Yoga is a practice that combines movement with breathing. It enhances the mind through meditation and visualization and sharpens mental focus to bring awareness to what’s most important in the present: your growth and your deepening practice on the mat.
Though most would be exposed to yoga through cool and impressive yoga poses seen on social media, the practice of yoga is actually much more meaningful and provides benefits for not just the body but also your mental health.
Here are five benefits that regular yoga practice can have for your mental health.
- Stress and Anxiety relief
Yoga can help you relax. Because there is a link between anxiety and respiratory difficulties, yoga’s breath training may be very beneficial. Yoga may not be beneficial if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety problem. Yoga is still used by some psychologists to enhance other forms of therapy.
Yoga has been known to help bring about calmness and a peaceful state of mind. A study on Yoga has shown that yoga practice can reduce stress, and anxiety and help deal with depression. Practitioners often incorporate asanas, breathing techniques and meditation in their stress management to help ease physical stress as well as declutter the brain.
- Boost Confidence
A simple yoga routine can have many benefits to one’s confidence and self-esteem.
It begins with hormones released when exercising called endorphins. These are known to uplift confidence and boost mood as well as energy levels.
Continued yoga practice can increase strength as well as flexibility, allowing you to find confidence in newfound abilities. As a bonus, yoga even improves your posture as well as aids in weight loss, resulting in an improved physique so you can stand taller and feel physically lighter.
Yoga boosts your body image, allowing you to be more confident in your skin and opening you up to more opportunities for growth.
- Body Awareness
In yoga meditation, you are encouraged to sit down and scan your body for any tension or stress that may have caused stiffness in your muscles and limbs.
Stretches and poses, on the other hand, use the full range of motion to open you up and allow you to relieve your body of aches and pains.
Yoga teaches you what you can do but it also allows you to recognize the things you can’t do, yet. Yoga encourages you to accept your limitation and work within them to achieve challenging poses. This may mean starting with modified versions of poses before attempting the original or it may mean finding a pose that works and feels better for you. This not only enhances your awareness of the current state of your body but also allows you to challenge limitations in your own time, to reach even deeper levels of understanding and appreciation of your body.
Studies have shown that yoga helps with burnout. Yoga has become a popular form of self-care and has been seen to improve self-regulation, emotional awareness and attention regulation. It allows you to have a deeper relationship with your body so you can recognize the telltale signs of your body when it needs to take a well-deserved break.
Yoga practice allows space for interoception, also known as the perception of sensations from inside the body. This means your awareness is not limited to bodily aches but it allows you to relate your emotions and mental states to physical sensations such as your heartbeat, respiration and other function of your nervous system.
This means, throughout your practice, you gradually become more conscious of how stress is affecting your body, and how it speeds up your heart rate and gathers tension in your shoulders. Yoga brings these to your attention and equips you with the necessary breathing and meditation techniques that can help you return to a state of calmness.
- Supportive Community
The Yoga community is comprised of experts and beginners, all of whom consider themselves students for life. It is easy to find a community online that can help and support you in your practice and is also easy to find support in your local community or a gym near you.
You’ll find instructors who can give you in-depth knowledge on how to execute an asana safely as well as how to deepen your meditation practice. You can bring friends or loved ones to your next yoga lessons or you can bond with the other students who are taking the same class as you.
Regardless of where you are in your practice, you’ll find people who will support, empathize and maybe even join you in your journey as you pursue health and overall wellbeing.
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.
Yoga can also be learned online or from a book or DVD. However, taking a yoga session in person is the greatest way to avoid injury. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you can practice using books and videos.
Yoga benefits you more if you practice it at home in between classes, and online programs may keep your home practice interesting. If you’re comfortable doing yoga at home, you can use it to cope with stress, insomnia, or other difficulties.
Yoga can become a meaningful addition to your pursuit of health and wellness. It provides various physical and mental benefits that can equip you with the necessary tools to handle stress gracefully and move through life with confidence.