Yoga for Stress Management By Robin Reisinger-Klinger

There are many different types of yoga, suited for anyone from those just starting out with exercise, to those who are well advanced in fitness! Read below to find out more about each form....

Hatha yoga is known as single poses that flow from one to another at a comfortable pace.

Iyengar yoga is well suited for beginnners of yoga, or those who have not exercised in a long time. This form uses props such as chairs or pillows to compensate for lack of flexibility.

Ashantaga yoga is the form preferred for athletes. It does not focus so much on meditation, but rather on developing strength. The poses in this form tend to be more difficult.

Kundalini Includes chanting, visualizations, and guided relaxation. This form focuses on healing the mind, body and emotions. Bet you feel relaxed just thinking about it!

Bikram, or “hot yoga”, is generally performed in a hot room, with temps ranging 90-105 degrees. Phew! This form focuses on warming and stretching muscles and ligaments.

Let me see you sweat!

Kripalu is more meditation oriented. Poses are held for just a short time, focusing on postural alignment and breathing.

Sivandanda yoga is a series of 12 poses. It i incorporates sun salutation, breathing, relaxation and mantra chanting.

So, what are the benefits of yoga you ask? Well, there are MANY!

The biggest benefit of yoga, is that your stress level drops dramatically. Yoga allows one to clear their mind, and work their body. Who doesn't want a decreased stress level?

Sadly this is the face of many people under increased stress at work. Maybe this person needs some yoga in their life!

Yoga tends to help reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol, that "nasty stress hormone", seems to normalize with the practice of yoga. Yoga brings balance to the body, which balances cortisol levels- and balances stress.

Do you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) or tachycardia (increased heart rate)? Yoga is for you! Yoga reduces cortisol, which tends to elevate your blood pressure and heart rate. So practicing yoga will lower those readings a great deal. Give your "ticker" a rest!

Yoga is known to increase one's strength and flexibility. Holding those poses requires a lot of strength, and flexibility!

Yoga proves to be beneficial in many who have been diagnosed with chronic health conditions. Do you suffer from chronic back pain? Yoga may improve the way you feel. According to The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, a study of 90 people with chronic back pain found that participants who practiced Iyengar yoga specifically, had significantly less pain after 6 months. Know anyone with diabetes, or do you suffer with diabetes? Yoga promotes lower blood pressure, and weight loss which slows the progression and reduces the symptoms of diabetes!

While we are on the subject of health improvement- let's talk yoga with pregnancy.

Yoga has been proven to reduce stress in pregnancy, improving mom's sense of well being and reducing depression and anxiety.

As we know, pregnancy comes with many mood changes for women. The question is, how do we control this? A study performed by Kusaka, Matsuzaki, Shiraishi and Haruna back in 2013 had verified the immediate effects of yoga on physiological stress responses during pregnancy. Stress responses were measured before and after yoga classes at two time points to assess how a single yoga session decreased stress at different phases of pregnancy. The women chosen for the study were measured at 27-32 weeks and the second was at 34-37 weeks. These lovely ladies had used a straw to collect saliva from under their tongue. The saliva was used to measure salivary cortisol reactivity to stress. Before and after yoga classes, saliva samples were collected. It was found at the end of the study that the mean salivary cortisol concentration declined a great deal after each yoga class. Interesting stuff!

I love what I am reading, how to I get involved?

There are many ways that you can get involved in a yoga class! The best way, is to find a class to join at a local gym or studio. It is best to talk with an instructor or class participant directly first, to see if yoga is truly right for you.

It is recommended to start with a beginner class, then work your way up. Working your way up the ladder, and learning every step of the way will make you an excellent yoga participant!

It is VERY important to prevent injury with yoga. If you have a health condition, talk with your physician first to see if they recommend starting yoga. Do not by any means, push yourself beyond your comfort level. If you cannot do a pose, ask your instructor to help you modify it. If you are not sure how to do a certain pose, ask for help!

Bring along a water bottle and drink plenty of water. This is mostly important in hot yoga.

Wear clothing that allows you to move freely.

Most importantly, listen to your body. If you feel pain or fatigue, stop and rest.

“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don't transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.” ~ Donna Farhi

Works Cited

Olpin, M., & Hesson, M. (2014). Yoga. In M. Olpin & M Hesson (eds.) Stress Management for Life. (pp. 346-348). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Yoga for health. MedlinePlus online. Retrieved from

Yoga: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved from

Kusaka, M., Matsuzaki, M., Skiraishi, M., & Haruna, M. (2016). Immediate stress reduction effects of yoga during pregnancy: One group pre-post test. Women and Birth: Journal of the Australian College of Midwives, 29(5), e82-e88. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2016.04.003


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