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5 Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

by Stephen Bitsoli 

Yoga—a spiritual discipline involving physical exercise, breathing techniques, and meditation—has been around for at least 5,000 years (others say twice that) and some claim it dates back to the dawn of mankind and the Hindu deity Shiva.

Originating in Northern India, yoga is not limited to one belief system and has spread throughout many societies throughout time.

Whether you’re trying to get a bit more fit or are looking for inner peace and balance, understanding the top five mental health benefits of yoga can set you on the right path.

1.  Improve Your Mood

Yoga, like all exercise, helps release feel-good chemicals called endorphins throughout the brain, helping to elevate your mood. Yoga also may help to elevate levels of another brain chemical, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), known to be associated with reduced anxiety and better moods over time.

You may also notice that you are much more in control of your anger, reactions, and emotions as a whole. Having the ability to balance your emotions is essential for optimal mental health. It just takes commitment to and consistency in your yoga routine.

2.  Increase Intelligence

Participating in yoga regularly is not only a great way to find balance in the mind, but it may also help to boost your memory and ability to learn and retain information. Regular yoga sessions can lead to an increase in connections between brain cells.

3.  Reduce Stress

Reducing stress is not always as simple as squeezing a stress ball or venting to a friend. Sometimes, the body requires an additional outlet to let off excess steam and help work through troubles that are bogging down your mind.

Incorporating yoga into your routine may help prevent heart disease and other preventable ailments caused by stress. These include substance use disorders that could result in the need for an inpatient or outpatient rehab program to help get back on track.

4.  Improve Your Focus

Stress can also make it difficult to remain focused on any given subject, such as work or spending time with your children. Thirty minutes of a yoga routine daily—even at the beginner level—can improve your ability to focus and remain in the moment.

Yoga can help you to decompress and learn how to focus on what is most important; your inner peace. Yoga helps you to:

  • Stop overthinking and
  • Focus on your breathing and the world around you.
  • Block distracting and intrusive thoughts
  • Maintain a clean, blank slate for true inner bliss.

5.  Facing Trauma

Overcoming trauma is not always as simple as journaling your trauma and deciding to let it go. Coping with trauma requires true commitment. Yoga can teach you to better control your thoughts and how you respond to the world outside you.

Yoga is one of the most popular fitness trends that offers numerous mental and emotional perks as well. Incorporating yoga into your daily routine is not only physically beneficial, but it's also ideal to improve mental and emotional wellbeing.

Resources

  • com - History of Yoga
  • gov.in - Yoga: Its origin, history and development
  • harvard.edu - Yoga for better mental health
  • nih.gov - Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health: A Short Summary of Reviews
  • nih.gov - Effects of yoga on stress management in healthy adults: A systematic review
  • org - Take a Look at The Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health
  • com - The mental health benefits of yoga

 

 

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