How Can Yoga Improve Your Mental Health
Making the decision to begin yoga is a great start towards improving your mental health, but you might also be wondering what exactly yoga could do for your mind. The physical aspect of yoga—the ability to tone muscles and build strength through poses—is appealing to many people.
But, surprise! Yoga brings even more benefits than toned shoulders and arms.
Yoga has been linked to many positive mental health effects, including relieving stress, anxiety, and depression. The practice also enhances cognitive function in older adults, allowing them to retain their memory for longer. Yoga has even been shown to decrease the symptoms of children with ADHD.
What are these benefits? How are they achieved? Let’s dive in and learn more about yoga and its effects on your mental health.
What is Yoga?
Yoga typically takes place in a group setting, with one instructor leading the class through various poses (known as asanas). Each pose is held for several deep breaths, allowing for increased mindfulness of the body and mind. People who practice yoga often find that they are more flexible and stronger, both physically and mentally.
The Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health:
So, what are the specific benefits of yoga for mental health? Here are some key points:
-Yoga helps to relieve stress. This is likely due to the deep breathing exercises involved in yoga, which help to oxygenate the brain and calm the nervous system.
-Yoga can help to decrease anxiety. Again, this is likely due to the deep breathing and mindfulness involved in yoga. Yoga also helps you to focus on the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or future.
-Yoga may help to relieve depression symptoms. Similar to its effects on anxiety, yoga can improve mood by calming the nervous system and allowing you to focus on the present moment. Yoga also has a spiritual aspect that may help some people to find meaning in their life.
-Yoga helps with stress reduction and management. This is particularly helpful for people who feel overwhelmed at work or home and need a way to relieve stress.
-Yoga can improve mood. Yoga helps to lower cortisol levels, which are often elevated when someone is stressed or anxious. This change in hormone levels can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety, too.
-Yoga enhances memory. Those who practice yoga see an improvement in short term memory retention.
-Yoga improves cognitive function in older adults. Yoga has been shown to improve the ability of older adults to focus and process information, as well as improving their verbal fluency.
-Yoga helps children with ADHD. Children who practice yoga have been shown to have improved attention span, reduced anxiety, and better behavior.
How Yoga Affects Mental Health
So how does yoga actually affect mental health? Here are some of the most important ways:
-Yoga is particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety and stress, as it helps them to focus on the present moment. Given that we spend so much time worrying about future events or dwelling on past mistakes, learning how to be mindful and in the moment is key to living a happier life.
-Yoga’s breathing exercises are particularly helpful for those who have anxiety or stress, as deep breathing can help to release tension and calm the mind. This is true of both adults and children with ADHD.
-Yoga may not be able to cure anxiety or depression, but it can certainly help treat these conditions. Yoga helps to improve mood, decrease cortisol levels, and promote mindfulness.
-For older adults, yoga can help to improve cognitive function by keeping the brain active and engaged. This is important, as cognitive decline is a natural part of aging.
-Children with ADHD often have trouble focusing and paying attention in class. Yoga can help to improve their attention span and behavior, as well as reducing their anxiety levels.
So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your mental health, consider giving yoga a try. You may be surprised at the benefits you experience!