With the emphasis in today’s Big Society on self-responsibility and self-reliance, what can individuals and employers do to prevent chronic stress from disrupting lives and businesses?
Yoga is rapidly gaining mainstream acceptance amongst the medical profession, who increasingly recommend Yoga sessions for their patients. Authorities such as the prestigious Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, suggest: “Chronic stress can lead to a variety of health and emotional problems. Yoga can be an effective method to reduce stress and anxiety.”
Research has shown that individuals who practice Yoga are better able to control their anxiety levels and reduce the overall effects of stress and tension on their physical and mental health.
Michelle Cross, Director of Yoga Relax (http://www.yogarelax.co.uk) knows how Yoga can help to strengthen the mind and body against the harmful damage stress causes. “To the un-initiated, Yoga might seem to be about getting your legs behind your ears and light-years away from helping people cope with their mounting stress. But thankfully, it’s a view that’s becoming out-dated as more people learn about Yoga and find it’s a very accessible and effective form of stress relief”.
Originating from Ancient Indian philosophy, Yoga works, as with modern cognitive behavioural therapy on managing negative thought patterns, as well as concentrating on improving posture, breathing, and muscle tone. Learning to control one’s mind, leading it away from repetitive, negative thoughts is an important part of the process. Working on techniques to create a sense of utter relaxation and calm reinforces this mental progression.
“It needs to be a structured process: we’ve got to unlearn the way we breathe, the way we hold ourselves, and the way we let our thoughts dominate our consciousness and actions. But once we’re back on the path, the results are incredible!”
Michelle speaks from personal experience; a health & fitness professional for almost 20 years, for her, Yoga changed her life for the better. “After starting to practice and teach Yoga, I’ve found myself better able to deal with what life throws at me, and I’ve learnt so much more about myself and my place in my world and how I am able to make an impact.”
“And it’s not just me. I know it works because my clients frequently to tell me so. Many of them work within the highly pressurised world of media & communications which is notorious for its long hours and high demands. Learning techniques such as Yoga Nidra, and correct breathing has allowed them to truly relax and feel more capable. Regular Yoga practise keep them in great shape as Yoga stretches and tones their bodies, whilst stretching their minds too.”
There are numerous forms of Yoga including the fashionable Ashtanga Yoga as practiced by Madonna and other Hollywood celebrities. Unlike the controversy surrounding homeopathy and NHS funding, Yoga seems to be on surer ground. In 2005, the Yoga-related market was worth over $3 billion in the USA alone .
“There are different ways to practise Yoga and meditation,”
“Each experience will help to teach a person how to breath deeply, re-align their tense muscles, and to develop positive thought patterns. Of course, time with a trained instructor will give you the best support and encouragement you can have. Personally, I get such pleasure knowing I’ve helped my clients on their journey to good health and relaxation.”
Now, as the NHS is facing a period of intense re-structuring, this is the ideal time to re-examine the ways businesses & individuals can take charge of their medical destiny. Enlightened businesses have already chosen to provide access to Yoga for their staff, as part of a drive to reduce sick days.
Millions of people world-wide rely on Yoga for their good health. While it can be demanding physically, the rewards of keeping mental and physically fit make Yoga especially popular with US business professionals.
Under the Big Society, would more firms be willing to sponsor staff to attend Yoga breaks, workshops or classes as part of their health care package, seeing their return on investment through the improved health and well-being within the work-force? “I’ve found employers very receptive to the advantages Yoga brings to their business”, Michelle concludes, “a mentally stronger and happier workforce, capable of taking stress in their stride. What’s not to like?”
Michelle will be holding her next Yoga Retreat Weekend on 5th-7th November 2010 at Tilton House, East Sussex UK. Price £275 (before 31.08.10 then £295 thereafter) which includes food, accommodation and all Yoga teaching (suitable for all levels). Visit http://www.yogarelax.co.uk/
Michelle teaches Flowing Hatha Yoga which focuses on the breath and alignment helping to improve posture, strengthen body and mind, and inducing deep relaxation.
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With nearly 20 years’ experience in the health, wellness & fitness industries, Michelle Cross of Yoga Relax (http://www.yogarelax.co.uk)
Aiming to create inner harmony & balance, uplifting energy & spirit, and rebalancing the whole body to achieve radiant health on all levels, she enjoys promoting a sense of well-being, empowering people to change their life for the better.
MIchelle trained with the International Sivananda Yoga Vendanta Centre. Certified by the Yoga Alliance, she is also qualifed to practice various Complementary Therapies including Reiki & holistic massage.
She prefers a gentle but down-to-earth approach, drawing from extensive experience working with the body & energy. “It's a pleasure to share a practice that has the potential to change your life, as it has mine - I'm inspired by those I teach and I hope to inspire you to find your Yoga."