Yoga’s Mental Health Benefits
Yoga is a 5000 year old set of practices, rituals, and observances that can be applied to improve mental health. The word ‘Yoga’ is driven from Sanskrit word “yuji”, which means a union. Yoga aims at uniting the body and the mind and is established on the foundational belief that the brain is always amenable to change, meaning that Yoga is the oldest form of neuroplasticity. According to a study by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Yoga improves physical and mental health by improving biological markers of stress and inflammation. It reduces anxiety and depression and decreases the overall level of cortisol in the body. Yoga classes can be relaxing and simultaneously challenging. The style and intensive of practices depend on the physical condition and ability of the participant. Hatha Yoga is the most commonly practiced branch of Yoga that is practiced in the U.S. It combines physical poses, controlled breathing practices, and meditation. A study conducted at John Hopkins found that meditation was as effective as antidepressants in treating anxiety and depression symptoms. According to the journal, Frontiers in Psychiatry it also help people with schizophrenia.
Yoga modulates stress response systems by reducing perceived stress, hence lowering blood pressure and easing the respiration system. Studies indicate that Yoga helps in heart rate variability, enabling the body to respond to stress more efficiently. The Yoga postures focus on increasing physical strength, balance, and flexibility. It offers various cardio/heart benefits: it gets the heart. Yoga’s focus on mindful breathing and slow movement calms down the nervous system. Hence, yoga relaxes the responses through vagus nerve. A study was carried out at University of Utah that indicates that individuals with poorly regulated response to stress are more vulnerable to pain. Yoga helps improving the response. Yoga can help patients suffering from depression, anxiety or stress to manage the symptoms. Hence it should be a part of every viable mental health treatment management program. Yoga’s breathing practices are also known to calm down teens effectively to relax in strenuous situations. Yoga can help young people to stay away from drugs, alcohol, and self-destructive behavior by offering stress-management practices.
Traumatic experiences deeply impact the nervous system. Yoga can help in restoration since it has the capacity to work on a subconscious level. Dr. Bessel A. Van Der Kolk conducted a study on women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The women were feeling Post-traumatic stress even after therapy. Half the women participated in Yoga classes while the other half participated in a health education group. After 10 weeks, the Yoga group women showed significant reduction in PTSD reduction syndrome compare to the other set of women. Studies have also shown that Yoga can improve the connection between the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyrics acid (GABA) and brain cells. The more robust the cell connections in the brain, the better memory and cognitive functionality it will offer. That means that yoga also increases intelligence. Yoga a very deep-rooted healing affect. Researchers have established a link between gratitude and well-being. Yoga results in increased feelings of gratitude hence leading to well-being. Yoga also helps in self-acceptance thus helping people struggling with body image issues. Yoga also offers a number of physical advantages. It is known to reduce chronic pain, arthritis, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome. It improves muscle strength, respiration, vitality, and metabolism. It also helps in weight reduction, improved athletic performance, and improved athletic performance. There are certain studies that suggest that Yoga may reduce inflammation as well. There is several studies that suggest that yoga can also reduce the risk of heart related diseases. It offers an excellent set of practices for staying fit. Daily practice of Yoga tones the body muscles and strengthens arms, shoulders, and abs. Even a few minutes practice a day can make a huge difference. Before getting yourself registered or Yoga classes it is good idea to check with your physician. Moreover, there are various kinds of Yoga classes on offer. It is advisable to check the intensity of practices before getting registered. Given all the benefits of Yoga, it can be a very effective tool of recovery for people suffering from mental health issues.