Our bodies are nothing short of miraculous machines. And, the answers to how yoga relieves stress are indeed remarkable.
By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’re going to feel great knowing that your yoga practice is doing something amazing for your body.
Or, you’ll be super pumped to start practicing right away!
Good news! Yoga is scientifically proven to relieve stress and anxiety in older adults.
That’s no surprise to me. Because as a woman over 60 who has practiced yoga for many years, I know for certain that yoga relieves stress and anxiety.
Plus, it calms your nerves and gives you peace of mind.
Additionally, a regular practice creates balance in the body which is essential for overall well-being.
Until now, I took all of that for granted. But, with so many resources available, I decided to find out why, and how yoga relieves stress and anxiety.
With that said, let’s get started. I’m going to break the science down into 3 simple explanations as to why yoga relieves stress and anxiety in older adults.
1. Yoga relieves stress by boosting GABA in your brain.
I don’t know about you, but acronyms drive me crazy.
However, the acronym GABA is a lot easier to say than pronouncing the scientific name it stands for Gamma-aminobutyric acid.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring amino acid. It’s a chemical messenger that is widely distributed in the brain.
Its function plays an important role in our nervous system and how our bodies respond to stress.
Some researchers believe that one of the purposes that GABA serves is to control the fear or anxiety experienced when neurons are overexcited. – source: The Brain From Top to Bottom
Considering that, current research suggests a link between anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders if GABA levels in the brain are lower than normal.
The interesting thing is that while practicing yoga, GABA in the brain increases. This natural chemical reaction helps reduce stress and anxiety.
To put it in plain terms, it’s nature’s way of helping you relax.
2. Yoga focuses on deep breathing. Breathing manages stress.
Practicing yoga is about the breath. It isn’t about cranking your body into poses as if you’re as flexible as Gumby.
Plus, breathing is free! And, oh, so beneficial for relieving stress.
Consider the following benefits of deep breathing for older adults.
- Decreases metabolism
- Relaxes your muscles as your heart beats slower
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Increases levels of nitric oxide (nitric oxide expands your blood vessels, increasing blood flow, and decreases plaque growth and blood clotting.)
Older adults can easily reap the benefits of yoga through this simple deep breathing exercise to relieve stress and anxiety.
First – sit in a simple crossed-leg position or a chair.
Second – inhale deeply for 6 counts.
Third – exhale for 6 counts.
Finally – do this for 1 minute and feel your tension melt away.
3. Yoga regulates the stress hormone Cortisol.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body.
However, it must be stable for your body to function optimally.
With that said, cortisol levels in the body should not be too high or too low because this could have undesirable effects on your health.
As you may already know, cortisol levels rise under stress. In turn, this could lead to high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression, and anxiety.
The good news is, however, that you can destress through deep breathing and yoga.
Consequently, cortisol levels return to prestress levels after a yoga session, leaving you feeling good.
Foods and Supplements.
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I personally prefer yoga as the natural way to increase GABA, but it can also be found in fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, and tempeh.
Additionally, GABA supplements are popular for reducing anxiety.
Rebel Retiree tried the supplements offered below. Frankly, his reviews are mixed. He noticed an improvement but is not sure if his reduced anxiety was because of the supplement or placebo effect.
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Yoga is a proven technique for relieving stress. By regulating hormones in the body, yoga calms and helps you achieve complete relaxation. It’s a well-known and powerful method for stress management.
People of all ages can benefit from yoga. You can start at any time. You will immediately notice results, even if you only commit to one session.
Deep breathing and yoga postures can easily be done at home and the health benefits are nothing short of exceptional.
Many older adults prefer natural health solutions over pill taking.
Therefore, yoga is an excellent way to handle everyday stress and anxiety the natural way.
This is my experience with yoga and my opinion on natural health. Please consider doing additional research.
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How do you manage stress? Have you tried yoga? Please leave a comment below.