Yoga Benefits for Mental Health

Yoga is a form of exercise that affects both the body and mind and is considered as a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. It involves breathing techniques that improve the blood circulation and strengthens the mind and body. Some people do yoga to gain physiological benefits such as flexibility and mobility, while others practice it to improve their mental health. It has proven to be an amazing way to de-stress and refresh your body and improve muscular flexibility.

According to research, yoga is all about psychology as it affects the mental health to a great extent. Today, we will discuss how yoga can be beneficial for your mental health. Following are the main benefits of yoga for your mental health:

Yoga Improves Memory and Concentration

Everyone encounters a situation in life when they are unable to recall things or concentrate properly. This problem is due to exhaustion and stress, and it slowly affects the proper functioning of the mind. According to research, yoga has a very positive effect on the mental health as it enhances your concentration and boosts your memory. Yoga involves concentration, and this helps you concentrate more easily on everything else.

Yoga Helps Fight Depression and Anxiety

Yoga involves exercise, socialization, meditation, and relaxation and it prepares the body to fight against stress, depression, and anxiety. The human body has a built-in mechanism to fight stress and depression, but that needs to be activated, and yoga does just that. It helps a person overcome depression in the following ways:

  • Yoga activates the ‘relaxation response’ of the mind and improves the functioning of those cells and genes that are responsible for controlling thyroid, metabolism, insulin levels, and cell function.
  • According to research, yoga helps regulate a person’s anxiety and depression response system.
  • By performing meditation and breathing exercises, yoga improves the respiration system, maintains the heart rate, and lowers the blood pressure to reduce stress and anxiety.

Yoga Helps Reduce Psychiatric Disorders

According to Harvard Mental Health, yoga had a great impact on the mental health of psychiatric patients in just one sitting. After yoga classes, these patients had reduced levels of anxiety, anger, depression, hostility, and aggressiveness. This is because:

  • Yoga affects the brain in such a way that it releases a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which plays an important role in controlling neural activities. An imbalance in this chemical can lead to problems related to mental health. The GABA receptors can also be controlled and activated using anti-depressants, but their long-term use can cause other side effects such as anxiety and insomnia.
  • Yoga can help people with a mental health condition such as those with psychological problems and psychiatric disorders.

Yoga Protects the Brain Against Aging

As a person gets older, the brain also starts aging and shrinking. Researchers have found a positive relationship between yoga and brain volume. Yoga practitioners have normally larger brains as compared to those who don’t practice it. Even older people who practice yoga have larger brains in spite of the aging process. A yoga practitioner’s brain maintains its size because it benefits from the relaxation response and positive effects on the mental and physical health. Through yoga, you start getting confident, more active, and livelier than ever and this prevents shrinking of the brain.

Yoga Reduces the Effects of Tragic Experiences

If a person has gone through a trauma, the best way to calm them down is by making them practice yoga. Yoga is a better option as compared to medicines and antidepressants as it has no side effects.

Most people who have faced a tragic incident may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it is necessary to help them recover from this condition. Patients who fall prey to this mental condition may experience flashbacks of the incident and nightmares, which can make their condition even worse. While some patients can be effectively treated at rehab centers, some people can’t come out of this condition by any means. In cases where all approaches have failed, one must try yoga as it has proven to be effective in reducing PTSD effects to a great extent.