Without stress, we would not be able to survive and function in the world. In reality, stress is like adding a pinch of salt to food to give it taste. When stress becomes unmanageable, it becomes distress, so rather than stress management, it is managing distress that is the problem. Stress is not negative; it is an important component of our existence. Even cavemen had stress, hunting wild animals and not knowing what calamities would befall them.
Stress took birth with life and that is the reality. We have survived so long and continue to progress due to stress. If a bow string is loose, an arrow will have no force, and if the string is too tight, it will snap. The bow needs to have the correct tension. That is the amount of tension we need in our life. If there is too much stress and the bow breaks, it is dangerous. When the bow is about to break, stress becomes the cause of physical, psychological or emotional distress.
How can yoga manage physiological, psychological, professional and environmental stress? Stress disturbs the whole personality, body, mind and emotions, and causes imbalances, illnesses and diseases. Yoga has always believed that it is possible to deal with stress through practice and effort to acquire personal peace and harmony. People who have adopted the wide variety of practices available in yoga have experienced the wonders they can work if practised in the right manner.
Yoga is a common word, practice and philosophy today, but despite its widespread use, understanding of yoga is confined to hatha yoga. However, the physical aspect is not the beginning or end of yoga. Yoga is concerned not with one aspect of life but the total experience of living.
We are able to incorporate and practice the physical, mental, emotional and meditative components of yoga to overcome anxiety and stress. We are also able to increase our strengths and energies to smoothen the passage of life.
How to find perfect balance and harmony is the direction and aspiration of yoga.
From the book “Yoga Sadhana Panorama Vol.6”, pg. 216, 217, Sw. Niranjanananda Saraswati