In today's era of globalization where there is a lot of competition, innovation and change, executives in all organizations cannot avoid tension, stress and anxiety in their day-to-day work. Only hardworking, disciplined, punctual and mentally alert executives can survive the work pressures and strike a balance between work life and personal life. They are exposed to stress and tension for long periods which may manifest in the form of many ailments like hypertension, high/low blood pressure, insomnia, depression, backaches, migraine, spondylitis, etc. This in turn results in overall decrease in the executive’s efficiency and productivity; consequently, there is a deterioration of human capital in the organization. Yoga is the answer for healing stress among working men and women. This all-in-one formula acts as a soothing agent for the burned-out Indian corporate and is fast growing on the popularity charts. It serves as reviver of mind, body and soul. The techniques of yoga comprise of physical postures (asanas), breath expansion and enhancement (pranayama), relaxation and meditation techniques (dhyaan), coupled with philosophy of simple and natural lifestyle management. It enhances energy of the person and develops a positive attitude. It has been attested by many as a complete all-in-one holistic formula for stress management.
When we are in a constant state of stress, our minds are tense, our bodies are tense and our sympathetic nervous system is heightened. Specific yoga poses can induce the relaxation response in the body. Calming and restorative poses along with controlled breathing activate the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing the mind and body to a calm and relaxed state.
Some Asanas that help in stress management:
It helps you improve your concentration levels by increasing your focus level.
This helps you to relax completely, like a child. In this pose, you curl up like a foetus.
People suffering from knee injuries are advised not to try this pose.
This pose is commonly used during meditation and helps to increase the self-awareness levels. The pose helps you to calm down and soothes your mind.
People suffering from knee injuries are advised not to try this pose.
This is one of the 12 phases of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). Along with energizing the body and offering relief from indigestion problems, the pose is known to relax your body. Thus, it is an ideal asana for obtaining relief from stress.
Repeat three to five times.
Relax yourself completely with this pose. If you do not have time for any other yoga asanas, you can practice this. It brings your breathing to normal levels, and thus, helps to soothe down stress levels.
This pose helps you do away with fatigue and fills your mind with an amazingly intense calmness.
With our busy life schedules, we often ignore our breathing. It tends to be fast and shallow. We use only a little of our lung power while inhaling and exhaling. This shallow breathing leads to less oxygen supply and the negative emotions get stuck inside the body. Due to the lack of prana (oxygenated breath) we suffer restlessness, stress, anxiety, etc. This leads to different complications like sleep disorders, fatigue, etc.
Pranayama encourages slow and rhythmic breathing practices that help us take sufficient amount of oxygen that re-energizes our body. In the process, we tend to let go of our negative emotions, thus, making ourselves free from negative emotions.
Yoga offers a number of breathing techniques for stress relief. These breathing techniques are called pranayama. Pranayama comprises of various ways of inhaling, exhaling and breath retention. This breath is inter-linked with consciousness, both at the cosmic and individual levels. Pranayama creates a synergy between the self-energizing life force and individual mind-body-spirit by scientific regulation of prana.
Perhaps the simplest form of pranayama is Anuloma-Viloma or Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing). Nadis are subtle nerve channels through which prana, ‘life-force’ flows. In addition, Dirga Pranayama, Ujjayi and Brahmari also help reduce stress.
Some Pranayamas that help in stress management :
To practice the Anuloma viloma pranayama just follow these simple steps:
Due to its overall benefit, this pranayama is considered as fundamental pranayama, so one has to do this regularly for maintaining good physical and mental health.
To practice Sheetali Pranayama just follow these simple steps:
This practice cools the body and affects the important brain centres associated with biological drives and temperature regulation. It cools and reduces mental and emotional excitation, and encourages the free flow of prana throughout the body. It induces muscular relaxation, mental tranquillity and may be used as a tranquillizer before sleep. It gives control over hunger and thirst, and generates a feeling of satisfaction.
To practice the Bhramari Pranayama just follow these simple steps:
Bhramari relieves stress and cerebral tension, so helps in alleviating anger, anxiety and insomnia, increasing the healing capacity of the body. It strengthens and improves the voice. Bhramari induces a meditative state by harmonizing the mind and directing the awareness inward. The vibration of the humming sound creates a soothing effect on the mind and nervous system
Meditation has proven extremely beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, improving concentration and creativity besides bringing relief from stress-induced ailments. In the modern age, various meditation techniques are increasingly being used for relaxation as well as therapeutic benefits. Among them are Mantra Japa, Vipassana, Transcendental Meditation made popular during the 1970s by Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Sudarshan Kriya of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and many more.
All these practised together are bound to give you tremendous results in combating stress at all levels, physical, mental and emotional.
Practicing postures with steady relaxed breathing can alleviate the physical effects of stress and accumulated tension as well. Some quick, but effective yoga exercises that can be practiced are neck movements and shoulder socket rotation which relax the neck and upper back. Several stretches including palm and feet, double angle, and triangle stretch can improve your circulation. Having good circulation is extremely important because our life fluids are blood and oxygen. By encouraging a good supply of both, it revitalizes the body and allows you to be more focused and concentrate clearly.
Other factors that also cause stress are suppressing emotions and worrying needlessly. Instead of suppressing your feelings, try to gain a better understanding of them, by meditating and focusing on your breath. It is also very crucial to understand that worrying about the future does not produce a favourable outcome and in fact detracts from your performance. Worrying causes shortness of breath, creating stress and tension which are both harmful to your mind as well as body. It is important to focus on the present moment, utilizing it to plan the future and to do what you can, to the best of your ability.
Stress and tension impact our entire being; our body, mind, and spirit. However, we can overcome the effects of stress and manage them by utilizing the beneficial breathing techniques and postures that yoga provides. These techniques can not only alleviate the problems we encounter daily, but can revitalize and nourish the mind, body, and spirit over a prolonged period of time, enabling all of us to have long and healthy lives.