Understanding Stress

Yoga is not a practice of avoiding stress.  It is a form of artfully applied stress on the mind and body.  The stress response is not something to reject or fear; it is a necessary element of human survival.  Yoga provides both a physiological perspective on our reaction to non-threatening stressors and a method of reducing unnecessary stress.

Example Workshop Schedule

1-2 Hours: Overview of the physiology of stress. Stress is a word with many implications.  The physiology of stress and the term used to describe the chemical and neural response came about in the 1950's.  The history of stress is introduced from that point as a cultural phenomenon and as a neural-hormonal response. The role and need of often vilified hormones such as cortisol or adrenaline is discussed in the context of both life and yoga.  Evidence-based modulation of these hormones via yoga is also introduced.

2-4 Hours:  Lecture and practice concerning student-centered stress level assessment and reduction practices.  Self-assessment is one of the best practices for creating meaningful behavior change. Students learn yogic techniques for monitoring daily stress levels. Different personality types and dosha types need different yoga practices to reach a place where relaxation is possible. A number of different tools are offered in this course as methods for stress reduction. Students are introduced to the concept of the relaxation response and parasympathetic function.



3-6 hours



Facilitated Discussion: The science of stress

Lecture and Practice:
Stress reduction

  • Monitoring stress
  • Daily practices
  • Yoga nidra
  • Pranayama techniques  
  • Meditation