How often do you practise Yoga? Is it part of your exercise routine?
Staying healthy is equivalent to living long, and yoga is one of the most popular exercises known to improve mental health and general body wholeness. It is a mind-body activity that integrates meditation, controlled breathing, and increased flexibility. But while you enjoy the physical benefits, here are some mental benefits of this routine you would want to explore.
1. Yoga reduces stress and anxiety
Although stress is a natural part of life, it is manageable. When you practice yoga, whether it’s SUP yoga or yoga on land, it will help you manage stress, as it engages the mind. It triggers relaxation and reduces your chances of developing chronic stress disorders. A recent study also showed that over ten sessions of yoga significantly reduced stress and anxiety in women. So, instead of worrying about the issues of life, do yoga, and stay very much in control. This is one of the many benefits.
2. Yoga minimises insomnia
There are numerous cases of insomnia among people of different ages. Instead of depending solely on recommended medications to stabilize your sleep routine, practising yoga can help improve your sleep quality. On days when you have difficulty catching some shut-eye, utilise the yoga exercise.
3. It promotes mindfulness
One of the perks of mental health is being in control of your environment and body. Mindfulness is being fully aware of your surroundings within each present moment. And Yoga relies on the Buddhist teachings of mindfulness. Engaging in challenging poses for long periods helps one develop deep focus and awareness. Connecting our minds with each breath also allows us to experience what it feels like to be in our bodies.
In addition, the mindfulness you enjoy while practising Yoga will extend to other parts of your life and help you regulate your emotions. It also improves your mental health by increasing your level of consciousness and changes how you experience the world (positively).
4. Yoga stimulates confidence and empathy
Low self-esteem and inferiority complex are some of the proponents of social vices, such as drug abuse, cultism, etc. Yoga helps you to self-examine and explore parts of yourself that you may have been missing out on. In other words, Yoga helps you to develop a positive mindset about yourself and your body. Experiencing an increased level of positive emotions increases self-esteem and fosters a sense of compassion for yourself and others.
5. Yoga practice improves mood
Learning how to practice Yoga is one of the easiest ways to improve your mood. One study found that daily yoga practice significantly raises serotonin levels while simultaneously decreasing stress-induced cortisol levels. Yoga engages you physically. And being physically active is known to help increase happiness. Yoga is especially beneficial because of its calm and gentle nature or practice.
6. Learning to practice yoga reduces PTSD
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the known mental ailments. Apart from having several therapy sessions, you can also practice Yoga to help reduce the symptoms and effects of PTSD. Yoga also has a calming effect on an overly-stimulated nervous system. Practising yoga promotes stillness and self-regulation, especially for those living with PTSD.
Learning to practise yoga is an effective and secure way to minimise the rate of mental illnesses in people of all ages. Although this article emphasizes those with one or more mental illnesses, practising yoga has been shown to improve the mental stability of even those who do not have any medically diagnosed mental ailment. Yoga increases optimism, positive emotions, attitudes, and physical improvements for those who practise it.
And since there are many ways of practising yoga, there is no precise answer on what type of Yoga improves mental health. However, there is an overall correlation between learning how to practise yoga and improving mental health. It is also effective in minimising the symptoms of mental illnesses, increasing positive thinking in individuals suffering from depression, lessening symptoms of PTSD, and helping those suffering from anxiety.
Whenever you want to take a break from the activities around you, consider practising Yoga. It can also be personalised to your preferences or to fit your needs. So, do not try to imitate anyone. And, if you are going through an illness, recovering from surgery, or living with a chronic condition, yoga can as well become an integral part of your treatment and potentially hasten to heal. This is because it places importance on emotions, physical sensations, and thoughts that arise during practice. Beyond being an exercise routine, it is medically recommended for general body well-being.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.