Yoga can help us relax both physically and mentally as we learn to release tension in our body and mind.
Don’t get me wrong, some tension can be good for you: if there’s a lion chasing you down the street, it’s a good idea that you get a move on and get out of its way!
However, I realise that we don’t often get lions chasing us for our lives, but we often do have to deal with situations that we find difficult, stressful, painful, unpleasant, etc (please substitute any word that works for you) in lots of different situations in our lives (for example, at home, at work or any particular area you’d like to consider).
And, while I’m talking tension, there are potentially lots of areas of tension, including physical tension in our body, mental and emotional tension, which can lead to stress, anxiety and all kinds of ill health.
Modern life is not conducive to relaxation. We rush everywhere. Our senses are often on high alert (remember that lion!) and we need to be able to release tension so we can relax and recharge our batteries.
If our nervous system is constantly in a heightened state, we are likely to be tense, anxious and unable to relax, stressed and possibly worse. This can affect how we deal with daily life, as well as compromising our ability to focus and think clearly, concentrate and make decisions, relate to other people and think about ourselves. If such tensions and stress are not released, health issues can follow. Unfortunately, we hear too often about the role of stress and illness in the Western world.
It is undeniably beneficial to cultivate the ability to be calm and relaxed and yoga provides us with ways to calm and relax the body and mind, which we can use and integrate into our daily lives.
© Sarah Swan (March 2016)