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How can yoga stretches help reduce stress?

Ben Kaminsky
Dermatology
Yoga uses stress-reduction techniques with gentle stretching and other positions to send nutrients and oxygen to muscles and internal organs, bathing them in fresh blood. This ancient Eastern discipline increases relaxation, reduces blood pressure, and relieves mental tension. In a study published in the journal Work, researchers found that regularly practicing yoga on the job helps employees improve work performance by relieving tension and job stress. It is thought that yoga may positively affect levels of body chemicals such as cortisol and other stress hormones, melatonin, and monoamines. Substantial research exists that supports the use of yoga for increasing intuition, perception, and attention.
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Stress is a leading risk factor for musculoskeletal problems such as back pain. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that can reduce stress and relieve muscular tension or pain by boosting improved range of motion and improved strength. Practicing yoga when you are feeling tense or anxious may help to reduce stress and the risk of injury when you are on the job or at home. 
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.