If I had to guess, without knowing you, I’d bet that one of the first things you do when you greet a colleague at the office or bump into a neighbour on the street is ask “how are things?” or “how’re you getting on?” The response is probably a quick and cavalier “grand, thank you!” before the conversation moves along. Usually, the person asking doesn’t really want to know, and the person responding doesn’t tell the truth. It’s a common social exchange, a polite transaction between two people. But while “how are you?” may be the basis of small talk with acquaintances, it’s one of the cornerstones of conscious living. In order to be intentional with our words, actions, and habits from day to day, we should regularly be checking in with ourselves in private, asking the question and considering the answer, reconnecting with our precious selves.

Whether it be a long and stressful journey, a particularly tiring week at home, or one too many late nights catching up on work, we can find ourselves feeling run down and out of sorts. Feeling without presence, without intention, feeling just… ‘blah’. We may reach for a quick coffee or multivitamin to pull ourselves through temporarily, but nothing beats careful and intentional rest and relaxation.

If we neglect our bodies for too long, they can be overcome by stress and strain.


This may ultimately take over our mental and physical faculties, causing uncomfortable symptoms like anxiety, digestive issues, body aches, depression, trouble sleeping, and much more. Do you suffer from any of these symptoms?


Research shows that mental and physical stress causes inflammation in the body. While inflammation is our normal (and beneficial) reaction to an injury or infection, when it lasts too long, and becomes known as chronic inflammation, it can damage healthy tissues. Thus, chronic stress can lead to chronic or worsening illness including depression, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer, among lots more.

But first, let’s try to understand exactly what is meant by the term “stress”. According to the HSE, stress is “a reaction to mental, physical or emotional pressure”. It affects how well we perceive we can cope. You might feel stressed because of one big event or situation in your life, or it might be a build-up of lots of smaller things over time.


The sources of such pressure or demand are called stressors, and they can be categorised by the areas of our life that are affected.


  • Illness or injury
  • Pregnancy and becoming a parent
  • Infertility and problems having children
  • Bereavement
  • Experiencing abuse
  • Experiencing crime and the justice system, such as being arrested, going to court or being a witness
  • Organising a complicated event, like a holiday
  • Everyday tasks, such as household chores or taking transport

“I experienced a breakdown after receiving a promotion at work at the same time that complicated family issues began at home. Too much was going on at once, I was spreading myself too thin. It all got too much for me.”

Friends and family

  • Getting married or civil partnered
  • Going through a break-up or getting divorced
  • Difficult relationships with parents, siblings, friends or children
  • Being a carer

“Dealing with the breakdown of my marriage and subsequent divorce was the most stressful experience of my life… I started experiencing digestive issues and developed severe insomnia.”

Employment and study

  • Losing your job
  • Long-term unemployment
  • Retiring
  • Exams and deadlines
  • Difficult situations or colleagues at work
  • Starting a new job


  • Housing problems, such as poor living conditions, lack of security or homelessness
  • Moving house
  • Problems with neighbours

“Buying our first house and creating a home was meant to be a positive experience, but I found it highly stressful and cried so often throughout the process.”


  • Worries about money or benefits
  • Living in poverty
  • Managing debt

Social factors

  • Having poor access to services such as medical care, green spaces or transport
  • Living through a stressful community-wide, national or global event, like the coronavirus pandemic
  • Experiencing stigma or discrimination, including racism, homophobia, biphobia or transphobia


So, we have established that stress is not good. But what can we do about it?

From a holistic point of view, it is believed the stressors mentioned above can lead to blockages in our bodies’ energy centres, or chakras. We know that on a microscopic level, our fascinating and complicated anatomy is built up entirely of tiny units called cells. These cells are not unified by glue, but rather by an energy which vibrates at a certain frequency. The daily habits of our modern lives cause us to lose touch with our natural strength and power within, upsetting our energy centres and knocking them out of alignment, wreaking havoc on the smallest cells to the most hardworking internal organs.

By now, you have definitely heard about yoga, and if you haven’t tried it before, it is really time that you do! Yoga is a brilliant tool for rest and relaxation. There is abundant research on the benefits of yoga for stress reduction. How yoga works to relieve stress is by lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels, reducing inflammation in the body, and helping to reduce muscle aches and pains.


Many body poses (or asanas) stimulate the realignment of chakras and help get energy moving freely again in hard-to-reach areas. For example, a 2017 multi-author analysis linked yoga practice with lower back pain relief and an improvement in back-related function.

Trust me, you will get there with time!

  • Regular practice of yoga is a positive habit which can help establish a healthy routine. Numerous studies exist detailing the importance of a simple daily routine.
  • Yoga, being a physical activity, allows you to stretch out tense or painful areas that might not otherwise be so easily exercised. Doing so mindfully and gently with controlled breathing means there is less of a risk of injury.
  • Yoga’s slow and peaceful nature allows us to naturally relax and reconnect with the most important person in our life – ourselves. The controlled breathing involved in yoga sends signals to our mind that we are safe. There is no need to fight, flee, or fawn during yoga. It’s just us, and no one else. By taking a few short moments for ourselves and only ourselves, we can soothe the stresses of our mind and remind our body that we are in control. The love and compassion we have for ourselves will ultimately always be enough.
  • Finally, yoga promotes a spiritual connection. After some practice, we may find ourselves able to access a part of our mind that feels almost… supernatural. This is the ultimate goal of yoga and meditation – the transcendence of our everyday physical self to enter a realm of purity, clarity, and ultimate healing. Trust me, you will get there with time!

It's not about being good at something. It's about being good to yourself.

If you are struggling with how to achieve awareness of your stress levels, a creative way to arrive at an answer is by visualising stress as the uncomfortable squeezing of certain areas over and over again. You can then ask yourself, “what part of my body or mind do I feel a squeezing?” Only once we have an awareness of ourselves can we begin the journey of mitigating the pain. Removing the cause of the stress (e.g. financial worries, relentless career demands, physical ailments, etc.) is often rather difficult and may take time, but gaining awareness and reducing the power of the squeeze is something we can begin immediately with yoga.

Bringing It All Together

It’s time you empower yourself and honour your body with yoga, if you haven’t already.

You are welcome to book your twenty minute FREE consultation with me if you would like to finally jump on the bandwagon and discover how yoga can change your life!

Simply shoot me an email at hello@go-yoga.eu. 


All it takes is the willingness to begin. Give it a GO!

Sending positive energy and encouragement,

Gosia Wojciulewicz