Top 9 Benefits of Yoga on Your Mental Health and Wellbeing

Top 9 Benefits of Yoga On Your Mental Health

Yoga is an ancient science gifted by the east to the world and has more meaning and purpose than what the art is popularly known for. The postures (asanas) that promote flexibility levels and aid in the cure of various health conditions are just part of the story of yoga.

Is Yoga Not Just A Body Science?

Yoga is a body-mind science. It co-ordinates the body, mind and soul and unites the consciousness of self with the supreme consciousness. Yoga elevates your state of mind and promotes inner peace. Regular practice of yoga not only promotes optimum physical health but also promotes mental health.

Benefits of Yoga on Mental Health

Recent studies on the benefits of this ancient art confirm the role yoga plays in promoting mental health. Asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques), shape the mind and boost mental health.

1) Relieves Anxiety

Chronic anxiety can have a negative impact on your mental health. Low levels of GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) is common in those with chronic anxiety. Yoga boosts GABA levels thereby helping to relieve anxiety. With regular practice, yoga helps you to acquire a relaxed state of mind.

The most effective yoga poses for relieving anxiety include:

  • Tree Pose
  • Extended Triangle Pose
  • Cat Cow Pose
  • Child’s Pose
  • Camel Pose
  • Bow Pose

2) Releases Negative Emotions

Releasing negative emotions can be a challenge as the mind is conditioned to playback your thought-patterns. Negative emotions can affect you on both a physical and mental level. Over time, practicing yoga can help to release your negative emotions. Yoga releases blocked energy. By stimulating the energy centres of your body, yoga plays a key role in maintaining mental health.

Given below are yoga poses effective for relieving negative emotion:

  • Warrior Pose I
  • Warrior Pose II
  • Upward Facing Dog Pose
  • Camel Pose

3) Relieves Stress

Chronic stress affects immune function resulting in increased risk of acquiring complications associated with mental health including depression. Studies have proved yoga to be effective in curing stress. Yoga relaxes the body and mind. Certain poses soothe the nervous system and aid in relieving stress. Breathing practices in yoga are highly effective in lowering stress.

Yoga improves post-traumatic stress disorder.

The most effective yoga poses for relieving stress include:

  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Eagle Pose
  • Cat Cow Pose
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose
  • Child’s Pose

4) Helps to Improve Depression

Mood disorders are common in those suffering from depression. Certain yoga poses aid in relieving symptoms of depression including mood swings and other behavioral symptoms.  Balancing yoga poses that promote calm from within can aid in relieving the practitioner of negative thought patterns.

Yoga poses for relieving depression include:

  • Child’s Pose
  • Downward Facing Dog pose
  • Cobra Pose
  • Warrior I Pose
  • Corpse Pose

5) Promotes Quality Sleep

Insomnia can either be a general condition in some and it may be a result of a particular health condition including chronic pain and depression. Lack of sleep can have adverse effects on your mental health as chronic insomnia can cause mood swings, depression and anxiety. Yoga is effective in treating sleeplessness. Yoga relaxes the mind, calms the nervous system, relieves stress and promotes quality sleep. The slow breathing patterns, which are part of yogic practice are effective for insomnia.

Yoga poses to improve sleep include:

  • Legs Up The Wall Pose
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Child’s Pose
  • Happy Baby Pose
  • Corpse Pose

6) Improves Focus

Focus is lost when the mind wanders. Staying focused improves your brain function and supports mental health. Yoga boosts your concentration levels. It aids in making you stay in the present as your yogic practice involves your mind and not just your body. You are constantly aware of yourself, how you perform a particular pose and your body’s alignment while in the pose. Such constant while practicing yoga improves your concentration levels while you are off the yoga mat as well. Yoga also calms the mind and prevents distractions.

Yoga poses that improve focus include:

  • Mountain Pose
  • Eagle Pose
  • Staff Pose
  • Seated Forward Bend
  • Yoga Nidra

7) Cultivates Sense of Self

Being confident and comfortable in your own skin is vital to true wellbeing.  Low self-esteem can contribute to various health problems including depression. Self-esteem helps to identify your strengths and promotes your mental health. High self-esteem improves your confidence levels. The more confident you are about yourself, the stronger your mental strength becomes. Long term yoga practice improves your self-image, boosts your confidence and supports mental stability.

Yoga poses for cultivating sense of self include:

  • Chair Pose
  • Warrior I Pose
  • Warrior II Pose
  • Warrior III Pose
  • Headstand Pose

8) Promotes Mindfulness

Mindfulness alleviates mental health disorders such as stress, depression, anxiety and mood swings. It also improves concentration. Mindfulness is a key factor of yoga. To develop mindfulness, you can set certain codes for practice such as putting your phone on mute and avoiding distractions in every form. If practicing with a partner does not support staying focused,  practicing alone may be more beneficial. Focus on breath while performing asanas. Gently draw your mind to your breath whenever your mind wanders away. Practicing yoga is one of the best ways to master mindfulness.

Since every yoga pose promotes mindfulness, you can experience a positive change in your level of focus with regular practice of yoga poses.

9) Prevents Brain Aging

Brain aging is an inevitable process as one gets older; or so it seems. Yoga is not only anti-aging in terms of your external appearance but also in terms of your brain function. Yoga prevents brain aging and also brain-related health conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Studies indicate that people suffering with dementia may benefit from yoga practice. Yogic practice including practice of asanas, breathing techniques and meditation protects the brain, prevents mental decline and helps to maintain healthy brain function.

Poses that promote blood flow to brain, breathing techniques and meditation can be performed on a regular basis to prevent brain aging.

 

Combining yoga with a whole-food plant-based diet is highly recommended for optimal health.

 

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3980104/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2176141/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gps.4538/pdf

 


Newer Post