It seems as if the American workforce is more stressed than ever before. In fact, two-thirds of both men and women say that their work has a significant impact on their stress level. For many, this stress can take a physical, mental, and emotional toll: 25% of U.S. workers say that they have called in sick or taken a mental health day solely due to work-related stress.
While most of us know that becoming more physically active will have a positive effect on our bodies, exercise also leads to much happier moods and clearer mental states. But it’s even better when you can find a physical activity that addresses both body and mind simultaneously. For many people, the solution for high stress levels lies in the practice of yoga.
While this hybrid of meditation and exercise has been practiced for thousands of years, Californians have a particular knack for remixing the traditional yoga session. In Southern California alone, you’ll find some rather unique spins on yoga, like laughter yoga, paddleboard yoga, and Vino Vinyasa. Some California yoga studios are even integrating technology into their mindfulness exercises.
But no matter whether you opt for cutting-edge or traditional techniques, meditation is an integral part of yoga; it allows your system to relax and promotes focus and productive breathing.
Of course, on the surface level, the workout you’ll get from yoga will keep you physically fit. The practice can improve your flexibility, core and muscle strength, balance, and overall stamina. Your posture will be better, and studies have shown that your joint and bone health will likely improve, too. For most, blood flow and heart rate increases. These can help stave off certain conditions like heart disease, as well as strokes and heart attacks. Some yogis have found their practice to help with chronic pain or even fertility problems.
However, yoga is about so much more than fitness alone. Along with your physical strength, your mental strength will improve with continued practice. Yoga helps to cultivate mindfulness by making you aware of your thoughts and emotions, as well as physical sensations.
The physical and mental components of the practice work in tandem to allow participants to let go of their stress and reap the health benefits of that release of tension. Breathing techniques, releasing tension, and meditative components can translate to nearly any situation and can help people deal with anxiety more effectively.
If your stress levels are off the charts and you want to make good on your fitness resolutions, you can learn to relax and improve your fitness level by enrolling in yoga classes. Since yoga is so popular in the state of California, you’ll have countless options and class skill levels to choose from — so there’s bound to be a practice you’ll love.