Guest Blogger, Meera Watts, shares her list of yoga’s mental health benefits.
If you think yoga is all about getting fit and toned muscles, it’s probably the right time to get the facts straight. Most people who engage in yoga aren’t really after the physical benefits of the practice. A lot of them are actually looking for a way to reduce their stress, anxiety, depression, and mood. And if you’re still in doubt about that, here’s a list of yoga’s mental health benefits to convince you.
Eight Examples of Yoga’s Mental Health Benefits
1. It improves concentration
With each yoga pose you do, you’re improving your brain function by training your mind to focus and concentrate. The practice stimulates both your nervous system and brain so you can process information faster and more efficiently.
2. It makes you more mindful
Yoga is all about what’s happening in the present. It teaches you to be more connected with your body and what it’s currently experiencing. It syncs your emotions so you can have better social relationships and connection with your mind. Once you are able to achieve those things, you’ll be able to focus on the present without being judgemental.
3. It eases depression
Yoga has a unique way of lowering the level of depression in a person. One way it’s able to do that is by increasing the production and release of certain happy hormones in the body while lowering specific stress hormones.
4. It makes you sleep better
Having a hard time falling and staying asleep can be troublesome. It can affect your productivity, mood, appetite, concentration, and problem-solving skills.
By reducing stress and encouraging relaxation, yoga can help address certain sleep disorders such as insomnia. It can make you feel well-rested and energized that you won’t have a hard time powering through your day.
Take note, however, that although yoga can help you get better sleep, you should also consider what you eat, drink, and do before you get to bed. For example, drinking caffeinated drinks and doing really heavy exercises a few minutes or hours before bedtime can make it hard for you to get to sleep.
5. It enhances your decision-making skills
When your mind is cloudy and you’re having a hard time thinking straight, coming up with a good decision won’t be easy. In fact, you can end up making the wrong move if you force yourself.
Yoga strengthens the part of your brain responsible for making decisions. It improves your brain’s clarity so you’ll have a better ability to deal with situations and decide properly.
6. It lessens the effects of traumatic experiences
People who develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorders typically have flashbacks and nightmares that can negatively affect their lives. While there are medications and treatments that can help address such mental health issue, yoga is proven to be as effective and safer in reducing PTSD symptoms. It requires no strong medications that can harm the body eventually.
Yoga’s Mental Health Benefits are Preventative, too
7. It delays the onset of mental health problems
Yoga is seen as an effective approach for enhancing breathing, promoting relaxation and meditation, improving moods, and controlling anger. These things play a huge role in making the mind stronger and more resilient to psychological conditions, particularly among teenagers.
8. It reduces the risk for migraines
Yoga is known for its ability to reduce pain and promote comfort. With specific yoga poses, it can also prevent or alleviate migraine and headaches. Yoga can restore the balance in your autonomic nervous system and circulatory system which can reduce your likelihood of going through another migraine episode.
Summing Up Yoga’s Mental Health Benefits
While effective, yoga doesn’t really work like magic. It won’t give you results overnight.
For you to experience all those mental benefits, you need to be consistent and dedicated to incorporating yoga into your daily routine. You don’t necessarily have to spend hours performing poses after poses. A few minutes each day can be enough to create positive changes in your mental well-being.
About the Author
Meera Watts‘ has written articles on yoga and holistic health for Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Additionally, Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India and Indonesia.