Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

Shift Stress into Low Gear

Expert insight about why yoga works.

By Andrea Ferretti

You might equate a stress-related health problem with a minor upset stomach or a tension headache. But physician and Yoga Journal medical editor Timothy McCall warns that stress may also fuel chronic illnesses, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. "If you are continually stressed, you leave the door open to a variety of health conditions," McCall says. Yoga is an effective stress reducer. Here are McCall's tips for using your practice for that purpose.

Focus on your breath. The ancient yoga masters taught that moving and breathing with awareness quiet the mind. When we stop ruminating and our inner monologue slows, we tend to experience relaxation and a feeling of being centered.

Practice restorative poses and forward bends. Both are thought to calm the nervous system. Use blankets, pillows, and bolsters to support you in the poses.

Be consistent. Long-term, regular practice will encourage a sense of inner peace that will last throughout your day. "This equanimity and mindfulness has countless positive effects, including an appreciation for the beauty around you in every moment," McCall says. "You may even realize that some of what you've been getting worked up about really isn't that important. And that may be the biggest stress reducer of all."

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments


Oooh yeees! It's like you blow out the stress and inhale the white healing light, wring stress out of your body, leaving it rejuvenated, then being thankful in your meditation following the asanas as the endorphins released flood your bloodstream making you feel light and happy..and grateful.


As a long-term sufferer of anxiety and depression, which runs like a black streak right through my family, I thought I was doomed to a vicious cycle of anti-depressants and psychotherapy. The drugs never did much for me and finally in my efforts to find a different approach I discovered yoga. I've now been medication free for about two years and not only that but my chronic stress is fading away, only to be seen when it's actually useful. All this from a regular practice of only once or twice a week. I am now a firm believer in the idea of emotions held in the body and strongly urge anyone with similar problems to give yoga a try. Everyone deals with things differently but if you find a teacher you respect and feel comfortablet with you might just find things changiing, little by little, day by day, until suddenly you realise you are moving forward once more, and all under your own steam. Namaste!

Add a Comment »

Your Name:


Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions