Cortisol and Yoga Practice for Stress Management
Stress, for long time, has been proven to hike up the cortisol level in our body; Which as a return, has a negative effect on the immune response system. To further explain this influence, Dr. Esther Sternbeg has pointed out that “the immune cells are being bathed in molecules telling them to stop fighting when there is site of danger” under stress condition. This little voice tells the defense function to stop working is so called “Cortisol”.
Under extreme case such as high level of stress or prolong depression, the body immune system gets weaker, more vulnerable to illnesses and diseases, slower down cardiovascular health.
How Yoga can help to reduce stress?
Voluntary breathing can help to reduce hormone response to stress. With deep breathing, you can minimize and release excessive amount of cortisol in your body. When breathing slowly and deeply, the vagus nerve is stimulated; which directly sends a signal to stabilize the heart rate, blood pressure.
In addition, with conscious breathing, abdominal muscles and diaphragm are expanded to allow more oxygen to fill up lower lungs. When there is more oxygen in the lungs, the muscles are relaxing, the heart does not need to accelerate to supply muscles tension. Not only helping the body to cope with stress, breathing can help to calm the emotional chaos stage of the mind.
Yoga has been more popular recently for the range of breathing techniques it offers. Pranayama techniques create a control stage of body in inhaling and exhaling, increase total focus and harmonization of mind, body and soul. Two well-known techniques are Nadi Shodhana and Ujjayi, through which, the expansion of life is enforced.
Stress and tension has a negative effect on our body, mind, and spirit. With certain therapies and techniques, we can overcome and reduce the effects of stress. Many benefits of practicing “pranayama” have not only solved the problems but also to improve the quality of being – bring nourishment to a healthier body and mind.
Kelin Doan Vu Bich Chau, 200hr YTT, Weekends.