It's midterm week. My eyes feel like they are going to fall out of their sockets from the time spent studying under the florescent lights of the library. I'm stressed out and upset, and as my friend Chelsea would say, I've got "brain bats". So today as I sat on my couch on the verge of tears, I picked myself up, rolled out my yoga mat and did about twenty minutes worth of poses. Slow, calming poses.
I can't even tell you the difference I felt. My bones sounded like the maracas of a mariachi band (which I'm going to take as some releasing of built-up tension). I smiled a big toothy smile when I was done, feeling purged of all the negativity I felt earlier today. The best part? The time went by so quickly, and after only twenty minutes I feel ready to start a whole new chapter of my day.
It really is no surprise. According to Harvard Health Publications, "Yoga appears to blunt the harmful effects of heightened stress by influencing the body's response to stress. This is reflected in slower heart and breathing rates and lower blood pressure, all of which are good for the body. There is also evidence that yoga helps increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s flexibility in responding to stress." (source)
So if you find yourself swamped with work, depressed, anxious or just plain sad, try out a few basic yoga poses. Your body will feel better, and hopefully it will help keep the "brain bats" at bay.