Stress is a common condition, a response to a physical threat or psychological distress, that generates a host of chemical and hormonal reactions in the body. In essence,the body prepares to fight or flee, pumping more blood to the heart and muscles and shutting down all nonessential functions. As a temporary state, this reaction serves the body well to defend itself. When the stress reaction is prolonged, however, the normal physical functions that have in response either been exaggerated or shut down become dysfunctional. Many have noted the benefits of exercise in diminishing the stress response,and a host of studies points to these benefits. Yoga, too,has been recommended and studied in relationship to sffess, although the studies are less scientifically replicable. Nonetheless, several researchers claim highly beneficial results from Yoga practice in alleviating stress and its effects. The practices recommended range from intense to moderate to relaxed asana sequences, along with pranayama and meditation. In all these approaches to dealing with stress, one common element stands out:The process is as important as the activity undertaken. Because it fosters self-awareness, Yoga is a promising approach for dealing with the stress response.

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