Yoga, Your Brain, and Stress

The research keeps pouring in about yoga and why it has such profound benefits on your health. Here are the cliff notes about yoga, your brain, and stress.

You have two parts of your brain that deal with stress. There is the emotional part and the cognitive part. The emotional brain triggers stress and turns on the fight or flight response. But the cognitive brain has the capacity to turn off the stress switch.

When you hold a yoga posture you are busy concentrating and trying to balance. This turns on the cognitive brain and switches off the stress response. Some postures naturally activate the cognitive brain and turn on relaxation. While other postures actually turn on the stress response, you know the one’s that are difficult and leave you feeling anxious.

Because you are focused on practice the difficult postures simply provide a challenge for your cognitive brain to work extra hard to overcome the stress signal. Like a muscle the cognitive brain gets stronger over time and it gets better at turning off stress. Remember the poses that were once a challenge but you can find more ease in now?

You can see from this short explanation that a yoga practice is not just a workout for your body but also for your brain. Over time you actually rewire your brain! This new circuitry helps you to channel the feelings you want and not dwell in feelings of stress and anxiety. Pretty cool, huh?

Take 3-minutes to “Turn Stress to Rest” with this video. And please watch for my new offerings to help you step up your self-care.

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