In previous months, we have discussed the many health results that are produced when participating in yoga regularly. If you haven’t read the July blog, “Yoga for Your Health”, check it out here. Hot yoga is a dynamic and deeply physical style of yoga. To name a few benefits, the practice can improve one’s health by releasing tension in the body, enhancing stamina, increasing flexibility and improving posture. However, the benefits of yoga aren’t just physical. There are many mental health benefits to practicing yoga, ranging from reduced anxiety to increased mindfulness. As World Mental Health Day is celebrated this month, we are sharing some of these benefits in hopes they will inspire more yoga to your daily routine.
Yoga improves focus
When stepping on the mat at Yoga Body Shop, focus is our primary goal. We help students achieve this by embracing more calm, more ease, and more presence through each class. However, one may wonder, does this truly translate to other areas of life? The answer is yes, and research have proven as such.
One study found that practicing yoga for only 20 minutes can give your brain an overall boost. Thirty female undergraduate students completed a 20-minute yoga session and 20 minutes of aerobic exercise on a treadmill. While the treadmill session resulted in no significant memory improvements, the yoga session led to improved performance on tests in speed and accuracy of information recall.
A professor associated with the study stated the following, “The breathing and meditative exercises aimed at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath…these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities.”
Yoga makes it easier to reach a state of mindfulness
The definition of mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations”. On the surface it may sound simple, but mindfulness is a skill that requires practice. Being present in the moment can be a surprisingly difficult state to achieve when today’s tug of technology encompasses most daily activities.
The concept of being present in the moment is central to the practice of yoga. When practicing yoga, it is also about getting to your “why” — why are you moving this way, why are you expressing this way, why are you doing the things you do in your life. Regularly practicing yoga sharpens the skillset needed to achieve a state of mindfulness with greater ease in all aspects of life.
Yoga reduces stress and anxiety
One of the most significant benefits of a yoga practice, in regard to mental health, is a reduction in symptoms associated with stress and anxiety through direct benefits to both the body and mind. On a physical level, yoga increases body awareness and reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation; on a psychological level, yoga sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system.
The immense benefits of yoga for mental wellness are well-documented. We hope you are inspired to experience the benefits for yourself. At Yoga Body Shop, we know that we have a beginner hot yoga class that can help you start this journey. We invite you to join us this week.