Today in Yoga classes I have been talking about the way in which the stratification of society along numerous lines including racial, religious, and socio-economic, and others, leads to friction due to the number of daily interactions with other individuals of differing views. Many of these interactions tend to be passive-aggressive or outright aggressive. These competitive or adversarial encounters, causes us to feel stress, anxiety, and fear.
These feelings, while cognitive in nature, manifest in our physical bodies. There are releases of adrenaline and cortisol that prepare the body for “Fight or Flight”. Many people spent too much time in this physically stressed state. This leads the body to dis – ease.
To counter the stressors of everyday life, many people turn to abuses of alcohol, drugs, food, and more to manage the pressure that stress brings. Others use distractions such as movies, television, social media, video games and the like to distract themselves from the stress and anxiety they are feeling. In the extreme, stress is causing people who are normally peaceful, to pick up guns and shoot other people. These are all dysfunctional ways of managing stress. The people who are involved in these shooting typically do not seem to have a history of mental illness. Social stressors push them “over the edge”. It appears that many of them feel bullied. They are either bullied in their school by a fellow student, at work by a fellow employee, by a large corporate entity, or by a lawyer at mediation. As there is increased stress in our society, I fear that we will see many more of these extreme actions in the future. Something has to change. More people have to learn to effectively and holistically reduce stress.
Yoga in the physical and meditative practices is one of the most effective ways to manage not only the physical manifestations of stress, but to work with the underlying mental images causing anxiety and stress. Many yoga practitioners are not aware of this stress reducing benefit of a regular yoga practice. They just have the experience of relaxation. It is this feeling of release and relaxation that brings them back to the practice consistently. Yoga as a stress reducing practice is very well documented in thousands of studies. Here is a link to one from the mayo clinic:
At Ignite Yoga, we believe that yoga is for everyone–For people of all ages and all walks of life.