Not necessarily. We all need a certain amount of stress in our lives in order to function effectively. The important thing is balance, which is the keystone of yoga.
Think about stress from a physical perspective. Stress was originally a mechanical term. It refers to the measurement of the internal forces acting within a physical body or object. Let’s consider gravity to be that force. Gravity is what makes our bones and muscles strong. Astronauts in zero-gravity conditions experience bone deterioration, muscle atrophy, and decrease production of red blood cells. In short, we need stress to be physically healthy.
There is the more popular meaning of stress. This can be physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral. The definition in this case is the failure of the physical body to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats to the organism, whether actual or imagined. Let’s now consider external challenges to be that force. We are in a constant state of adaptation in relation to external challenges. Our ability to adapt and grow is what makes us resilient. Learning to maintain a condition of balance within our internal environment while faced with external challenges is what life is all about.
The great news is that yoga addresses how to find and maintain this balance. Yoga is a complete healthcare system that teaches us how to adapt to and incorporate stress as a means to remain strong and flexible on all levels.
Stress can actually be your best ally. Want to learn how? Register now for the stress management series that begins on November 4th at East Side Yoga.
~Erika Marcoux, MA, RPP, RYT
Wellness Counselor and Yoga Instructor