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The 8 Mental Benefits You Can Get From Yoga

Though practicing yoga increases strength and flexibility, yoga and mental health has an admirable link. Practitioners of yoga and yoga-goers, may acquire mental benefits including an improved mood and reduced stress and anxiety.

The 8 Mental Benefits You Can Get From Yoga


Though practicing yoga increases strength and flexibility, yoga and mental health has an admirable link. Practitioners of yoga and yoga-goers, also known as a yogi (male) and yogini (female), may acquire mental benefits including an improved mood and reduced stress and anxiety. Additionally, psychologists and psychiatrists are finding yoga to be an effective sole or adjunctive treatment option for several mental disorders.

Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

1. Relieves Stress and 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. Sharpens Concentration

Yoga-goers can improve brain function with each yoga pose. Certain yoga techniques have been used to stimulate the brain and nervous system, thus demonstrating the practice of yoga may improve mental concentration and focus. Additionally, processing information may come more quickly and efficient.

3. Improves Mood

Though the exact mechanism is unknown, experts commonly approve an improved mood is similar to other exercise and relaxation techniques. Studies have shown yoga can increase quality of life in the geriatric population as well as patients with dementia and cancer.

4. Increases Mindfulness

Mindfulness is focusing on the present moment without judgment. The concept advocates to "focus in the now" and to be connected with oneself. 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.

Shown to Improve the Symptoms of:

5. Depression

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.

6. Sleep Disorders

Sleeplessness and chronic sleep disorders can be debilitating and troublesome for people of all ages. Cutting out caffeine and taking sleeping pills are two common practices to conquer insomnia. However, the stress-reduction and breathing and relaxation techniques that naturally come with the use of yoga may defeat insomnia once and for all.

7. Schizophrenia

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.

8. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD follows shocking and terrifying life experiences that may trigger flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety for months and years after or potentially lifelong. PTSD is common in veterans with combat trauma, physical and sexual assault victims, and witnesses to terrorist incidents and natural disasters. Although fairly new and unexplored, experts suggest yoga may be a beneficial supplementation to treatment programs.

Although yoga may be an effective treatment option in reducing brain and mental disorders, self-diagnosis and management should be avoided. Despite reduced symptoms and an improved psychological well-being, seek out professional assistance for the safest treatment options tailored to individual needs.

References:
Khoshaba D. Take a Stand for Yoga Today. Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-hardy/201305/take-stand-yoga-today.

Yoga for anxiety and depression. Harvard Medical School. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression.

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