Much of our day to day lives are spent engaged in activities that promote high levels of stress. Elevated stress levels lead to high levels of cortisol within our bodies. A good way to look at this is thinking of our bodies as a cup which holds stress. There can come a point when stress begins to overflow that cup if it is not checked, and an overflowing cup of excess stress raises cortisol levels that can lead to a whole host of problems. These problems include increased blood pressure, a suppressed immune system, suppressed thyroid function, decreased muscle, and an increased inflammatory response. This is where the deep relaxation of yoga comes into play. When we practice yoga we stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which helps calm us down and directs blood flow toward the endocrine glands and digestive organs, all while dropping your heart rate and blood pressure! With regular practice, stress levels are kept in check along with your cortisol levels, mitigating its negative effects.