Yoga! Who knew?
About half way through March I discovered that April was National Stress Relief month. I was curious about how different people relieve stress, so I did what any good millennial would do; I took to Google and did a search. My search revealed that there were a lot of ways that people relieve stress, but one method appeared in almost every slideshow and how-to article: yoga. I knew that yoga may have come up one or two times, but I had no idea that it was such a popular method to reduce stress.
Yoga can hurt
I have never tried yoga and I have always been skeptical when people told me how great it was, but in the spirit of relieving stress I decided to give it a go. I called one of my friends who does yoga and asked if I could join in. She said yes and the two of us headed to the park on a cold and cloudy march afternoon. We laid down our mats and got started. We started with sun salutation, which from my understanding was a pretty basic set of poses used to strengthen the body’s muscles. I should stop here and explain that I thought yoga was nothing more than stretching, like you would do before exercise. I was wrong. It was painful, much more challenging than I was expecting.
After sun salutation we continued with the basic ‘touch the floor with your hands’ I was able to get my fingers to touch the ground, a victory for me. We then moved into more technical moves like warrior one and warrior two. My friend made me attempt warrior three but I ended up on the ground so many times that we scrapped the idea.
More yoga makes better headstands
My friend had me bending and twisting my body in ways that I didn’t think were possible. Watching my super-flexible friend bend and twist effortlessly baffled me. I kept thinking, “How does she do that?” Spoiler alert: the answer is more yoga.
Then out of nowhere she says, “Lets do headstands!” I sat there speechless for a few seconds; I never even mastered the handstand I didn’t think I’d be able to do a headstand. She coached me on the proper headstand techniques and I began to practice. The next ten attempts were a mix of me either falling back onto my feet or falling forward and flailing onto the ground. Eventually I got the balance correct and I did it! I was standing on my head! (If only for a few seconds).
But did it work?
After about an hour we were finished and I was shocked, my body was really tired, really tired. I went home and thought about the reason I asked to do it in the first place: “Did that really make me feel less stressed?” To my surprise, I actually felt a lot better after yoga than I did beforehand. My body felt rejuvenated. I learned that the combination of deep breathing and stretching does help relieve some stress.
So if you are feeling tense or stressing about your mountain of things to do, I suggest that you look into yoga for help. You might find that you feel a lot better afterward.
Written by Eric Murphy