Imagine walking through an entire day without experiencing that oh-too-familiar feeling of racing thoughts, a knot-filled stomach, and stiff shoulders. These are consequences of stress. Unfortunately, an achy body is not the only consequence of stress. Stress impacts the body profoundly; some effects are seen and some remain unseen. Physical manifestations of stress include tightness in the body, gastrointestinal symptoms, increased amounts of stress hormones, and even increased blood pressure. These are all tangible effects of stress. Other effects are less visible, such as an increased frequency or intensity of depressive symptoms, difficulty sleeping, and increased irritability. Andrew Napolitano has found ways to impact all of these symptoms, visible and invisible, with yoga and deep breathing. As the COVID-19 pandemic profoundly impacts communities and households, the ease of implementing yoga and deep breathing exercises is paramount to the consistency required for success and benefits of adding these to a daily routine.
Yoga and deep breathing exercises are often overlooked in their ability to make significant change. Usually, when the topic of yoga is presented, the audience that automatically comes to mind is someone far along in their health and fitness journey or spiritual journey. Napolitano shows audiences how to implement simple practices that yield significant results in ways that are relatable and realistic. Remember those physical and emotional manifestations of yoga mentioned earlier? Every single symptom can be positively impacted by yoga and deep breathing exercises. Scientific evidence demonstrates that yoga and deep breathing practices, when employed consistently, can reduce harmful effects of stress by encouraging the body’s natural inclination for healing to flourish. Yoga has demonstrated to be helpful for individuals seeking to improve their heart health, mental health, and quality of sleep. Luckily, that is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the science that supports the use of yoga for physical and emotional well-being. In fact, multiple scientific studies report dramatic changes to devastating injuries with the use of yoga. Additionally, one of the techniques used in yoga is deep breathing. Deep breathing can help regulate heart rate, improve circulation, and encourage overall lung health; which, considering world events, is a hot topic. Deep breathing is not simply for the benefit of the lungs, though. Deep breathing helps the body in self-regulation, including the regulation of emotions. Deep breathing for mental health is one of the cornerstone coping strategies in improving emotion regulation in the moment. Chronic stress may look like overeating, lack of sleep, or lack of attention to things that were once enjoyable; but it can also feel like not being able to fully draw a breath, or slow down racing thoughts.
The chronic and devastating effects of chronic stress are impacting physical and mental health. As such, physical and emotional manifestations make their way into daily routines, disrupting the flow of the body’s natural inclination for healing. Andrew Napolitano encourages people to fight the consequences of stress on the mind and body in simple daily routines by implementing yoga and deep breathing exercises.