Movement-Based Relaxation Techniques- Yoga, Tai Chi & Walking Outdoors

توضیح مختصر: Do you want to reduce stress and improve overall well being? Learn how to apply movement based methods of yoga, tai chi, and walking outdoors to your life to induce relaxation.

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Stress Management

Think about how your body feels when you are stressed. You may feel anxious and jittery. You may feel nervous and rushed. Stress may even cause physical symptoms, such as increased perspiration, sleeplessness, and digestion issues!

What do you do to handle stressful situations? Do you take a deep breath and count to ten? Do you pace? These small things seem to help, don’t they? These simple acts may help calm people down; however, sometimes people need to do a bit more to relieve stress. There are standard treatments, such as counseling and medication, for stress reduction, and there are natural or alternative treatments, such as yoga, tai chi and walking outdoors.

Yoga

The word yoga means spiritual discipline. Yoga combines controlled and purposeful physical movement with breathing to increase health and wellness. This practice is estimated to be between 5,000 and 10,000 years old and focuses on breathing, flexibility, meditation and balance.

Yoga movements are referred to as poses. Yoga poses, sometimes referred to as asanas , are much more than simple mindless stretches. They seek to connect the individual with a deeper level of conscious awareness of his/her body. The ultimate goal is a deepening of the connection between mind and body.

There are specific poses in the practice of yoga that are designed to reduce stress, such as child’s pose, downward dog and corpse pose. Child’s pose is a sitting pose where the body is folded in a kneeling position. Downward dog is a standing pose where hands reach forward and rest on the ground while the legs push their weight into the ground. Corpse pose requires laying on one’s back in a peaceful state and relaxed position.

Recent research indicates that yoga enhances the parts of the human brain that are responsible for feelings of calmness and relaxation. There are countless types of yoga; however, some commonly practiced types for stress relief include Hatha and Ashtanga. Hatha yoga focuses on controlled breathing and smooth, slow-paced movements. Ashtanga yoga is more physically intense yet has the goal of increasing mind-body awareness, thus leading to a reduction in stress.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese practice using slow muscle movement and breathing to elicit balance and harmony with nature. Tai chi is often referred to as meditation in motion and is a form of martial art. This no impact practice decreases stress, increases strength and improves balance.

The practice of tai chi is based on the ancient principles of yin, yang and qi. Yin and yang , the body’s internal forces, are said to be balanced during the practice of tai chi. This balance leads to an increase in energy, or qi. Tai chi has specific moves that relieve stress, including neck rolling and arm and ankle circles. Another popular tai chi movement for stress reduction includes embrace tiger and return to mountain. This exercise metaphorically represents facing and conquering one’s fears.

Walking Outdoors

The benefits of walking for exercise are numerous. Walking is a simple and safe practice that nearly everyone can engage in. It does not require special equipment, facilities or an instructor. Walking can be done at a self-paced rate that is comfortable for the individual and can be done in a group or alone. Studies show that walking outdoors decreases stress levels and overall rates of depression. Additional studies indicate that walking increases life span and reduces risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Currently, there is a push toward 10,000 steps per day for maximum health, but research indicates that the benefits of walking can be achieved in roughly 2.5 hours per week and can even be broken up into small increments, such as 10-minute intervals throughout the day. This simple practice combines physical activity with the benefits of nature to reduce stress and increase mood.

Lesson Summary

Stress is a common problem in the lives of many people. It can lead to mental and physical problems if not appropriately dealt with. Some very effective and simple methods for handling stress include yoga , tai chi , and walking outdoors. Yoga increases feelings of relaxation with specific physical poses. Tai chi helps create feelings of calm with guided movements. Walking outdoors decreases stress with the combination of physical movement and a connection to nature.