The symptoms of prolonged exposure to stress are headache, nervousness, fear, anger, high blood pressure, weakening of the bones, general immune deficiency, muscle tension, menstrual disorders, miscarriage, depression, to name but a few. Most importantly when the bodies immune system deteriorates because of stress it may lead to other more serious medical condition such as asthma, ulcers, hypertension and heart failure, cancer. The list of stress related ailments goes on and on and to make it even more problematic our bodies tend to show signs of chronic stress in a very gradual manner making the onset of stress hard to detect in it’s early stages. Stress could show up in its early stages as some innocuous nervous mannerisms, such as foot tapping, nail-biting, pencil tapping, or other useless repetitive behaviors. Symptoms of stress may begin to appear so gradually that some people are unaware of the severity of their stress condition until they suffer a general nervous breakdown.
When messages of impending danger are continuously being broadcast from our psyche over long periods of time without secession, as in the case of prolonged worry or fear of some impending event, such as losing a job, getting a divorce, getting married and it’s responsibilities or being pressured by a bad relationship or any number of other problems that modern society creates. All of this leads to even greater levels stress particularily if we do not feel that we have the option to either confront or change the situation we find stressful.The key to controlling our stress is to either change the situation that is causing the stress or to change our perception of the situation itself. This is where Yoga can be of tremendous help, not only can yoga help to eliminate the symptoms of stress but it can help us change our attitudes towards that which is causing our stress.
Remember that the stress reaction is triggered by how we perceive our situation or our circumstances, this is central to solving to the problem of chronic stress. And our perception of reality is sifted through our world view which is the prism of ideas and beliefs through which we perceive and judge the world. Because the stress response is triggered by how we perceive reality which is the result of our world view, our world view thus determines to a large extent how we react to stressful circumstance.
This is where yoga comes in, yoga can have a profound effect on chronic stress because it involves not only helping rid the body of tension caused by stress but by changing our world view or how we perceive the world. Yoga offers us many techniques both physical and psychological by which we can release the physical tension and mental strain through the use of Hatha yoga postures and specific yogic stretches as well as the breathing exercises which can relief both physical and mental symptoms of stress. But most importantly yoga can cure chronic stress by teaching us to look inside ourselves and to deepen our awareness of how we think, what we think, and why we certain ideas or beliefs over others. This deeper self observation gives us the power and ability to change ours attitudes towards ourselves and life itself.