Yoga. What is it? For some, yoga means downward dog and for others, it means sitting in contemplation with their eyes closed. But for many, yoga is a gateway to mental clarity and stress relief. In this article, we’ll learn the benefits of yoga for mental health.
The meditative qualities of yoga are great for those who suffer from anxiety or depression because they’re able to practice mindfulness without the added stressors of the outside world interfering with that practice.
In addition to this, many people with depression feel a sense of peace after completing even just one session of yoga; there’s something about touching the earth that can alleviate some anxiety and calm any racing thoughts you may have had prior to getting on your mat.
While it takes time to cure depression and certainly no quick fix, practicing yoga can give you a sense of peace and even suppleness in your body that you may otherwise struggle to find. As an added bonus, practicing yoga can actually help to give you some energy if the depression was making it hard to get out of bed in the morning.
Reasons for Mental Health Problems
We’ll be introducing some ways you can quickly deal with a mental health problem before it does any more harm to your life or career. This is your quick guide to dealing with suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses that sometimes plague us all.
Mental illness onset may be caused by:
- Environmental Factors,
- Psychological Trauma/Stress, Or
- Brain Chemistry Imbalances.
Treatment of mental illness is typically based on the origin of the illness. For example, depression that is caused by a chemical imbalance may be treated with medication; however, one that has an underlying cause of the trauma is typically treated with behavior therapy and other therapeutic techniques.
Here is a common mental health problem:
Schizophrenia- This is a psychotic disorder that affects thinking, feelings and behavior. Those with schizophrenia may have difficulty distinguishing the difference between what is real and unreal, think others are talking about them, have the belief they possess special powers or other delusions. Symptoms of schizophrenia often begin between adolescence and young adulthood.
This is a serious mental health problem and it needs to be treated by a doctor.
Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health
Here are 9 health benefits of yoga for mental health:
1) Reduces Anxiety and Helps You Get More Done
Anxiety can be a debilitating companion that can instill fear in even the most confident of individuals. From the occasional “what-if” thought to overbearing worry, anxiety can be a leading cause of depression and stress. In addition to these negative emotions, anxiety may also lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and fatigue.
Luckily, practicing yoga regularly will help to reduce anxiety and increase overall wellness as these symptoms are alleviated from the physical body into the emotional realm.
Most yoga poses are not only physically exhilarating but mentally relaxing as well. Going through the motions of restorative or meditative poses such as a half-moon, child’s pose or full lotus will help to calm your racing mind and free your body from any built-up tension or fatigue from anxiety.
According to a study of 131 people that lasted for 10 weeks, yoga was beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety. Also, it contributed to better mental and physical health (1)
2) Lowers Your Blood Pressure and Anxious Feelings
While some people turn to exercise to release their pent-up energy from depression or anxiety, this can actually be counterproductive for those with high blood pressure.
Yoga is a perfect antidote to this problem as it won’t increase your heart rate in the same way that aerobic exercise will while simultaneously reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation in the mind and body.
As one of the primary causes of high blood pressure is stress, yoga can help relieve a great deal of the physical and mental strain that those suffering from depression go through. By relaxing your mind and body through asana practice, you’ll notice a difference in your overall wellness and how this translates to your anxiety.
3) Helps You Control Your Breathing
Mental illness is often accompanied by trouble breathing at night or during stressful situations. The ability to control your breathing can help you to relax and alleviate anxiety from stressful moments at work or home, PTSD, or even panic attacks caused by depression. (2)
When you’re in downward dog, you’ll notice that each time your body moves up into an inhale, you pause for a moment and then exhale. The breath pauses before moving into the next inhale as you hold yourself up in the pose.
This rhythmic breathing encourages relaxation and stress relief as it gives your mind something to focus on other than what’s stressing it out. Yoga for mental health can be life-changing.
In one study, 287 college students were taught various yoga poses and breathing techniques over a 15-week period. The vital capacity significantly increased after the study. (3)
4) Empowers You in Body, Mind, and Spirit
Depression can make a person feel isolated from their friends and family if they don’t know how to explain how they feel or why they may be down or unable to participate in certain activities. Yoga is a great way to connect with yourself and others so you can begin to feel empowered in your body, mind, and spirit.
Yoga brings together the body, mind, and spirit into one fluidity that empowers the individual to find their own strength within themselves. When you don’t have the energy to go for a run or lift weights or even just drag yourself out of bed each morning, yoga can help you find some inner strength that will bring you back to the center.
5) Helps You Get More Restful Sleep
Nighttime restful sleep is critical for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety as it helps your mind and body to clear itself of any negativity it may feel during the day. Restful sleep is also important for those who experience PTSD and anxiety because it allows the brain and body to recover from the previous day’s stressful events.
Peer pressure can also be a major cause of insomnia, especially if you feel as though you need to keep up with everyone else or just want to “fit in” and appear strong for your peers. If you don’t exercise, then sleep deprivation may lead to your feeling tired all of the time.
However, if you partake in yoga with regularity, then over time you will begin to tell yourself that it feels good to get some rest and will be less likely to push yourself during the day in order to complete everything or “treat” yourself to a long nap.
Once you get to sleep better, you’ll see the benefits of yoga for mental health clearly.
6) Helps You Cope with Grief, Loss, and PTSD
Losing a loved one, job or pet can be devastating for anyone. This feeling of loss can be overwhelming and lead to anxiety, depression, or even PTSD in some individuals. Yoga can be a powerful tool for helping you cope with these feelings and even begin the journey of healing from grief.
7) Reduces Muscle Imbalances and Helps You with Pain Relief
Yoga can help reduce muscle pain and swelling from injuries and give your body the much-needed relaxation it needs. Not only will it help to relieve some of the tension you may have from muscles after injury, but it can also lead to overall better health in general.
If you suffer from joint pain, stiffness, or lack of flexibility, then stretching and strengthening your body with yoga poses is the answer to your problems.
8) Improves Your Posture and Lifts Your Confidence
Posture affects your confidence more than anything else as it can cause you to feel like a child without any adult guidance or strength. Poor postural alignment can cause you to feel like you’re slumping all of the time, which can make you feel as if you have no strength or power in your body.
With regular yoga practice, you’ll begin to notice that your posture is improving and this will lead to an increase in your confidence both in your body and mind. Better posture leads to you improving your yoga for mental health.
9) Helps You Get into the Flow State
Getting into the flow state helps a person to be more relaxed, creative, and productive. This occurs when a person is fully immersed in an activity that they are passionate about such as writing, drawing, or painting among others. This state of mind helps people to find new ways of looking at their own creativity and adds life back into their work.
Also, yoga can help you to lose weight! Read the article below to learn more:
Yoga can be used to help you find inner peace amidst the stress of daily life. It is also a great way to lower your blood pressure because it encourages you to take deep breaths that will relax you.
Did you know yoga can relieve your asthma too?
Yoga for mental health can do wonders, start now, it won’t hurt getting to know yourself a little bit better…
Thank you for reading.
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