Stressed Out, Burned Out, Fatigued? Make Time to Manage Symptoms

April is National Stress Awareness Month. Annie Lockwood, RYT-200, delves into the causes and symptoms of stress and how to better manage those symptoms through yoga. She offers both on-site and private classes through 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness.

Stress is ever-present. It may come from your job, parenting, managing kids’ activities and schedules, health, relationship or financial problems, and even the changing seasons. 

When we are functioning in a state of stress, our brain responds by producing chemicals and other signals that act like pain killers or “maskers.” Then when our body has a chance to relax after a stressful situation, we can feel soreness/tension without the pain-masking chemicals dulling our senses.

Our body’s natural biological response to a stressful event is triggered by the brain’s detection of a real or perceived sense of danger, and it then releases a chain of chemicals through your hormones and electrical signals through your nervous system. The purpose of these biological responses are to prepare the body to fight, flight/run, or freeze/hide from the perceived cause of stress.  

Some stress is normal. However, almost every system in the body can be damaged by chronic stress. Stress symptoms you may experience include:

  • The fight, flight or freeze response
  • Fatigue
  • Shallow breathing
  • Digestion: slowed (constipation), hyperactive (chronic diarrhea), or ulcers
  • Sleep disruption
  • Headaches, muscle tension and high blood pressure
  • Some chronic conditions, such as arthritis, chronic pain, diabetes, depression, and anxiety, may be affected by prolonged stress response

Different types of stress can manifest in different parts of the body, too. For example:

  1. Neck, shoulders, jaw: worry, anxiousness
  2. Back: fear, frustration, despair 
  3. Hips: emotional trauma or suppression
  4. Chest: stress related to anger or resentment

Yoga can help manage the symptoms of various kinds of stresses. In the yoga classes I offer, I approach managing stress symptoms in three ways:

  1. Physical
  2. Mental
  3. Nervous System


Certain poses can help relieve the muscle tension triggered by stress. A few foundational poses you will be introduced to include forward folds to stretch the muscles in the back side of the body, as well as poses that target tension in the hips, shoulders, and neck. 


What are the thoughts contributing to stress and anxiety? Learning simple mantras can help manage those racing thoughts and help retrain your brain. If you are thinking, “I don’t have enough time…,” a simple mantra may be to repeat, “Enough” or “I do have enough.”

Nervous System

Breath is the bridge between body and mind. When you are under stress, you may find yourself chest (shallow) breathing. I teach techniques that help you shift from this stress response to a relaxation state that allows you to digest, repair, rejuvenate and recalibrate. I may layer on mantras to signal to the body that it does not have to fight, flight/run or freeze. Then I also add physical poses to help reduce tension.

Make Stress Management Part of Daily “Hygiene”

I compare the importance of managing stress to the importance of oral hygiene. We are taught to brush and floss and take care of our oral hygiene to avoid other health problems. It’s the same with stress. It can linger and left unchecked, lead to greater health problems. 

If you want to learn more, my stress relief yoga classes focus on general themes directed at managing key stress symptoms. If you want a more personalized approach, private classes allow me to work with you one-on-one to develop an individualized practice based on your needs.

Join Annie for Yoga for Stress Relief & Centering. View Class Schedule HERE