COLUMN: The importance of relaxation and how to relax

RELAXING and knowing how to relax are an important part of managing stress, worry, anxiety and depression.

For some people this can be walking, or running, or cycling or yoga. Whatever it is, taking structured time out to relax – and to process what is going on within us – is important.

The most important point to remember is that whatever we do that we make it a habit, and it only takes about 60 days for something to become a habit.

So, it only takes 60 days to change a bad habit into a good habit.

And, exercise is a great way to change our habits and also to manage our thoughts and our emotions.

And why yoga is so great is that it combines exercise with breathing practice and meditation and there are varieties and forms that suit people who are chair-based or more athletic.

Focusing on the breath calms us down and teaches us to breathe correctly.

Focusing on the breath while moving not only calms the mind but allows us to focus on something other than our thoughts, fears, worries and problems. It is the time when we can re-programme the brain/mind especially when it may be in the washing machine cycle of going around and around and not getting anywhere like the hamster on the wheel.

In a yoga class we also spend some time to meditate at the end. This is because the brain/mind has become calmer and more focused, and we can see the difference in how we feel after class from before.

So, yoga is structured relaxation. There is a science to what we do. Science has proven it lowers blood pressure by making our arteries more flexible, and, if we reduce stress in our lives that also has an impact on blood pressure.

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