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In the times that we live in, the majority of us experience some level of stress in our daily lives. We may experience this stress because of the many challenges that we have to face with work, relationships, finance, our environment etc. It seems that life on this planet has become much more stressful for people now that what it was 50 or 60 years ago.

As some of you may know, I came to India over 5 months ago and I am still here. As part of this journey, I am currently completing a Yoga Teaching course. I am learning a lot about stress and how this can be reduced and even eliminated by applying the principles of yoga.

Many people buy into the illusion that it is their external situation which is creating the stress in their lives. It is the internal reality in how they choose to interpret the situation they are in, which is creating the stress for them. In the times that we live in, information, business and life has become a never ending race against time, technology and targets. This rat race creates tension in our lives and leads to dissatisfaction and frustration. Eventually this can manifest itself as psychological and physiological stress, leaving us mentally and emotionally drained.

Emotional and mental stresses can greatly upset our own physiological balance as a person. I know in my own life that I have experienced a few stressful situations and they have affected me on all levels – body, mind and spirit.

There are many health complications which can be as a result of stress such as;

* Diabetes
* Hyperacidity
* Migraine
* Arthritis
* Stomach Ulcers
* Allergies
* Thyrotoxicosis
* Auto-immune disorder
* Depression
* Anxiety
* Panic attacks
* Dermatitis

Unfortunately in the times we live in, many people turn to medication and sedatives from the pharmaceutical industry as a way to combat the stress. These tablets only sedate the pain centers and block sensations in our bodies. The stress and tension is not released and it will eventually lead to damaging of our health system.

From my own learnings here on this yoga course, stress according to yoga is an imbalance. In yoga philosophy, it says that all stress begins in the mind. At the mental and physical levels, it is regarded as excessive speed and so a stressful situation which causes pain, can lead to ailments and diseases.

In yoga, a holistic approach to the person is used. It is regarded that it is not enough to just work at the physical level alone to reduce stress. In yoga it is necessary to bring balance to all levels such as our mind, our life energy (prana) , our soul/spirit and our bliss layer.

Yoga can be very effective in reducing and minimizing stress. Many times the stress that we accumulate at the body level can result in stiffness in our joints and spasms of our muscles. These can be released by practicing yoga postures to calm the body down. Rhythmic breathing and breathing slowly can help us to bring a balance to our life energy. We can also gain mastery over our mental processes and eliminate imbalances in our mind by applying awareness and relaxation when doing yoga.

In my own experience of yoga in the last 2 weeks, I have experienced profound states of peace, tranquility, harmony and happiness. I would highly recommend yoga to anybody who wishes to reduce or eliminate stress in their lives.

As always I would love to hear any feedback, comments or words of wisdom you may have.


~ TW