A proven method to prevent and reduce stress is exercise. Studies show that the regular practice of yoga induces a higher release of the neurotransmitter GABA, short for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, in the brain. As a result, the excitability of nerve cells in the brain is reduced, and the muscles relax. At the same time, the excess production of the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline is scaled down. You already start to feel more balanced and relaxed. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of our nervous system that is responsible for recovery, relaxation and digestion. It acts as the antagonist to the sympathetic nervous system which is in charge of excitation and acceleration. People who suffer from chronic stress have an imbalance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Yoga can help by restoring the balance between the two.
Tip: Yoga exercises should certainly be integrated into your day-to-day life without causing additional stress. Try to find out what works best for you: You can either perform a few relaxing exercises 20-30 minutes before you go to bed or visit yoga-classes two to three times week, it’s up to you. As long as you regularly perform Yoga, your body and soul will definitely feel the benefits.
1. Standing forward bend
- While breathing out, gently bend both knees. Bend forward from the hip joint and keep your back straight
- Place your upper body on your thighs. While doing so, try to stretch your legs-Let your upper body, head and neck hang loose
- To come up, roll up your spine
2. Sitting twist
Stretches the spine, improves mobility, supports detoxification
- Sit down with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right leg and place your right foot on the outer side of your left knee.
- Press your left arm against the outer side of your right knee and straighten your back. Alternatively, you can put your left arm around your right knee.
- Keep your eyes forwards, towards your right hand or over your right shoulder. Twist towards your bent leg.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths and then change sides.
3. The Pigeon
Relieves pain in the lower back and relaxes
- Sit down on the floor with both legs extended. Then bend both legs so that the bottom of the foot touches the hip. Now slide your left leg behind you.
- Extend the back leg. The pelvis should be bent forwards and lie low. The right leg should be bent and lie flat on the floor.
- Lay your body on your right leg for a more intense stretch. Repeat the exercise with your right leg behind you.
4. The Cobra
Strengthens and relaxes the back, improves digestion, has a calming effect
- Lie down on your stomach
- Move your elbows as far back so that you can place your hands flat next to your torso above your chest and below your shoulders. Your fingers should be pointed forwards and your elbows as close to your upper body as possible. Slowly lift yourself a few centimetres off the floor and regularly breath in and out.
- Straighten your spine, lift your shoulders, chest, stomach and stretch your arms.
- Look forwards (or slightly above), stay in line with the spine
5. The Camel
Expands the chest, shoulders, heart and lungs, assists circulation
- Kneel down with your back straight, the back of your foot should face the floor. Keep your legs hip-width apart. The pelvis is straight and the upper body extended. Press the shoulders back so that the chest can expand. Your arms should hang loosely to your side.
- Tense your thighs and glutes. Place your hands on the back side of the pelvis. The fingers should point down and the elbows back.
- Now slowly lean back. Bend your spine backwards.
- When you inhale again, lower your hands and place them on your heels.
- Hold this pose for a few breaths and return.
6. Child’s pose
Calms, stretches and relaxes the spine.
- Kneel down in the middle of the yoga mat and sit on your heels. The big toes should touch each other and the knees should be hip-width apart.
- Bend your upper body forwards until your stomach lies on top of your thighs and your forehead touches the floor. The glutes should press against the heels.
- Place your hands, with the palms facing upwards, gently on the floor next to the upper body. Lower the shoulders by letting the shoulder blades glide apart