How does yoga help with stress?

You might have heard yoga is great for managing stress. Maybe you're like "how does that work?", "how does a few shapes on a mat make a difference?"

Well... it's to do with how yoga interacts with our brains! It's science! Yoga is about WAY more than flexibility.

What happens in the brain

  • Stress begins in the brain in Amygdala where stressor (traffic, tight deadline etc) is interpreted

  • Distress signal sent to Hypothalamus

  • Hypothalamus communicates with Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). 2 branches:

  • Sympathetic Nervous System - fight or flight mode to respond to stressor. Racing heart, sweaty palms, anxiety and all those icky nervous symptoms are caused by this system.

  • Parasympathetic Nervous System - Calms the body down.


What does that have to do with yoga?

  • Yoga asana (pose practice) interacts with both parts of the ANS.

  • In active classes (hatha, flow - like my Yoga 101/Flowing Yoga 101 classes or any of the classes on my Pride Pack membership) we often put the body in poses that stimulate the sympathetic nervous system whilst using breath techniques to activate the parasympathetic nervous system

  • This trains our nervous system to respond to stress more efficiently. Day to day we are more able to manage our stress responses!

  • In relaxing & stretchy Yin/restorative classes (Stretch & Rest, Friday Night Unwind Pride Pack Yin classes), we focus on the parasympathetic nervous system.

  • This stimulation reduces the levels of Cortisol (stress hormone) in the body.

  • Helps manage on going stress levels and improve practitioner's feelings around their stress too.

Cool, eh?


Does this sound good to you?

Drop me a message and I'd love to help you figure out if yoga is for you!