Quite possibly, it can.
But, falling just short of death should not be a happy alternative either.
(This is when I insert my sermon about what yoga is and isn’t.)
Yes, physical asanas (yoga postures) can help build strength, stamina, and help increase flexibility.
However, yoga isn’t just another form of aerobics.
Nor is it about achieving perfection in complex, twisty, circus-like poses. This isn’t gymnastics.
Instead, see yoga as a system that addresses the body holistically — body, mind and emotions.
Our bodies are equipped with a nervous system that prepares us, in short order,
to deal with immediate threats and dangers. This is known as the fight-or-flight response.
Cortisol, our body’s primary stress hormone, surges, increasing heart rate, boosting energy supplies, and enhancing our brain’s use of glucose.
It also suppresses on-essential functions in the body (digestion, reproduction, growth) during a fight-or-flight situation.
Modern life bombards us with stressors that overwhelm our nervous system.
This increased stress raises cortisol to chronically high levels,
keeping our natural alarm system on a state of alert — even after any “threat” has passed.
Consistently elevated levels of cortisol in the bloodstream can disrupt the body’s natural processes, leading to problems such as:
- Digestive Problems
- Sleep Problems
- Heart Disease
- Weight Gain
- Impaired Concentration
This is where yoga can help.
A consistent practice of deep breathing, meditation, and purposeful movement helps tone the nervous system, and regulate the emotions.