Have you tried yoga? According to a post on the Harvard Health website, yoga has incredible value as a stress reduction technique as well as an exercise. Here you can learn how yoga helps the mind.
As you probably know already, practicing yoga regularly will help you tone your body and get stronger. Also, if you follow our blog, you know that yoga is a powerful ally if you want to lose weight. However, you might be surprised to find out to what extent it can improve your mental state.
Yoga has a way of narrowing your world down to a series of movements. You have to focus on performing and holding each position, and that’s beneficial for your mental acuity.
After doing yoga for a while, you may notice that your focus at work, at school, or at home has improved!
Doing yoga gives you some down time, and some much needed breathing space, literally. While you’re doing yoga, you can’t check your phone, review emails, work on projects, or do any of the day’s busywork.
You’re simply— you. Existing. Breathing. Thinking.
You know that “fight or flight” response you get when there’s stress in your life? Staying in that mode for too long can really wreak havoc on your mental state. (Not to mention your hormones and your weight!).
When you do yoga, you move the priority from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system. This is a more relaxed state, in which your body resets and resumes normative functions instead of exhibiting the signs of anxiety.
In yoga, the movements and breathing exercises are all about balance — push and pull, in and out. It mirrors the light and dark, solar and lunar, yin and yang concepts of nature and philosophy.
So as your yoga improves, your overall sense of balance also improves. And even if you don’t expected, that improvement can have a wonderful ripple effects in your life. You may find that your perspective on a particular relationship becomes more equitable, or you may discover a healthier work-life balance.
We’ve all seen those yoga experts twisting into all kinds of crazy poses! You may not be able to do all of that physically, but the more you practice yoga, the more flexible your body becomes.
With all that additional mobility, you may find that your mind and emotions become a little more flexible too. Your new-found calmness, focus, and balance can help you adapt to life’s stressors more easily.
Yoga is definitely not a cure-all, but various studies support the fact that it helps those with mental illness. People suffering from bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, or anxiety disorder show improvement after beginning yoga.
Also, if combined with other treatments or medication, yoga helps mentally ill individuals cope with their conditions and find fresh hope for a healthy future.
Now that you’ve seen how yoga helps the mind, why not try it? If you’re already a firm believer in the benefits of yoga, share some of your favorite poses and practices in the comments!