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Welcome to our post “What are the benefits of Yoga for Mental Health?”
Yoga is well known for improving strength, reducing weight, reducing blood pressure, improving flexibility and lots of other physical improvements. But there is another side to Yoga and that’s it also improves our mental health.
Improved mood, less stress and anxiety can all be achieved through Yoga. Indeed, psychologists and psychiatrists are finding yoga to be an effective sole or adjunctive treatment option for several mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, Bi-polar and eating disorders.
Here are some mental health benefits of Yoga
1. Relieves Stress & Anxiety
The feelings of stress and anxiety can take a mental and physical toll on the body – feelings of frustration, nervousness, and worry that can lead to high blood pressure and uncontrolled diabetes. The calmness, relaxation, and fluidity of yoga has consistently shown to reduce stress and anxiety in a number of studies.
2. Improves Mood
Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.
Studies have shown yoga can increase quality of life in the geriatric population as well as patients with dementia and cancer.
3. Improves Mindfulness
Mindfulness plays a special role of syncing with emotions and is an informal meditation practice that can reduce daily stress, improve social relationships, and strengthen the immune system.
Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.”
4. Improves Concentration
Yoga can help with your concentration. Concentration is mental control and to achieve mental control, you need to focus. It can help you focus on what you want despite other distractions. Yoga is a traditional practice that helps to keep a balance between your body and mind.
Researchers from Duke University Medical Center write in their study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry. In order to explore the widely held belief that practicing yoga can relieve mental stress, the team reviewed more than 100 studies on the effect of yoga and mental health.
Researchers have made Their findings suggest that yoga does in fact have positive effects on mild depression and sleep problems, and it improves the symptoms of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and ADHD among patients using medication.
Here are some mental health issues that Yoga can help with.
The implementation of yoga has shown to improve personal scores of well-being and depression. The reduction of stress responses that follow yoga practices can contribute to lower levels of depression. Controlled breathing techniques can further provide depression relief.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
This is the name given to the severe condition that develops after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events. Symptoms common to this condition are recurring flashbacks, avoiding thoughts or people associated with the traumatic event, or numbing of memories of the event, and hyperarousal (high levels of anxiety).
There are several principles that yoga has to offer which help unravel the mysteries of our experiences and their impact.
According to the ancient knowledge of Yoga, one of the main stressors on our nervous system is the movement of the mind between the past and the future. Simply by sitting and observing our thoughts we can see this principle in action – we are either going over past events or considering what the future might bring.
This phenomenon is intensified in the case of PTSD treatment and considering the compounded effects that follow, it becomes a complicated and sensitive disorder with uniquely personal manifestations. Yoga helps bring calm and mindfulness to an otherwise traumatically stress
Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic brain disorder in which individuals may experience delusions, confusion, personality loss, and bizarre behavior. It cannot be cured but can be controlled with lifelong treatment, generally with a combination of medication and psychological and social therapy. Research suggests yoga as an add-on or supplementary therapy may be effective in treating schizophrenia.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper-Active Disorder)
Asanas can provide excellent relief in regards to ADHD symptoms, as they allow increased oxygen and blood flow to the brain — which can have a balancing effect on the nervous system as a whole.
They can help you to learn to lengthen and deepen the breaths, which allows for an overall feeling of calm.
Children and adults who suffer from ADHD often find themselves unable to connect their bodies and their minds, and yoga allows for precisely that connection to occur. The main goals are to quiet the mind and develop concentration.
Another incredibly important benefit in coping with ADHD is learning how to settle yourself when things feel out of control. Yoga teaches deep breathing which eases the mind, allowing you to cope much easier in difficult situations. It also increases your awareness to allow you to better control your emotions.
Stress reduction is very much a part of the Yoga doctrine. Less stress equals less worry, equals more sleep. Insomnia is now one of the worst afflictions for millions of people all round the world. Yoga helps in 2 ways, one is making you tired with the physical exercise and two, is, the calming of the mind.
This is very important for all types of sleep disorders, as they all pretty much thrive on stress, anxiety and worry. By calming the mind with deep breaths and concentration, we are less stressed and more sleepy when we get into bed, allowing improved sleeps.
The ancient Indian practice of Yoga is a movement therapy often used in the recovery process from an eating disorder. The nature and core of yoga exercises are developed as a practice to unite the mind, body, and spirit, accomplished in various ways and forms.
Behaviors associated with eating disorders often cause a disconnection between body and mind. Many of the abnormal eating habits involved with eating disorders are a result of a dissociation or detachment with the body and normal intuitive cues.