Essay on Relaxation and Stress Management Techniques

2334 Words Apr 3rd, 2014 10 Pages
Relaxation Strategies:
Benefits of Yoga and Meditation in Relation to Stress
Katherine I. Sharp
Nova Southeastern University

Relaxation Strategies Stress is a condition in response to a physical threat or psychological distress that triggers the body’s adaptive stress response which involves the physiological arousal of various body systems that may suffer from negative consequences depending on the duration and course of the stress reaction. The result of such a response to stress is physiological support for the body’s fight-or-flight response that includes an increase in heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and serum cholesterol (Greenberg, 2013). As a part of the adaptive response to stress,
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Yoga is viewed as a holistic stress management mechanism that produces a physiological reaction in the body reducing the stress response (Woodyard, 2011). There are four basic principles that underlie the teachings and practices of yoga’s healing system: the first is the human body is a holistic entity comprised of interrelated dimensions and the health or illness of any one dimension affects the other dimensions, the second is all individuals are unique and therefore each individual practice must be tailored to individual needs, the third is yoga is self-empowering and each individual is his own healer, and the fourth is that the state of an individuals mind is critical to healing (Woodyard, 2011). Positive mind-states result in faster healing whereas healing may be prolonged with negative mind-states. It is believed that certain yoga practices may improve physical and mental health through down-regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and sympathetic nervous system (SNS), both of which are triggered in response to a stressor leading to detrimental physical and psychological effects as a result of cortisol and other stress-related hormones. In 2010, Ross and Thomas compared the health benefits of yoga and exercise. Ross and Thomas compared the effects of yoga and exercise in both healthy and

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