International Day of Yoga

When people talk about yoga, they often reference the physiological benefits of the practice, such as increased flexibility and decreased muscle stiffness.  However, not enough is mentioned about the mental, psychological, and cognitive benefits of yoga – and there are plenty.  There have been several studies done to assess the effectiveness of yoga for brain and mental health – and the research has come back promising.

Ways in which Yoga can benefit you mentally and psychologically

It helps you build your sense of self

Through yoga, you get to know yourself and cultivate a more nonjudgmental relationship with yourself. You are building self-trust. You exercise more and eat healthier, because your unconscious mind tells you, “I’m worthy of this me time, this effort.”

At the end of the day, everything comes down to your relationship with yourself.

Silhouette of a woman doing yoga on the beach at sunset

When you get more confident and become more rooted in your sense of self and your center, you develop a healthy, balanced ego, where you have nothing to prove and nothing to hide. You become courageous, with high willpower. You’re not afraid of difficult conversations – you know you’re still going to be OK at the end of the day.

Yoga boosts memory and improves concentration

There may be certain instances in your life when you find it difficult to concentrate on your day-to-day tasks. Thankfully, you now have an idea on how to address this issue.

Yoga has been proven effective at improving your memory and concentration. For instance, Dharana, otherwise known as the practice of concentration, is the perfect way to clear your mind and calm your senses. As you remove the static noise in your head and focus your mind, you’ll find that you’re able to remember things, concentrate, and perform much better.

Yoga improves your psychological/mental well-being

Do you always seem stressed and tense? Do you feel as if you’re carrying the entire world on your shoulders? With the help of yoga, you can put those unhealthy feelings on the wayside. By helping discharge tension and stress, yoga poses and breathing exercises keep a person free from such negative elements. As a result, a person who does yoga is better able to achieve the pink of psychological health.

Yoga helps with anxiety and depression

Consisting of activities such as relaxation, meditation, socialization, and exercise, yoga has been proven helpful in reducing your anxiety and depression. According to a Harvard University article, yoga can accomplish this by helping regulate a person’s stress response system. With its ability to lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as improve respiration, yoga provides you with the means to deal with and resolve anxiety and depression without resorting to expensive medications.

Yoga prevents the onset of mental health conditions, which are prevalent during adolescence

Adolescence is a stage in one’s life when a variety of mental health problems are more likely to develop. With the many cases of psychological disorders diagnosed in teenagers, it has become imperative to find ways to prevent the onset of such mental health conditions. Yoga, among others, has been seen as a helpful method that can be used to protect adolescents from mental illnesses.

This is according to a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The said study had some of the subjects enrolled in PE classes centered on Kripalu Yoga. This type of yoga involves physical postures, breathing, relaxation, and meditation. In comparison to the control group, the yogis displayed better moods, lower levels of anxiety and tension, better anger control, improved resilience, and enhanced mindfulness. These are just some of the many factors that are important in the prevention of psychological conditions in teenagers.

Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We do not transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.