Yoga practice combines a variety of stress-reducing techniques such as deep, controlled breathing, meditation, and postures. There is a reason we say “relax and take a deep breath”. Deep breathing supplies your body with more oxygen which induces a relaxation response. When breathing is irregular and shallow, the lungs don’t get enough oxygen which can make you feel anxious and panicky. Deep breathing exercises also help reduce your body’s levels of cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone.
Like most exercise, yoga postures help lower cortisol and adrenaline levels and pump up the production of dopamine and endorphins, which are known as the feel-good hormones. Responsible for the post-exercise high, endorphins trigger feelings of optimism and joy while reducing stress levels.
Meditation or focused concentration aids deep breathing and exercise in countering the effect of “fight or flight”. By eliminating jumbled thoughts that might be polluting your brain, meditation produces a reduction in arousal and relaxation response. It gives greater clarity of mind and a sense of peace and calm.