Reducing the levels of stress hormones in your body may be as easy as the simplest yoga pose you can think of, and here are a few for you to try today.
Sources of stress are everywhere. Anything that causes you to feel negative emotions like frustration, annoyance, worry, anxiety, irritation, or resignation can cause an increase in stress hormones in your body. Once you have these stress hormones, no matter if you can keep your cool on the outside, your body is far from calm on the inside.
Hypercortisolemia is the medical term for chronic high levels of stress hormones in your body. Researchers in India say that Hypercortisolemia is well-known to be related to depression and yoga has been demonstrated earlier to reduce the parameters of stress, including cortisol levels.
There are two major stress hormones in the body, cortisol and adrenaline. Both of them are released in response to anything you perceive as stressful, from spilling your morning coffee to being surprised by a bear crossing your path on a hike. The part of your brain that perceives a possible threat, the hypothalamus, sends an alert to your adrenal gland, which starts sending out these stress hormones.
The mayoclinic.org says ‘Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.’
Once the stress hormones are released, you can’t put them back in your adrenal gland, so you need to find a healthy release for stress, like the easy exercise that yoga stretching provides.
It seems that not all exercise works the same to relieve stress hormones in your body. In a study of ways to relieve stress, researchers looked at yoga compared to African dance. They found that although people reported that both types of physical movement helped them feel less stress, the dance group actually had higher levels of cortisol than they did before the exercise. For the group who tried yoga, however, cortisol levels were reduced.
Many of our daily stresses can be best managed by recognizing how our body responds to the stressor in our environment. Do you feel stress in your neck, shoulders, lower back, or stomach? These yoga poses can help you relieve the tension in your muscles and ease digestive upset.
THESE SIMPLE YOGA POSES REDUCE STRESS HORMONES IN YOUR BODY
Remember to breathe through your nose as you do these yoga poses. Hold each pose for several breaths and allow your muscles to relax with each stretch. Do not do any of the poses that feel uncomfortable to your body.
1. BRIDGE POSE
Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms at your sides with the palms down. Lift your hips up so that your lower back is off the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Press your feet into the ground and breathe.
2. CAT POSE INTO COW POSE
On your hands and knees, arch your back upward as you let your head fall down. Pull your abdominal muscles in as you feel the stretch in your back.
Yoga may be almost as effective as a drug treatment to reduce cortisol levels. In a research study, participants were assigned to try yoga, a drug, or both. After 3 months of daily yoga practice, ‘More patients in the yoga groups had a drop in cortisol levels as compared to drug-only group.’
Researchers looking at yoga’s effects on mood say ‘The findings support that yoga may act at the level of the hypothalamus by its ‘anti-stress’ effects (reducing the cortisol), to bring about relief in depression.’
3. CORPSE POSE
One of the simplest yoga poses to reduce the stress hormones in your body is the corpse pose. Lie comfortably flat on your back with your legs straight out and your arms at your sides.
4. EAGLE POSE
Stand on one leg and cross your other leg over at the thigh and wrap the foot around the back of the calf of the leg you are standing on. Feel your balance point, use your arms to steady yourself if necessary. Your arms should cross each other at the elbows in front of your body and hands wrap around so that your fingers touch the palm of the opposite hand.
5. CHILD’S POSE
Kneel and rest your weight on your heels. Bend forward so that your forehead touches the floor. Reach your hands back to your feet with your palms face up. Let your shoulders relax forward.
6. EXTENDED PUPPY POSE
Kneel on the floor and walk your hands forward and let your chest come toward the floor. Rest your forehead on the floor, keep your hips vertically over your knees and let the palms of your hands rest on the floor with your arms stretched out in front of you.
7. STANDING FORWARD BEND POSE
From a standing position, bend forward, touching the floor. Then use your arms to hug your legs and press your head to your legs. This allows your lower back to release stress.
8. EXTENDED TRIANGLE POSE
Stand with feet about 4 feet apart. Arms straight out at your sides. Turn one foot out at a 90 degree angle and bend at the waist toward that foot. You r hand should rest at your ankle while the other hand points straight up to the ceiling. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.