Guest article from MINES’ Provider Sharon Wheeler

National Stress Awareness Month is April and National Stress Awareness Day is April 18th

Stress: a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, exhausted or overwhelmed. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand.

What is your stress level right now?

On a scale of 0-Full, what is your gauge reading at this moment?

Could you use a pause in your day to refill your tank?

The top 3 ways to alleviate stress is breathwork, meditation and physical movement.

Does that sound a little like…YOGA?

Whatever your thoughts about yoga and what you think it is… well…this is NOT that!

It is NOT about stretching and relaxation! Yoga is a 5,000 martial art practice for calming the mind and bringing the body into regulation.

Yoga’s ability to touch us on every level – the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – makes it a powerful and effective modality.

Trauma-informed body movement is confirmed by extensive scientific research to be at least equal in importance to EMDR and talk therapy in reducing anxiety, stress, depression, trauma, and symptoms of PTSD, all of which have been linked to addiction behavior, as well as burnout, exhaustion and compassion fatigue.

How about 10 more reasons to add a yoga practice to your toolbox for self-care:

1. Stress relief: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body by encouraging relaxation and lowering the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion, and boosting the immune system, as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma, and insomnia.

2. Pain relief: Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing Yoga, meditation, or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases, and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain, and other chronic conditions.

3. Better breathing: Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function and trigger the body’s relaxation response.

4. Flexibility: Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing the range of movement of the joints and reducing aches and pains.

5. Increased strength: Yoga postures use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength from head to toe. Yoga also helps to relieve muscular tension.

6. Weight management: Yoga can aid weight control by reducing cortisol levels, as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well-being and self-esteem.

7. Improved circulation: Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells while helping to rid the body of deoxygenated blood.

8. Cardiovascular conditioning: Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance, and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.

9. Better body alignment: Yoga helps to improve body alignment, resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint, and muscle problems.

10. Focus on the present: Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware, and to help create mind-body health. It opens the way to improved coordination, reaction time, and memory.

Are you ready to feel refreshed, renewed, and re-energized?

Go to to find an in-person or online practice that works for you.

You may also learn more at, a nonprofit organization that supports mental health and well-being and aids in the prevention of suicide.

Schedule a group event with your peers here:

Other helpful links:

Remember, nothing is bigger than you! Sometimes we just need to fill up the tank again.

Listen to your body when it calls for a time-out or a break. Make self-care a priority. Selfcare is not selfish!

I’ll see you on your mat,

Sharon Wheeler