If you've had a stressful week, there's nothing better than laying out a yoga mat and stretching your troubles away, and in the midst of a global health crisis, we're more stressed than ever.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in new tab) has released guidelines for US citizens who are over-stressed as a result of the pandemic, including emergency hotlines and guidelines for taking care of your physical and mental health. The guidelines include stretching, taking deep breaths and meditation – all of which are covered by yoga.
YogaRoxLondon (opens in new tab)'s Roxanne took over our Instagram account last year, showcasing a 30-minute de-stress yoga flow exclusive to Fit&Well. We've got the video below, so you can follow along, take a deep breath and ease yourself into a restful weekend. All you need is 30 minutes, a bit of floor space and one of our best yoga mats.
Yoga workout for stress: Watch it here
Yoga workout for stress: Why it helps
Yoga has been proven in plenty of studies to have a beneficial therapeutic effect. Combining the physical and mental health benefits of movement and stretching with breathwork and mindfulness, it's a great way to soothe both mind and body. It can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and other mental health disorders in a similar fashion as meditation.
One study conducted by Iranian scientists (opens in new tab) found "depression, anxiety, and stress decreased significantly in women after 12 sessions of regular hatha yoga practice". Hatha yoga is the "all-rounder" yoga practice involving most of the positions you think of, breath work and some very light meditation.
A Harvard University (opens in new tab) health report found yoga can even reduce physical sensations of pain, especially in sufferers of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is often considered a stress-related disease, characterised by hypersensitivity to pain). More vigorous exercise, such as dynamic "vinyasa" yoga or cardiovascular sessions such as running or HIIT, are also fantastic for busting stress.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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