Benefits Of Yoga According To Science:
In recent years, modern medicine and research have proven that practicing yoga is good for your mental as well as physical health. In a study conducted by Harvard Health in 2009, it was studied that people who practiced yoga had a high tolerance for pain and were able to regulate their pain and stress responses. In addition, yoga works as a natural stress reliever, reduce blood pressure, and ease respiration.
Top 5 Yoga Mental Health Benefits
Stories about increasing levels of anxiety and anxious feelings populate the headlines in the U.S., as do articles recommending various ways to alleviate those feelings. One great option is the brain-boosting power of yoga. There are many who practice yoga who will tell you that the practice has changed the way they feel and think on a daily basis. But, to be more specific, how does yoga affect your mental health?
Check out these top five mental health benefits of yoga.
1. Relief from depression and anxiety
Because yoga is a combination of exercise, meditation, relaxation, and even socialization, it’s a wonderful way to relieve anxiety and/or depression.
Plus, yoga has the ability to reduce your heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure, thereby relaxing you and easing your anxiety and nervousness without having to use prescription drugs.
2. Reduce the effects of PTSD and similar conditions
Yoga may also help you deal with myriad types of stress, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder .
A study by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada and Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School found that participants in a kundalini yoga program showed greater changes in measures of sleep, positive affect, perceived stress, anxiety, stress, and resilience than those who didnt do yoga.
3. Boost concentration, focus, and memory
4. Improve your mood
5. Keep your brain young
Ready to improve your body and brain with yoga?
Take A Yoga Stand Today
Health is a state of complete harmony of body, mind, and spirit. When one is free of physical disabilities and mental distractions the soul opens. B.K.S. Iyengar.
Theres no better time than right now to take a stand for yoga. Yoga classes can vary from gentle and accommodating to strenuous and challenging. You want to choose your style of yoga by physical ability and personal preference. Ive practiced a yoga approach by guru B.K.S. Iyengar for 25-plus years. It is a less common style of yoga done today. Hatha yoga is the most common type of yoga practiced in the United States. It combines three elements that include physical yoga poses called asanas, controlled breathing practiced in conjunction with the asanas, and a short period of deep relaxation.
Yoga is most definitely a business today. The upsurge in the popularity of yoga has created a demand for competent, trained, and certified yoga instructors . Thus, make sure the studio you visit offers you the best in trainer certification, safety, and respect for individual differences in physical and mental health.
Choose a yoga class that fits with your physical ability and mental health needs. There are yoga classes for beginners and the advanced. There are also classes designed specifically for pregnant women, people experiencing pain from chronic physical or mental health illnesses, and the overweight or physically disabled.
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Scientific Research On Yoga Benefits
The U.S. military, the National Institutes of Health and other large organizations are listening to and incorporating scientific validation of yogas value in health care.
Numerous studies show yogas benefits in arthritis, osteopenia, balance issues, oncology, womens health, chronic pain and other specialties.
But What Are The Benefits Of Yoga
- Yoga improves joint and muscular flexibility, which is imperative for the bodys overall health. Enhanced joint and muscle suppleness translates to greater range of motion, which in turn, decreases the chance of an overuse injury.
- It increases endurance, strength, and flexibility.
- Yoga teaches deep, mindful breathing, self-awareness, meditation and connecting with our bodies, all of which are helpful tools for promoting mental/emotional well-being.
- Mental endurance and physical stamina are tested through holding postures for extended breaths.
- No matter what ails your aching body, or if you just want to take your fitness to a higher level, power yogas ability to build muscle has an undeniable effect on the total body.
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Does Yoga Therapy Help Depression
Depression can make anyone feel cut off and isolated. But remember: You are not alone. About 17.3 million adults in the United States are affected by depression every year. Studies suggest that yoga could help you feel better. Heres how.
Depression can really take a toll on your energy level and ability to concentrate. Yoga might give you the boost you need to get back to business.
Pro tip: Grossman suggests group sessions if youre experiencing depression, since the group setting can help combat a sense of isolation.
What About My Anxiety
Yoga is a great exercise for someone dealing with anxiety. Often people who suffer from anxiety disorders are preoccupied with what is going on in their heads. Predicting unpleasant events and re-living uncomfortable situations are common for those who struggle with anxiety. Yoga allows space to notice that right now, in this moment, everything is okay. Patients who have been diagnosed with panic disorders and other anxiety disorders, typically have decreased GABA activity in the brain. The chemicals that are released in the brain during a yoga class have been compared to the effects of the Benzodiazepine class of anti-anxiety medication.
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Yoga For Mental Health
Essentially, health means one level of pleasantness. If your body becomes pleasant, we call this health. If it becomes very pleasant, we call this pleasure. If your mind becomes pleasant, we call this peace. If it becomes very pleasant, we call this joy. If your emotions become pleasant, we call this love. If they become very pleasant, we call it compassion. If your very energies become pleasant, we call this bliss. If they become very pleasant, we call it ecstasy. If your surroundings become pleasant, we call this success.
We are trying to manage pleasantness by putting chemicals in. In the United States, it is said that seventy percent of the population is on some kind of prescription medication. In the most affluent country, where there is an enormous choice of nourishment and lifestyles, seventy percent are on prescription medication. You are trying to manage your sanity and health by putting chemicals from outside.
The human body is a very complex chemical factory. Managing it from the outside is very difficult. You could manage it from inside, but you must have access to your insides! Yoga gives you access to the very throbbing within you. There is an intelligence within you that can transform a rice grain or a banana or a piece of bread into a human being. With a piece of bread, you manufacture the most complex mechanism on the planet! If even a drop of this intelligence enters your daily life, you will live magically, not miserably.
Could Promote Sleep Quality
Poor sleep quality has been associated with obesity, high blood pressure and depression, among other disorders .
Studies show that incorporating yoga into your routine could help promote better sleep.
In a 2005 study, 69 elderly patients were assigned to either practice yoga, take an herbal preparation or be part of the control group.
The yoga group fell asleep faster, slept longer and felt more well-rested in the morning than the other groups .
Another study looked at the effects of yoga on sleep in patients with lymphoma. They found that it decreased sleep disturbances, improved sleep quality and duration and reduced the need for sleep medications .
Though the way it works is not clear, yoga has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness .
Yoga also has a significant effect on anxiety, depression, chronic pain and stress all common contributors to sleep problems.
Summary: Yoga may help enhance sleep quality because of its effects on melatonin and its impact on several common contributors to sleep problems.
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Yoga And Positive Psychology
The link between yoga and positive psychology is a strong one although yoga started with a slightly different focus, it is now commonly practiced in the West as an attempt to enhance well-being . Of course, well-being is a core topic in positive psychology, which explains the frequent use of yoga in intervention and exercises.
Further, yoga offers an excellent opportunity to enter flow, the state of being fully engaged and present in the moment with no attention paid to the time passing. Practicing yoga can help people cultivate mindfulness, develop greater awareness, and improve their ability to focus on what is at hand.
If you are interested in learning more about the connection between yoga and positive psychology, click here to read about a course on the link between the two subjects. You will learn:
- The history, core contributors, and traits researched and highlighted in positive psychology
- The inherent similarities between yoga and positive psychology explored through the Yoga Sutras and the Paths of Yoga
- How the Yamas and the Niyamas compare to concepts of positive psychology
- Practical interventions you can use in your yoga practice and your life
- The use and natural connection of the YogaFit Essence and Transformational Language
- Specialized cueing and pose selection
If youre ready to move on to a slightly different tack and learn about yoga and mental health activities, go on to the section.
The Reasons Why Its Craveable
To pause and breath, while moving through a series of movements and poses, eases the mind and body. With the calmness obtained from a yoga practice people find that their lives benefit in numerous ways, including:
- Clear headedness
- After a yoga practice, people can leave feeling refreshed and aware of their surroundings and internal issues
It is obvious that the effects obtained by practicing yoga can help to answer many of the symptoms and issues a person may be suffering from any personal issues. For most people, it will take the commitment and consistency of an on-going practice to begin to achieve the benefits of yoga in a lasting manner. However, for some people, the benefits can be acquired even after just one class.
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What Does The Body Have To Do With It
If you are still confused about how yoga helps mental health, I dont blame you. Body awareness intuitively sounds like more of a physical benefit than a mental one.
The thing is, all emotions are experienced in the body. Think about the butterflies in the stomach feeling of anxiety, or the way your body tenses up when you are apprehensive. Think about how you cry when you are sad.
These are the more obvious manifestations of emotions. However, every single emotion you have is felt in the body in a very specific way that you may not be consciously aware of. By improving your body awareness, you open yourself up to feeling your emotions more authentically and more fully.
Many mental health problems are exacerbated by our thoughts. We have strong associations with certain feelings. Anxiety leads to thoughts of failure and inadequacy. Sadness leads to thoughts of hopelessness and pain. Shame leads to thoughts of becoming smaller and hiding away.
When we get caught up in those thoughts, they become self-fulfilling prophecies. We avoid doing certain things to get rid of the anxiety, and act recklessly to get rid of sadness and other emotions.
This is why yoga is so beneficial to mental health. By connecting you with your body, it connects you more fully with your emotions. You become better able to track your feelings. You stop shying away from them and no longer act reactively.
Yoga Is Good For Your Mental Health
Almost everyone isaware of the physical benefits of yoga, but many of them are also familiar withthe mental benefits of yoga. Every type of exercise is very beneficial forhuman help but you guys one of the exercises that also change the mental healthof a person along with physical health. Yoga leads a person to enjoy countlessmental health benefits.
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Yoga Improves Your Psychological/mental Well
Do you always seem stressed and tense? Do you feel as if youre carrying the entire world on your shoulders? With the help of yoga, you can definitely put throw those unhealthy feelings on the wayside. According to the British Psychological Society, yoga involves concentration on the breath and body, which makes it a great way to soothe a persons mind and relieve worries. By helping discharge tension and stress, yoga poses and breathing exercises keep a person free from such negative elements. As a result, a person who does yoga is better able to achieve the pink of psychological health.
It Improves Mental Wellness
Whether you have a diagnosable psychological health condition or not, yoga benefits your state of mind and outlook. Research study recommends that practicing yoga encourages the production of GABA, serotonin, and dopamine all of which are neurotransmitters and hormonal agents that have natural antidepressant residential or commercial properties. Put another way, lower levels of GABA have been connected with psychological health conditions like schizophrenia, stress and anxiety, anxiety, and PTSD.
Additionally, routine yoga practice has actually assisted scientifically depressed patients. In one research study, patients either gotten medication or practiced yoga, or utilized a combination of both. Both of the groups that practiced yoga saw an enhancement in their cortisol levels and, interestingly, the yoga-only group decreased their anxiety survey scores.
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Is There Any Proof Yoga Helps Mental Health
Yoga has evolved from being a niche practice that basically used no equipment to a global industry worth billions of dollars. Its understandable that some people may be cynical about the countless mental health claims attributed to the highly accessible practice.
However, profiteering over mats and pants notwithstanding, the decades of scientific scrutiny heaped on yoga has shown it to have a wide variety of benefits to mental health.
This has led to yoga becoming an almost mainstream practice in mental healthcare, receiving government funding in many instances. Boston Drug Treatment Centers, a network of Massachusetts rehabs, reports yoga being one of the most widely used supplemental therapies for substance use disorders today.
Its becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the many proven benefits of regular yoga practice. Here, well outline some of the key mental health benefits shown by decades of meta-studies.
Yoga Helps With Back Pain Relief
Yoga is as good as basic stretching for easing pain and improving mobility in people with lower back pain. The American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a first-line treatment for chronic low back pain.Try it: Cat-Cow PoseGet on all fours, placing your palms underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. First, inhale, as you let your stomach drop down toward the floor. Then, exhale, as you draw your navel toward your spine, arching your spine like a cat stretching.
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Helps You Deal With Anxiety
Do you experience anxiety attacks? If yes, then too, yoga can help you out. Yoga can help you deal with the symptoms of anxiety in a much better way. That is why, when youre anxious instead of wandering over your negative thoughts, it is better to practice yoga is it will help you eliminate the symptoms and thereby avoid an anxiety attack.
Yoga Benefits Heart Health
Regular yoga practice may reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts. Several of the factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, can also be addressed through yoga.Try it: Downward Dog PoseGet on all fours, then tuck your toes under and bring your sitting bones up, so that you make a triangle shape. Keep a slight bend in your knees, while lengthening your spine and tailbone.
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Anxiety: Try This Breathing Exercise When You Feel Stressed
The science supports this too: Breathing exercises have been shown using MRI scanners to bring us into a relaxed state, says Dr Williams. It can push our bodies from being in a fight or flight mode, which is when your sympathetic nervous system is firing, into a more restful, calm state, with your parasympathetic nervous system firing, she says.
By bringing the physical and psychological parts of our well being together, it creates almost a cocktail of wellness.
Yogas Role In Psychological Treatments
Schmalzl hypothesised that the constant starting and stopping of movements found in yoga enriched the relationship between the caudate and other motor areas of the brain. Likewise, the constant planning that takes place during yoga practicemoving from one position to another with control and mindful attentionwould naturally harness the energy of frontal-cortical regions, thereby galvanizing the relationship between this region and the caudate.
If this really is an accurate rendering of the mechanisms Gard cites, it implies a major role for yoga in psychological treatments. People with mental health issues, such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, tend to have less volume and activity in cortical frontal regions of the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex . A robust PFC gives us the opportunity to shift attention, respond in novel ways, and appropriately manage our competing goals. From a neurological perspective, an effective psychological intervention would support the increased activity and strength of the PFC.
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