Yoga has been used for centuries to promote physical and mental well-being. While the physical benefits of yoga are well-documented, the mental health benefits are often overlooked. Yoga can help improve mental clarity and focus and can also help foster a close connection with oneself and the world at large, encouraging positive values such as patience, kindness, and compassion. Keep reading to learn more about how yoga can positively impact your mental health.
Reduces Symptoms of Depression
Studies have shown that yoga can be as effective as medication for managing the symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders. The practice increases levels of serotonin and GABA, two neurotransmitters that are known to be low in people with depression. Yoga also helps decrease the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, and promotes the secretion of feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin. Lastly, yoga also boosts levels of BDNF, a protein that helps protect the brain against depression.
Helps Ease Anxiety
Breathing techniques are an integral part of yoga. When you are anxious, your breathing becomes shallow, and your heart rate increases. This can lead to feeling dizzy, lightheaded, and short of breath. By practicing yoga and learning how to control your breath on the mat, you learn to manage symptoms of anxiety with controlled breathing when off the mat.
In addition, yoga can help calm the mind and ease stress. Yoga poses, deep breathing, and meditation can all help relax the mind and body, improving overall health. Some asanas that can help you deal with anxiety include the big toe pose, bound angle pose, easy pose, and more.
Finally, yoga can help improve awareness of your body by building strength and flexibility. This can help ease anxiety by giving you a sense of control over your body. When we feel physically healthy, strong and flexible, we are less likely to feel mentally anxious and stressed.
Promotes Mind-Body Balance
Poor mental health can also take a toll on your body. The connection between the mind, body, and soul is at the center of yogic teachings. The different asanas and breathing techniques are designed to ground the mind and body, bringing about a sense of balance to your life. There are several poses, like the supine spinal twist and fish pose, that can ground you and uplift your spirits.
Helps Develop Patience and Endurance
Patience and endurance are two important qualities that can help you in many aspects of daily life. Yoga is a fantastic way to develop these qualities, as it requires you to hold poses for extended periods of time and focus on your breathing and body movements. This can help you become more tolerant of others and develop the endurance to persevere through demanding situations you may encounter.
The Yoga Body Shop community is here to help you successfully navigate your journey of mental and physical health. All our teachers are 500- or 200-hour Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Instructors. Each instructor brings their own background, education, and experience to class—so that you can truly connect with them. We offer a number of classes daily, so you can be sure to find the yoga class and style that best fits your personality, your abilities and your schedule.