Self-Care: 3 Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Mental Health
Yoga is a very popular physical activity that is always known to improve mental health. The combination of breathing, meditation, stretching, and poses are all designed to give anyone that practices it a sense of relief.
When it comes to self-care and taking care of mental health, yoga is always recommended. It already has this image that can somehow turn your negative feelings in your surroundings into something positive.
But have you ever wondered how yoga makes this possible? And in what ways can it improve your mental health?
This article will explain how doing this activity can improve your state of mind in three ways. But before we go there, let us first go deeper into what yoga is.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is best described as a full mind and body exercise. So unlike workouts that can make you lose weight or gain muscle, yoga goes beyond by giving your mind the exercise it needs, too.
This practice has already existed for thousands of years and was passed on from generation to generation. It was said to be originally a meditation practice only. However, it has been found that as you meditate, you get to recognize parts of your body that need something, and that’s when stretching and the physical aspect were added.
Added to that, it even teaches you breathing techniques that help you focus and relax. What’s good about learning these techniques is that you can even apply them any time when you’re stressed out.
As you can see, yoga involves two of the main things we need to relax our mind: meditation and breathing. Here are some ways how these two improve our mental health.
Yoga Combats Negative Emotions
When you’re experiencing a lot of stress, negative emotions flow in your body - anger, anxiety, worry, etc. This is mainly because your body reacts to stress by activating the sympathetic nervous system, which increases our blood pressure and heart rate.
It will take a lot of time before you get this down. But with the correct breathing, you can reserve your body’s reaction.
As you already know, yoga involves a lot of breathing. Combine this with meditation, and you can learn how to focus on your breathing. This immediately sets you into a relaxed state, lowered heart rate and lowered blood pressure.
Now, combine that again with physical exercise, and it will help boost circulation and release of dopamine and other good brain hormones. This is what makes you happier and have a more positive outlook.
Yoga Promotes Productivity
Yoga also helps you perform better by promoting productivity.
Sometimes, you might be unproductive because you’re tired. Your mind might not have gotten enough rest, and this is what yoga can help you achieve. On top of that, it helps reduce stress which prevents you from being your best, creative self.
By doing yoga first thing in the morning, you get to set the mood for the day. Again, you’re releasing dopamine, which helps make you happy. And the happier you can perform better than the grumpy, angry version of yourself.
Now that you’re in the mood, it also gives you confidence that you can accomplish anything. Yoga can sometimes bring this feeling of empowerment that you start to feel good and believe in yourself.
But the best part is, this physical activity stretches out most parts of your body, from your back to your shoulders and neck. It allows you to release any stiffness, which helps make you focus on your work better.
Yoga Helps Clear Your Mind
Yoga allows you to focus on the present, on your breathing, and on your body. Therefore, whatever problems you have at work or any troubles in the past, yoga pushes that away from your mind.
Instead, the practice pushes you to feel and listen to your body at the moment, helping you understand what your body needs.
This practice stills your thoughts, so your focus is only on what you’re doing at the moment. Nothing else matters. And this is what puts you in a state of flow.
Yoga Poses To Clear Your Mind
If you haven’t done yoga yet and want to try, you can start with these five poses:
- Mountain Pose: Stand up straight, your toes facing forward, your hands together in front of the chest, and you bow your head. Then, hold your breath for 30 seconds when doing the practice.
- Butterfly Pose: For this one, you need to sit on the floor, your knees out to the side, then bring your bottoms of the feet together. Your hands can hold your feet to ensure they stay together. Then, breathe.
- Eagle Pose: This requires more concentration. Stand up straight. Cross one leg over the other, sink your hips (it depends how low you want), wrap your one arm to the other, and press your palms together (fingertips should be towards the ceiling).
- Standing Split: Stand straight, bend down to put your hands on the floor, then lift one foot towards the ceiling.
- Child’s Pose: Kneel on your mat (knees together or wide apart), bend over, let your forehead touch the mat, and stretch your arms forward.
With continuous practice, everything will become natural, and you can improve your concentration a lot by focusing on the moment. It will allow you to finish tasks faster because you’re not thinking about what other things you need to do.
Yoga has always been related to stress relief and improving quality of mind. However, there’s also no denying that familiarizing yourself with the practice is not easy.
Significant changes won’t be felt overnight, but yoga can get you in a flow state as long as you do things consistently. You can then supplement with Neuro Gum and Mints, and create a balance between your relaxed and active self.
Yoga is best described as a full mind and body exercise. Usual workouts can make you lose weight or gain muscle but not necessarily make your mind healthy. That's why Total Shape emphasized the balance of that with its fitness plans that even include yoga. Yoga goes beyond by giving your mind the exercise it needs, too.