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Anxiety and stress release through the practice of yoga

By Staff | Apr 23, 2020

Tenya Jayawuk demonstrates Vrksasana, the tree pose for grounding.

LAHAINA – Yoga is a physical and mental practice that can help to reduce stress and anxiety during these uncertain times. We tend to spend a lot of time in our minds and may not realize how much tension is stored in our bodies.

In our current environment, yoga studios and gyms are closed, leaving some people feeling anxious and isolated. Yoga online can help release some of these daily feelings of stress and anxiety.

A daily yoga practice can bring relief during these changing times. Yoga can create positive vibrations within and relieve stress through stretching, breathing and meditation.

The practice of yoga can clear your thoughts while allowing you to find your center. This can lead to a feeling of calm and serenity.

For many, yoga is essential for self care and wellness. Yoga helps to balance our nervous system, which is paramount during stressful times similar to what we are living today.

Our bodies may be in a state of panic and fear. Yoga will take us down from that place.

My colleague and mind/body expert Claudia Micco states that “when we are in stressful situations such as the Coronavirus or any life-threatening situation, our heart rate increases, our blood pressure increases and our digestive system becomes aggravated.”

Some elements of yoga that aid in reducing stress are the poses and the breath exercises. Deep breathing can calm you down. The idea is to breathe in positivity and lightness and exhale what doesn’t serve you.

In addition to breathwork and meditation, some stress release poses include:

Vrksasana – Tree pose for grounding;

Sivasana – For relaxing and winding down;

Trikonasana – Triangle pose to stimulate the muscles;

Balasana – Extended child pose to release the shoulders and hips;

Ustrasana – Camel pose to open the heart center.

Currently, I am helping students relieve their daily stress by offering twice daily, live streaming donation/community-based yoga sessions from my Ohana Yoga Shala in Makila, Lahaina.

One of my students, Alia, recently shared how the online sessions have supported her path to wellness during these times.

Alia has been suffering from stress and anxiety, and she has been self isolating since March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She believes my online yoga classes have helped her immensely.

Tenya: What has triggered your anxiety?

Alia: My mother’s health, as she lives alone, and my own health, as I’m a music teacher exposed to many people on a daily basis.

Tenya: How has yoga helped?

Alia: The breathing exercises and heart opening poses. I have been feeling so heavy in my heart, and my mind races with worried thoughts. These practices have really helped me let go of negative thought patterns, and I feel my chest relaxing all the heaviness away after yoga.

Tenya: How do you feel before and after class?

Alia: Before class I feel stressed. After class, I feel refreshed and more relaxed. My favorite pose is the Sivasana.

Tenya: Will you continue taking online classes?

Alia: Yes! I have been taking your online classes twice a day, once in the morning for Sunrise Yoga and once in the evening for Sunset Yoga. I usually go to yoga classes once in awhile. Your virtual classes are easier for me to commit to, and there is no judgement. I can focus on what I need in the comforts of my own home. Also, because the class is live, you can give verbal assists in real time – something a pre-recorded video cannot do.

I love that my online yoga classes are bringing my Maui community and my global ohana together one pose at a time. For me, it’s all about this connection.

I chose to go live online streaming so my students near and afar can still feel connected. Like Alia and many others, our world needs yoga now more than ever!

Jayawuk has been teaching yoga to our Lahaina community for over 11 years. She is a leading international yoga teacher and certified E-RYT Yoga Alliance Teacher Trainer.

With over 20 years experience under her belt, she is currently excited to offer online live streaming classes.

For more information, and to sign up for her live online, donation-based classes, visit her website at www.10yayoga.com.