Laura is a yoga teacher who completed 200 hours of training.
Are you suffering from stress, anxiety or poor self-esteem? Then you'll likely benefit from some yoga time.
Research shows that yoga and its key elements (think breathing and meditation) will not only help you feel happier and better about yourself but also change your brain, boosting focus, concentration and your ability to solve difficult problems.
Read on to learn:
the amazing mental benefits of yoga
the not-so-mysterious ways yoga positively affects your mental health;
Aside from helping you become more aware of your body, yoga helps you relieve stress, as well as calm the nervous system, increase attention, and improve concentration. 4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19916343/
In spite of the fact that yoga has very positive impacts on mental health, it is still not widely used in clinical practice.
How does yoga improve mental wellbeing?
Yoga improves your mental well-being in the following ways:
Yoga modulates your hormones, increasing the levels of "happy" chemicals and decreasing the ones causing stress such as cortisol;
Yoga helps you sleep better, putting you in a better mood the next day and increasing your energy levels;
Yoga improves your cognitive function, making you more focused and better at solving tasks;
Yoga makes you less reactive and less prone to stress;
Yoga increases your self-esteem and confidence, increasing body awareness and teaching gratefulness.
Can yoga heal mental issues?
Yoga is now being increasing used as a complementary practice along with psychotherapy and medical interventions to help improve the following conditions:
Which yoga is best for mental health?
I'd suggest going for a slower and calmer style of yoga such as Sivananda, Iyengar, and Gentle Hatha for mental health. These styles focus not only on physical postures and strength-building but also on proper breathing and final relaxation.
That said, there are a lot of yoga styles out there and each one can help improve mental clarity and overall wellbeing in their own way.
Also, yoga modulates the hormone activity, including dopamine and serotonin that make us feel content and joyful.
On top of that, yoga turned out to be more effective in increasing your mood than walking or a physical education session.
Does yoga make you calmer?
Research shows that yoga can make you a calmer and less emotionally reactive in daily life.
A short practice of yoga increases GABA levels, a neurotransmitter high levels of which are connected with relaxation and joy. On top of that, yoga makes you less reactive to stress and other negative stimuli by reducing blood flow to amygdala - a part of the brain that processes emotions.
There are a lot of breathing techniques to try but one of my favorite ones is called Brahmari - the Humming Breath. Brahmari pranayama is said to quiet the mind troubled by depression, anxiety, or negative mental “tape loops.”
Here's how to perform the Humming Breath:
Sit in a comfortable position on a floor or a chair.
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breathe through your nose and hold it for as long as comfortable.
On an exhale, start making a humming sound in the throat, feeling the vibrating sensation in your mouth, tongue, teeth, and even the top of your head.
Repeat for about 5 rounds and return to your normal breathing pattern.