How the Practice of Yoga Can Positively Impact Your Mental Health
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Most of us acknowledge the importance of taking the time to invest in our physical health and/or fitness. Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health, this is often not the case as most of us believe that "if we can't see it, it doesn't exist".
When we do not take care of our physical health, most of us understand that we'll be putting ourselves in a position where we become susceptible to diseases or ailments. These physical symptoms and effects are very much visible to us and therefore harder to dismiss.
Whereas when it comes to mental health, when one falls victim to a mental health condition such as depression, the symptoms and effects can easily be ignored or self-diagnosed as merely a phase of bad mood.
That said, due to the isolating nature of the Covid-19 situation, more and more people are realizing just how crucial it is for us to pay as much attention to (if not more) to the state of our mental health.
When it comes to mental disorders or ailments, prevention is certainly better than cure, as they can be difficult and time-consuming to treat.
Luckily, there are plenty of things we can do to maintain and boost the level of our mental health.
One great thing you can do to help yourself achieve this goal is adding yoga to your daily routine. Many studies have proven that yoga helps to relieve stress, lower anxiety levels, fight depression, improve sleep quality and provide an overall sense of wellbeing.
Keep reading and learn how maintaining a regular yoga practice can help you cope with mental health issues!
Disclaimer: Note that the tips below are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you suspect that you’re suffering from mental health ailments or conditions, please consult your physician and/or mental health professionals.
How yoga can improve your mental health
Image credit: Om at Home
Whether you have a mental health problem or you just want to improve your wellbeing, there’s a big number of studies suggesting that yoga can enhance the quality of life for everyone.
As you may already know, one of the main goals of yoga is to relax and quiet the mind by stretching the body, breathing consciously and meditating. This helps to improve your mood, heart rate and lungs.
Also, a review study found that yoga is as effective or even better than any other form of exercise for building physical stamina. By holding postures through extended breaths, you increase endurance, strength and flexibility.
All scientific research has concluded that yoga has a positive impact on modulating stress response systems. When you decrease physiological arousals such as heart rate and blood pressure, you’re better suited to manage pain tolerance, anxiety and depression.
In fact, several articles that have studied yoga as a treatment for various mental health disorders, report significant results in people with depression.
Moreover, yoga provides the opportunity to share experiences and to feel connected to others, as classes usually take place in local studios where you get to meet locals and participate in social events, making you feel part of the community. And it gives you something in common, which always helps to create a sense of belonging.
So, the list of positive effects of yoga for mental health could go on forever. Indeed, if you research this topic, you’ll find plenty of articles and scientific papers talking about the wonders of yoga. However, to have a first-hand experience, you’re always invited to go on a yoga retreat for beginners where you’ll learn all the basics of the practice and kickstart this awesome new habit!
Why practicing yoga can help you take better care of your mental health?
Image credit: Copal Retreat
Whether you’re going through difficult times or not, there are many reasons why a regular yoga practice can help you improve your mental and physical health. Here are some of the most relevant:
- It provides quality me-time, which is good for recharging the body and the mind
- It allows you to move, stretch and release muscles that were tight before, giving you a sense of freedom
- It helps you to become more flexible, both in your body and your mind
- It teaches you to accept yourself as you are, including your limitations
- It anchors you to the present moment by slowing and deepening the breath
- It forces your mind to attend to your physical sensations and to connect with your needs
- It teaches you to go with the flow and to embrace change
- It brings you to your natural self through the imitation of nature
- As a form of physical exercise, it produces serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer
- Finally, the tensing and stretching that many asanas require can feel like a massage for the body
>>READ MORE: Can You Go on a Yoga Retreat if You’re a Beginner?
Last piece of advice
Image credit: Yoga Ground
From the calmest types of yoga like Yin to the most dynamic and vigorous styles like Power, there’s a style for every taste! Do give some of them a try until you find your favorite one.
During a yoga retreat, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between different styles and will be advised by a professional instructor on which type of yoga can be best for you.
After a few sessions of yoga, you’ll start feeling calmer and ready to interact with the world in a more functional and meaningful way!
*Cover image credit: Tai Chi Fuerteventura Wellbeing Retreat
Want to experience all the benefits of a yoga retreat without having to leave the comfort and safety of your own home? There are plenty of online yoga retreats to choose from!