be high blood pressure, sugar, anxiety or any other disease.

Stress management is possible with yoga and meditation, but before jumping directly at solutions, let we know the sources of stress. 

Here are few well known common sources of arising stress.

Workplace Stress

If you sense that you’re working too hard, you’re not alone.

In the past 25 years, the average American workweek has increased from slightly over 40 hours per week to slightly over 50; and the amount of time we have left over for leisure has declined from over 26 hours per week to under 20.

People have to work much harder nowadays – a 25 percent increase in the workweek, and a corresponding 25 percent decrease in leisure time–to maintain the standard of living we expected 25 years ago.

As of Labor Day , Americans were working more hours than any European country, and equal to the Japanese (where suicide of “salarymen” from overwork is a common phenomenon).

Alan Greenspan and the Bureau of Labor Statistics don’t like to talk about it very much, but the vaunted growth in American productivity is illusory. We’re not more efficient, except at squeezing the employee. People are working longer hours, and usually not getting paid for it.

via GIPHY

Unemployment is so institutionalized by now that the workplace is full of fear. Employers have replaced as many salaried workers as they can with contract employees, or free-lancers, who earn no vacation and no benefits.
Despite the fact that people are afraid for their jobs, Americans have built up more indebtedness now than at any time in our history

 Family Stress

Besides our extended working hours and two and three-job families, we haven’t even mentioned divorce. That “Leave It to Beaver” family, where it? is the first and only marriage for both parents, dad is the sole breadwinner and mom stays home to care for the children, is now down to about five percent of the total population.

Family Stress
Family Stress

The divorce rate is currently about 49 percent.

It seems to have leveled off at that point after rising for the last twenty years, but shows no sign of declining. Of children today, about 45 percent will go through a parental divorce.

More than twice as many children of divorce compared to those from intact families will see a mental health professional during their lifetimes. And the effects of divorce on the divorcing parents aren’t that great either; though some tend to jump into divorce as impulsively as they jumped into marriage, they usually find that they’re poorer, more stressed, and guiltier after the divorce.

Despite these finding, divorce is increasingly accepted as normal. Mass culture plays a role here: In lab studies, both men and women who are bombarded with images of highly attractive members of the opposite sex report decreased commitment and love for their current partner.

But what do we get each day from television, movies, and magazines? It certainly isn’t a celebration of the way everyday people look.
Loss of nature

Financial Stress

Can you live without money?

And the answer is , No, no one can live without money in modern life and there is no limit of earning, even every human being is running behind money and wealth.

There may be not a single human being who have not a dream of a big car, own bunglow, self business, lavish life. These dreams comes true only with finance.

Stress due to Distance from the Nature


One of the most pervasive losses for mankind in the 21st century is our relationship with nature.

I don’t necessarily mean Nature, as in backpacking into the woods and living in a tent, though that is worthwhile.

I mean the real world intruding into our everyday lives. Until very recently in history, most of us went to bed when it was dark and got up when it was light.

Few people had clocks or watches, so time was told by the sun. We worked until we were tired, or until the job was done.

We lived in intimate contact with other species, either domesticated, hunted, or just observed as neighbors in the wild.

We were surrounded with reminders to be humble – that earth and the universe were much bigger than us, that birth and death were all around us, that hunger was always just around the corner.

Most of our day was spent making sure we had enough to eat – in fact, there is evidence that abundant food is itself a new form of stress, with grave effects on our minds and immune systems.

We had a lot of quiet time when we could let our minds shift into a contemplative state – watching the sun rise, waiting for the fish to bite, hauling water, and making bread.

How Bad Things Increase stress?


People with PTSD are in a chronic state of stress. The brain’s danger-sensing system, the amygdala, is stuck in the “on” position.

The hippocampus, which normally helps us tell the difference between real danger and safety, is damaged by excess stress hormones, and is unable to switch off the amygdala.

In fact, stress has opposite effects in the amygdala and hippocampus. Stress facilitates long-term potentiation in the amygdala; the neurons there sprout new branches, strengthening and generalizing the fear response.

But in the hippocampus, stress interferes with LTP, damaging neurons and making it more difficult to put memories of the stressful situation away into long-term memory.

Acute stress normally activates the stress hormone cortisol, which helps to turn off other somatic reactions caused by stress. But in PTSD, there is a chronically low level of cortisol and a chronic overproduction of norepinephrine; the combination of the two means a permanent state of high arousal.

Thus people with PTSD are hypervigilant and always anxious; they overreact to current stimuli in ways that may appear impulsive or antisocial.

Not aware that the stress is caused by old trauma, they are likely to blame current events and alienate those who care about them.

Not understanding their own behavior, they feel helpless and out of control. Not able to soothe themselves, they turn to substance abuse or other pathological self-soothing mechanisms like mutilation or bingeing and purging.

PTSD was probably much more common among our ancestors, who were exposed to physical danger all the time; but since no one lived long enough to suffer much in the way of long-term consequences, there was no evolutionary pressure to change the stress response.

Besides, being in a hypervigilant state when danger is all around you is a good thing. Being hypervigilant when you’re stuck in traffic or at home trying to play with the kids is a very

How Unrealistic standards Increase Stress?

The dissociative experiences that are so familiar with traumatic stress are partially a result of damage to the memory centers.

These include feelings of depersonalization (feeling detached from current experience, or “spacing out,” forgetting that one is in a particular situation and becoming absorbed in internal stimuli), derealization (feeling that current perceptions are somehow not quite real), amnesia (absence of memory of events that would normally be remembered), and problems with absorption (becoming so involved with a particular activity that time seems to stop or other activities are forgotten).

Although these symptoms sound dramatic, many people are not aware of them in the moment, or dismiss them as quirks with no real meaning – part of the defensive effort to avoid experience of the trauma.

Stress Management Plan

What is stress management? Stress management is to overcome over the upper mentioned stress sources and these sources are workplace stress, family stress, and distance with nature, unrealistic standards and increasing bad things in our life.

Through your practice of Stress Management Plan, you enhance both your abilities to concentrate and to relax—the two most important requirements for complete Stress Management.

Apart from these stress management solutions, Yoga nidra and Pranayama are playing a key role to releasing stress these days. Here are a few yoga poses that can help to reduce stress.

Stress Management with Meditation

This part is not so easy. I know every one is fan of meditation but when it comes the turn of practice this, very hard to concentrate for a second even.

But this is an old quote and we are reading it from the childhood that-:

“practice makes a man perfect”

If you want to learn more about how to start meditation and benefit of meditation?

The ability to develop interactions with what we seek to understand, meditation. Learn meditation properly and start doing it as soon as possible. Don’t be overwhelmed while learning multiple ways of meditation just choose one and start implementing it in your life.

How Do You Know If It’s Working?

At the beginning you might feel uncomfortable meditating—sitting for 20 minutes may cause your legs to fall asleep or cramp up, walking slowly may bring up feelings of impatience or agitation, and reclining poses may merely make you fall asleep.

meditation
meditation

Conversely, you may have some profound experiences the first few times you sit, only to spend the next few frustrating days trying to duplicate them.

Relax. Meditation shouldn’t cause you to feel unreasonably stressed or physically uncomfortable. If it does, reduce the length of your practice time or change your position (from walking to sitting; from sitting to standing).

If that doesn’t work, go back to incorporating a few minutes of meditation into your asana practice instead of holding onto a formal practice. After a few days, try returning to your normal meditation routine.

If you continue having trouble with your meditation practice, you may need to seek the guidance of an experienced teacher or the support of a group that meets regularly to meditate together.

Indications of your progress, with or without a teacher or group, are feelings of mental calm and physical comfort, and the ability to be present in all your experiences.

Stress Management with Ujjayi Breathing

Ujjayi breathing is victorious breathing. It is one more way of stress management. It is a very important aspect of Ashtanga Yoga. The rhythmic dance of Ujjayi breath and movement creates a moving meditation that lights your internal fire and aids the cleansing of your body. It calms the mind and helps you to focus on the present moment of your practice by bringing awareness to your breath.

You can accomplish Ujjayi breathing by placing your tongue on the soft palate, drawing a slow breath in through your nose and exhaling slowly through your nose. You should work towards your inhale and exhale being the same count in and out. This will create a hissing sound at the back of your throat. You may sound a little bit like Darth Vader!

Stress Management with Vinyasa Breathing

Vinyasa is the union of breath and movement is a way of stress management. It is the transition when you exit one asana and start another. This transition allows your body to clear the energy from the asana you are exiting and prepare for the asana you are going to start.

In the Ashtanga Primary series, transitioning between asanas with vinyasa begins after Paschimottasana D. A vinyasa traditionally occurs after every seated asana and after each side of an asana. Our transition indicated is after the asana. You may choose to practice vinyasa traditionally. We have also provided vinyasa options in the Ashtanga Reference yoga type. There are various options for vinyasa which can help you build strength. The options shown are: lolasana, utpluthih, and vinyasa. You may also choose to do a “sit it out” asana by sitting in any cross-legged position with your spine straight. 
 

Bandhas – Best ways of stress management

What Are Bandhas?


The bandhas are the internal energy locks. When we engage our bandhas we lock certain areas of our body in a specific way to prevent our energy from “leaking” (flowing outward or dissipating). This is a redirection of energy which activates healing energy centers within our body and mind. Bandhas help hold our core energy, which gives us strength and helps prevent injury.

  • Mula Bandha
  • Uddiyana Bandha
  • Jalandhara Bandha
  • Mahabandha

Stress Management with Mula Bandha


This is the root lock. It is located at the base of your spinal column in the perineal muscle. This is a deep muscle in the region between your anus and genitals. If you are familiar with the Keigal exercise recommended for women in preparation for childbirth, then you are familiar with contracting the perineal muscle. Another way to think about it is by imagining you have to stop the flow of urine mid-stream while going to the toilet. The contracting of the perineal muscle is subtle, you do not need to contract your buttocks, but rather focus on contracting only the perineal muscle. 

Mula Bandha is a key lock in stabilizing the pelvic region during your practice and helps in stress management.

Stress Management with Uddiyana Bandha

This lock is located in the area two inches below your navel to your diaphragm and it means flying upward. To engage Uddiyana Bandha, exhale fully and pull your belly inward and upward while lifting your diaphragm. During practice this intensity will not be maintainable, because to inhale fully, Uddiyana Bandha cannot be completely engaged. Imagine keeping the area between your navel and two inches below your navel still while drawing your navel upward towards your spine. This is a more subtle contraction than fully engaging Uddiyana Bandha. 

Perform fully engaging Uddiyana Bandha to get in touch with the muscles involved and working your diaphragm. Then, while you are practicing asanas, work at developing the more subtle engagement.

Stress Management with Jalandhara Bandha

This is the throat lock. To engage Jalandhara Bandha, lengthen the back of your neck as if the crown of your head were being pulled by a string and bring your chin back and down towards the space between where your two clavicle bones meet (this is the area just below your Adam’s apple). This lock is not engaged throughout the practice but is used on specific asanas as indicated. 

Stress Management with Mahabandha

When you have Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha engaged it is referred to as Mahabandha, the great lock.

 

Modifications

Asana Modifications

We have provided you with many variations for each asana. There are many more ways to adjust each asana based on your physical capacity. We recommend you work with your teacher to create the practice that suits you and to make a path for personal progress.