If you feel depressed, anxious or have other mental issues, then why haven’t you tried yoga? Yoga is not just a workout—it’s really a combination of four elements: poses (like tree pose), breathing exercises, deep relaxation, and reflection that can improve your health on several levels and it is known for its mental advantages amongst other advantages.
So, if you are wondering how you can help your mental health without breaking the bank, then why don’t you try doing yoga? This is why in this article we have discussed what yoga is, how it boosts an individual’s mental health, and lots more!
Yoga and Mental Health
Depending on what you see on magazines and television, you may think that yoga is all about physical poses but there is more to it than you see on the screen. The totality of yoga comprises various practices, such as meditation, breathing exercises, mantra, prayer, ritual, and also selfless action.
The word “yoga” originated from the word “yuj,” which refers “to yoke” or “to bind.” The word itself has several definitions, ranging from astrological conjunction to marriage. As earlier stated, yoga is made up of four elements which include poses (like tree pose), meditation, breathing exercises, and deep relaxation, among others that can change your health positively in several different degrees and it is popularly known for its mental benefits amongst other benefits. Yoga asana is the physical practice and poses of yoga.
One important and integral part of a person’s health is his or her mental health. According to the WHO constitution, a person’s health is a state of total mental, social and physical well-being and not merely the absence of diseases or infirmities. As a result of this, it is important to point out that your mental health is more than just the absence of mental disabilities.
Mental health is a state of well-being in which a person recognizes his or her own potential, can keep up with the daily stresses of life, can work efficiently, and is able to contribute to the progress of his or her community. The state of your mental health impacts the way you think, feel, and react to situations.
Mental health problems are not jokes and can affect the overall state of the body and one proven way to overcome these problems is through yoga. There are several ways yoga boosts mental health but this shall be discussed further in this article.
How Yoga Boosts Mental Health
Yoga’s emphasis on breathing exercises and meditation, both of which serve to calm and balance the mind, makes it unsurprising that it offers mental advantages including reduced anxiety and sadness. What’s more remarkable is that it improves your brain’s performance. Now let’s look at the advantages of Yoga in relation to mental health:
1. Release brain chemicals that are beneficial.
Most exercises cause the brain to release powerful neurotransmitters. Brain chemicals including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are among the substances that improve mood. Despite the fact that yoga motions are slow and controlled, they nonetheless raise your heart rate, work your muscles, and cause brain chemicals to be released. Therefore, yoga has the potential to make you feel happy.
2. Get rid of your depression.
Yoga has been confirmed in studies to assist with depression. Yoga has been confirmed to be similar to other treatments such as medicines and psychotherapy by experts. Yoga is generally inexpensive, and it does not have the same adverse side effects as many drugs. It can even be of assistance to people who suffer from chronic depression. There aren’t many tests on the use of yoga for depression, thus additional research is required.
Depression has traditionally been treated with drugs and talk therapy. Nonetheless, complementary solutions such as yoga can be helpful, and yoga compares favorably to other alternative treatments.
3. Reduce your stress levels.
86 percent of Americans who responded to a questionnaire on why they practiced yoga claimed it helped them deal with stress. Muscle tightening and even relaxation might aid in relieving anxiety. The calm setting, relaxing music, and upbeat attitude in most yoga lessons may also be helpful to you. Yoga lowers cortisol (the key stress hormone), which lowers stress and increases relaxation. Yoga is an excellent approach to manage stress.
4. Assist in reducing anxiousness.
Yoga can help you feel less anxious. Because there is a connection between anxiety and breathing problems, yoga’s breath exercise may be very effective. Yoga may not be effective if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Yoga is still employed by some psychologists to enhance other aspects of therapy. Also, it is good for ladies who are suffering from PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). Yoga can assist women in overcoming their fear of a terrible incident. Yoga emphasizes the idea of being in the now and developing a sense of calm, both of which help to alleviate anxiety.
5. Boost your sleep quality
Yoga has been confirmed in studies to assist people to sleep better. This is especially true for the elderly. Participants in one research of yoga practitioners over the age of 60 reported an improvement in both the duration and quality of their sleep. Their sleep efficiency which is the percentage of time spent sleeping in a bed was enhanced. Poor sleep quality is caused by obesity, depression, and high blood pressure. Yoga, on the other hand, can enable you to sleep better if you incorporate it into your regular routine. Yoga can enable you to fall asleep quickly, sleep for longer times, and feel more relaxed. Yoga reduces sleep disruptions, enhances sleep quality, and reduces the need for sleeping pills.
6. Improve your social life.
You may profit from doing yoga with other people in your yoga lesson if you attend physically. Relationships have been revealed to have a positive effect on both mental and physical health. Also known as synchronization, behaving in harmony with others has distinct social advantages. Also, moving and breathing at the same time as other people might enable you to feel more attached to the group and foster rapport.
7. Encourage other good habits.
If you do yoga, you may be more willing to consume healthier meals. Yoga can also act as a springboard for other aspects of physical exercise. Other health-conscious people can motivate you to make additional healthy lifestyle adjustments.
8. A more alert mind
Lifting weights makes your muscles stronger and bigger. When you do yoga, your brain cells create new bonds, and structural and functional modifications in the brain take place, resulting in better cognitive abilities for instant learning and memory. Yoga improves memory, awareness, alertness, and thought by strengthening the brain’s memory, attention, and awareness centers among others. You can see it as lifting weights in your mind.
People who practiced yoga on a regular basis have a thicker cerebral cortex (the area of the brain responsible for information processing) and hippocampus (the area of the brain which is involved in learning and memory) compared to those who don’t, according to researches using MRI scans and other brain imaging equipment.
Although these parts of the brain decline with age, older yoga practitioners exhibited less shrinkage than people who did not engage in yoga at all. This indicates that yoga may aid in preventing memory and other cognitive areas from deteriorating as people get older.
9. A more positive attitude
All types of exercise can enhance your mood by decreasing your stress hormone levels, boosting the synthesis of chemicals that make you feel good such as endorphins and enhancing the amount of oxygenated blood that is in your brain. Yoga, on the other hand, may provide additional benefits. It can enhance your attitude by increasing your levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a brain chemical related to a good mood and less tension. Meditation also lessens activity in the limbic system, which is responsible for feelings. When presented with difficult circumstances, you have a more controlled reaction as your emotional reactivity decreases.
10. It enhances one’s quality of life.
Yoga is now widely used as an adjuvant therapy to help people improve their quality of life all around the world. People who practice Yoga on a regular basis have better moods and less fatigue. Yoga has also been shown to alleviate post-chemotherapy symptoms like nausea and vomiting, therefore improving overall Quality of Life. Acceptance, relaxation, and invigoration are all enhanced by yoga. It’s one of yoga’s most prominent mental health benefits.
Yoga may be good for persons seeking to lose weight, quit smoking, or manage chronic disease, in addition to these benefits. Naturally, your outcomes may differ. Your outcomes may be affected by your viewpoint, the quality of your instructor, and the kind of yoga you’re practicing.
11. Introduces the concept of positivity
Yoga is similar to cleaning your mind as a type of mental hygiene. The mind’s negative impressions are removed, relieving it of harmful emotional burdens and enabling optimistic energy to flow. It’s one of yoga’s most prominent mental health benefits.
12. Improves mental acuity
Yoga strengthens the mind and promotes flexibility. Yoga motivates you to analyze your abilities, shortcomings, fears, and intentions while also enabling you to be productive. Yoga enhances self-control and promotes the significance of making commitments.
How You Can Improve Your Mental Health with Yoga
Yoga is best learned with a skilled teacher, either in a private or group setting. A yoga instructor can correct your positions and, if necessary, show you how to adjust them. Some poses can be made easier with the aid of blocks, straps, and other props. Instead of doing yoga on the floor, you can do it in a chair.
It’s also possible to learn yoga from the Internet or from a book or even a DVD. But the best way to avoid damage is to take a physical yoga lecture. Once you learn the basics, you can employ the use of books and videos to help you as you practice. You will profit more from yoga if you practice it at home between lessons, and online classes can keep your home practice fun. If you are satisfied doing yoga at home, you can practice when you feel additional stress, insomnia, or other problems.
Types of Yoga
There are different types of yoga techniques. Some of them include :
This class incorporates gentler, slower-paced motions, making it ideal for beginners. The goal of this class is to expose newcomers to the most common relaxation methods and asanas (poses or positions) used in yoga.
Pacing begins slowly and gradually increases in speed, linking breathing and movement. Vinyasa is a type of yoga that attempts to enhance strength and lean muscular mass throughout the body.
It takes place in a hot chamber where you perform a set of motions to improve blood flow. Stretches muscles and improves circulation by incorporating evenly paced low-impact exercises.
For one hour, moves slowly through five or six poses to help you relax. Slowing down and opening your body through passive stretching is the focus of this method. Restorative yoga lessons are highly relaxing and a great way to unwind.
Props like blocks, chairs, and straps are used to assist you in finding optimal body alignment. To increase strength and stability, the moves stress precision, timing, and the usage of props.
It is more physically demanding and focuses on rapid, sequenced poses. This is a high-intensity, intense form that will make you sweat.
Does Yoga Practice Have Risks?
Although yoga is a low-risk activity, it can result in injuries such as sprains or strains. An injury might be caused by poor technique, pre-existing conditions, or simply trying too hard. Some injuries can be traced back to teachers who were not properly trained. Most yoga enthusiasts don’t let the possibility of injury deter them from practicing. Fewer than 1% of people who were injured while practicing yoga stopped doing it.
Yoga poses provide a greater risk to older people, who may have reduced muscle power and bone density. If you have injuries, you should see your doctor about your exercise routine. Also, yoga should never be used as a substitute for medical treatment.
Yoga can improve your overall health and transform the way you think about exercise. Please keep in mind, however, that yoga is not a cure-all for mental problems. As a result, it would be beneficial if you continued to concentrate on other self-care strategies to manage your emotional and mental health. We hope we have helped you understand how you can boost your mental health with Yoga.
Keep in mind that no single treatment can completely erase the signs and symptoms of anxiety or sadness. The procedure necessitates a significant amount of time, energy, and effort.