Regular practice of yoga and pranayama trains the body to better handle life’s stressors. Asana (yoga pose) releases tight muscles with controlled movement. When looking at a particular pose there are 3 key segments, the movements into the pose, holding the pose and then the movement out of the pose. Each of these elements contributes in a positive way to the release of stress from any give muscle group. The movement into & out of a pose strengthens muscles, uses nervous energy and brings awareness to particular muscle groups. Holding a pose for any length of time (even just a second) allows that muscle group to stretch, relax and oxygenate.
Pranayama or controlled breath technique brings oxygen to stressed muscle groups relaxing the body. As breath is the primary link of the mind and body bringing awareness to the breath ultimately brings awareness to the mind. This awareness can bring an understanding and a release of your stress. While practicing pranayama you can use imagery to picture the stress leaving the body through the exhale and see good feelings filling up the body through the inhale.
The body reacts to a stressor before our conscious mind catches up; by taking a minute to become aware of your breathing you will calm the body and mind, slowing down a racing heart. Giving yourself a chance to see that the danger is imagined and you do have a choice in how you deal with the given situation.