Escape the Stress Loop

Yoga student practicing Kneeling Vashistasana or a Side Plank Variation

Over the past few weeks, I find myself alternating between the states of calm confidence and barely restrained anxiety that usually comes after watching the news. Should I try to deal with each day as it comes? Should I plan ahead? Should I be cautious or hopeful? Fearful or optimistic? Not all of those states are mutually exclusive, yet sometimes it feels that way.

But regardless of which specific emotional state I experience, the physiological manifestations of the two ends of the spectrum are always the same. When I feel fearful and hopeless, my breathing becomes shallow, my heart rate increases and my upper back feels tight. When I feel hopeful and optimistic, my breathing is deep and relaxed, my ribcage expands without restriction and my heart rate is steady.

We know that what happens in the mind affects the body, and what happens in the body affects the mind. One manifestation of that is the famous stress loop.

Image depicting the stress loop pain image

You can get yourself out of the stress loop by changing your mental state or by changing how your body feels. The yoga practice below is meant to affect your physiological and mental state by releasing muscular contraction around your ribcage and increasing your breathing capacity. When you are able to breathe deeper and without restriction, you are more likely to have an optimistic and confident outlook on your life. Give it a try and let me know how it feels!

Try This Yoga Practice to Help You Escape the Stress Loop

Restore your confidence practice with image including yoga asana stick figures

Reprinted with permission from Sequence Wiz.

Educated as a school teacher, Olga Kabel has been teaching yoga for over 14 years. She completed multiple Yoga Teacher Training Programs but discovered the strongest connection to the Krishnamacharya/ T.K.V. Desikachar lineage. She had studied with Gary Kraftsow and American Viniyoga Institute (2004-2006) and received her Viniyoga Teacher diploma in July 2006, becoming an AVI-certified Yoga Therapist in April 2011. Olga is a founder and managing director of Sequence Wiz— a web-based yoga sequence builder that assists yoga teachers and yoga therapists in creating and organizing yoga practices. It also features simple, informational articles on how to sequence yoga practices for maximum effectiveness. Olga strongly believes in the healing power of this ancient discipline on every level: physical, psychological, and spiritual. She strives to make yoga practices accessible to students of any age, physical ability, and medical history, specializing in helping her students relieve muscle aches and pains, manage stress and anxiety, and develop mental focus.

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