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How Yoga Affects Mental Health

Blog by: Cassie Gerr, LSW


The mind and body are interconnected. Your physical health affects your mental health and vice versa. Yoga has gained popularity for many reasons, but it may still seem intimidating to some.  Yoga is not only about flexible poses and movement, but is focused on relaxation and mindfulness to help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Yoga helps to regulate your emotions and internal response to traumatic situations. It helps you to be in the present, find peace in distractions and to embrace balance in your life. Yoga allows you to focus on your own body to achieve healing. 


Below are 5 examples of the many mental health benefits of yoga (American Osteopathic Association, 2021).


  1. Dealing with constant insomnia or staring at the clock trying to go to bed? Then trying yoga at night before bedtime is known to increase your ability to sleep. It relaxes you to go to bed at night. Sleep is self-care and if you are not getting enough sleep then it can be difficult to function. Even a 10-minute bedtime yoga at night can help you sleep better! (WebMD, 2021).

  2. Incorporating yoga into your life can allow for you to feel better and have more energy. You might become more alert and have fewer negative thoughts throughout the day (American Osteopathic Association, 2021).

  3. Increasing your emotional health: Yoga allows you to be more self-aware and be okay with making mistakes to learn. It allows you to not judge your thoughts but be aware of them. Understanding everyone is imperfect in their own way (Godreau ,2023).

  4. Gaining resilience: this means gaining the ability to adapt and learn even in difficult situations. Yoga allows you to learn this through their poses that might be tough to keep at first until your body learns how to do so. It might push you to your limit and challenge you which creates resiliency and confidence. Through yoga, you will likely build strength that you might not even know you had! (Godreau , 2023).

  5. Yoga creates a sense of calm and clarity. As humans in a fast paced society, we are constantly on the go and do not acknowledge the present. Yoga allows you to do this and find a calm state to center your attention on the important aspects of your life. It allows you to be aware of your body, your mind, and relieve your stress through safe movement (WebMD, 2021).


Yoga is not just a physical exercise to lose weight or to build physical strength. It builds mental strength, and it is a mind exercise. Yoga can change your outlook on everyday life and allow you to be more present in your relationships with others and yourself. It can change your perspective and create more helpful thought patterns. 


Below are a few videos of yoga to try! 


If you are interested in learning more about yoga and other strategies to deal with stress, anxiety, or depression, reach out to Graceful Therapy to find the right clinician to support you on your wellness journey!



 

Videos to try:










 


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