Updated: Nov 14
When all is going well why worry about stress and stress management skills?
Recently, I've been going through one of the most stressful times in my life. I've had challenges before but this one was different. Luckily, through my training as a yoga teacher and stress counsellor I had acquired a range of techniques, tools and strategies, which helped me through that difficult time. Without that, I'm not sure how I would have coped. And that's my point. Just as you need to learn to write before you have to draw up an important letter, and learn to cook before you have to feed a family, learning stress management skills well before a crisis will see you more prepared and less overwhelmed in the face of fate.
It is of course possible to learn these skills while you are in the thick of things, but it will be so much more difficult and will take up energy you could use to improve your situation instead. Being familiar with the essentials of stress management, with yoga poses, breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques will give you a head start when it matters.
I wish stress management skills were being taught at school. They are such an essential life skill that could be taught, learnt, and applied at any age. Stress management skills might fall under the category "soft skills" but in reality they can be hard to put into practice and require a lot of strength at a time when we feel things are getting on top of us and we are not doing well.
What are stress management skills?
In summary, there are several elements to stress management:
An overarching stress management framework to provide guidance
Resources and a social network to provide support
Tools for reducing the physical symptoms of stress
Mindset strategies to overcome obstacles
A stress prevention plan
Why yoga is relevant for managing stress
Yoga is a comprehensive system, which provides you with most of these elements. Its framework of "eight limbs" for physical and mental health can be adapted particularly for stress management, and adjusted to fit in with modern-day recommendations and research. For example, asana practice can relieve tensions in the body, breathing techniques can ease feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, yoga nidra can help you sleep better, and the often overlooked yamas and niyamas provide a foundation for self-support, self-care, and self-development.
Here are your options
Before becoming a yoga teacher, I worked as a stress counsellor/coach for a decade, and before that in my younger years in the IT industry. With this background in business, coaching and yoga, my mission is to provide a practical approach to yoga, which helps you overcome stress and maintain your physical and mental health.
Let's get together and explore stress management skills that work for you - before things get out of control.
"Yoga is the cultivation of attention. What we attend to and the attitude with which we attend, greatly influence how we experience ourselves and our life.” (Bernie Clark)