What Is The Impact Of Yoga For Mental Health?
The scientific research on yoga is still nascent and cannot fathom the depth of yoga with its impact on our over all mental health and physical health. Most research clearly does point in one direction that yoga is much beyond our mere body. Regular practice of yoga has a far deeper impact on us than just the physical dimension.
The word yoga comes from the root word “yug” which means “to bind” or “to yoke”. The underlying theme being connection. Finding that much needed connection with oneself and others.
Todays world is full of stress with how we choose to live and with our lifestyles. There is stress at work and as much in our personal life when we seek outside of us so much with constant triggers for external affirmations and a need to control our life situation. We are pushing our mind to its limits with all the negative self talk which is not needed.
More and more people turn to yoga for its benefits which are not just limited to the physical body but also mental health. This leads us to bring more yoga into our lives as a lifestyle choice.
Let us look at some yogic practices and how they impact our mental health positively.
Meditation has been practiced for years and it can be incorporated in our daily life easily with just a few minutes of dedicated time each day. There are various benefits of mediation when practiced on a regular basis including the below:
- Increasing self-awareness
- Gaining new perspective on stressful situations
- Bringing focus on the present
- Increase in imagination and creativity
- Increase in patience and tolerance
Pranayama or Breath Work
Pranayama is also referred by the west as Breath work. Breath work it is nothing but deeply rooted in ancient practices of pranayama. Taking its foundation from the various kriyas of pranayama.
We breath differently in our different mental states and how we feel is interconnected to it. So the moment we learn to regulate our breath we are able to regulate our emotions. Below are the benefits of pranayama:
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Reduces the risk of hypertension
- Helps treat depression
- Serve as detoxifying agent
- Strengthens the immune system
Mantra chanting works at a subtle level and has implications on the subconscious mind. Mantra chanting works like positive affirmations.
Major depressive disorder is thought to be the most common mental health issue in the world today.
Both asana based practices and breathing-based practices have been shown to help improve our mental health and thus have positive impact on our mental health reducing depressive symptoms.
Selfless Actions or Karma Yoga
Selfless actions or karma yoga go a long way in bringing true joy through actions. These have a lasting impact our mental well being. We live in the world of instant gratification which is short lived in terms of joy and happiness. While smaller acts of kindness for others give joy over longer periods of time and make life more meaningful thus having a positive impact on mental well-being.
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