How Yoga Helps Mental Health?
There are many that, when discussing yoga and its benefits for individuals, solely focus on the physical aspect. Though yoga is indeed great for helping to strengthen your body and allowing for more flexibility and mobility, one of the best benefits of using yoga in your everyday life is the impact it has on mental health. The mindfulness and meditative aspects of the practices are specifically designed to help create a calm mind and recenter your energy so that you can cope with life.
There are tons of ways that yoga helps with mental health issues. Mental health issues arise a lot when it comes to anxiety and stress. Both of these issues are addressed by the breathing techniques and meditative mantras utilized in many different types of yoga. Along with this, it can also help with concentration and blood circulation, which all have impacts on mental health.
When it comes to how yoga helps mental health issues, there are so many different aspects that contribute to helping deal with symptoms. In this article, we're going to take a look at what causes mental health issues and how yoga helps with them.
Some Things That Affect Your Mental Health
Before we go into how yoga can help with mental health, we thought we'd take a look at mental health itself. There is a wide range of things that could affect your mental health. From isolation and loneliness to other health issues, you may find that you're dealing with some deep mental struggles.
One of the chief causes of mental health issues is of course anxiety and stress, brought on by a plethora of different things. By being able to alleviate these tensions, one may be able to help combat mental health issues. On a physical aspect, there are prescription medications and health issues that could exacerbate already underlying mental health issues.
That's why if you're feeling that you're struggling mentally, you should definitely reach out to your physician and see what they suggest you to do. One of the things they may suggest is incorporating mindfulness and physical activity into your life which is where yoga comes in.
Why Choose Yoga? Yoga’s Benefits on Mental Health
Yoga has been practiced for centuries and has a wealth of benefits in different categories of your life. Not only will you be able to have better physical health, but it also can affect your mental and spiritual health.
Sometimes mental and spiritual go hand in hand and in yoga, it tends to be. So, by utilizing the practices to realign your inner energy with the outer energy of the world, you learn how to become more aware.
By being more aware you stay in the moment and that means less anxiety and stress which are prime culprits when it comes to mental health issues. But along with that, you also get the following benefits:
As we said above, stress can be the leading culprit when it comes to mental health issues. Sure, stress also affects you physically both when it comes to chronic diseases as well as your overall health, but when it comes to mental health stress it is even more dangerous.
Yoga teaches breathing techniques and has you executing regular physical activity. Both of which will help your body and mind communicate better. The breathing techniques allow you to really align your energies and come to an understanding with your body.
By becoming more aware of how your body feels and the feelings that go through your mind, you can cope with them better. On a physical aspect, the increased blood circulation helps all the systems work well and that includes your brain, which is vital when it comes to mental health.
Sometimes the things that cause stress and anxiety are our everyday tasks. Most of us wake up with a checklist of things that we have to do and never feel like we have enough time. Rushing around doing everything so hectically creates a lack of focus when it comes to getting things done.
Through the breathwork and concentration of the meditative practices within yoga, one grooms the ability to have better concentration. Yoga teaches you to be in the moment and that in and of itself will help with concentration and allow you to focus so that you can easily achieve your To-Do List for the day. This in turn will result in less anxiety.
Yoga can help with mental health issues through the mindfulness practices utilized within its core principles. These practices of acceptance and non-judgment allow you to remove yourself from difficult situations and really analyze what's going on before you react.
By living a less reactive life, you are staying in the moment and this, in turn, will reduce your anxiety. That, coupled with the breathwork, and other core principles of the practice mean that mental health issues will be less exacerbated by increased anxiety.
What Type of Yoga is Best for Mental Health?
Because yoga can help with mental health issues, many practitioners and healers alike suggest it as a way to combat the symptoms. But there is a wide range of different yoga’s to choose from, and some are better suited than others if you're focusing solely on mental health issues.
One of the most suggested by many is Hatha yoga. This type of yoga is focused on simple movements and proper breathing. Because of this it is very successful in relieving stress and has been known to help with symptoms that are associated with things like anxiety, PTSD, and depression.
That being said, other types could also be beneficial for your mental health. Yoga practices like Vinyasa, Bikram, and Ashtanga are also great options. The trick is to try a couple of different types and find the one that works for you.
Yoga Poses for Your Mental Health
Any type of physical activity can be beneficial to your mental health. If you are choosing yoga though, you are also addressing your mental and spiritual health. That being said, there are some yoga poses that because of their physical components can be utilized to help with mental health.
Here are three of the best:
Standing Forward Bends
This can be really great for those dealing with mental health issues and stress that come from physical ailments like high blood pressure. As you're placing your head down, it's going to allow for more circulation and stretching of areas that could hold tension.
To do this you're going to stand with your feet equal space apart underneath your shoulders, and then you're going to bend forward at the hips. You want to rest your fingers on a chair and then open your chest as you do this. Hold the position for a few seconds and then finish going all the way down until your hands touch the ground. Hold this position as well for up to 30 seconds.
Head to Knee Forward Bend
This one is another stretching exercise meant to relieve tension in the muscles and this in turn will help with the blood circulation throughout your body. You'll sit on the mat with your feet out in front of you. Then keep your feet separated and let your hips drop to the mat.
Then bend your right knee and bring it as close to you as you can. Once you have that, you're going to twist your upper body in the opposite direction and try to touch your thigh to your stomach. Hold this position for a little bit until you feel a good stretch.
Legs Up the Wall
A great deal of stress and anxiety that contribute to mental health concerns is held within your back. So any pose that's going to help you relieve the pain and stretch that area out can be very beneficial to your mental health. For this position, you're going to start by lying flat on your back near a wall.
Lay down and relax in that position, and then lift your legs up and rest them on the wall. Hold this position for a little bit and then move on to one of the others. If you have problems with this you can also use a yoga bolster so that it is more comfortable for you.
In this day and age, with all the hectic running around we all do and the inundation of information, almost everyone inevitably suffers from some sort of mental health issue at some point. Understanding the tools you have at your hands to help combat these mental health issues is important and one of those is yoga.
There are many ways that yoga can help with mental health, and we hope by taking a look at a few of them we have helped you down your path to finding that happy, healthy life we are all striving for.