Have you been practicing, or have you considered practicing, yoga? Why? For a lot of people, they practise yoga to stay in shape or become more flexible. Yoga is known for it’s ability to build endurance, strength, and flexibility. It also helps those trying to lose weight! There are so many styles of yoga that there’s something for everyone, regardless of your current fitness level.
How Yoga Benefits Mental Health
It’s only after you have taken a yoga class that you realize that the mental benefits are just as profound as the physical benefits. Let’s go through a couple details about yoga and the mental health benefits.
Live in the Moment
One thing everyone should be striving for is the ability to focus on the ‘right now’ and let the past and future fade away from your thoughts. It’s in the moment that we can feel the most calm and joy. There is so much going on in our daily lives that it is extremely difficult to live in the moment. If you’re like the majority of us, you have bills to pay, a schedule to keep, and appointments you can’t miss. Living in the moment can often seem impossible.
Yoga forces you to stay completely present during your practice. All thoughts about yesterday, the mistakes that may have been made, and whatever you need to do tomorrow fade away as you hold your poses and focus your breathing. It’s a meditative practice. When you are living in the moment, even for the short time you are in a yoga class, you feel better about yourself, your day, and your life. You leave feeling positive, and this attitude boosts your mental health in a very powerful way.
There are many aspects of yoga that also help to reduce your overall stress. Focusing on breathing has also been shown to reduce stress hormone levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol. When exercising, endorphins are released that help boost mood levels and help manage stress in a more positive way.
There was a study by a Harvard School professor done on 11th and 12th graders in High School. During these developmental years, emotional balance is a big challenge. Teens are often battling with depression, anger, and feelings of being constantly overwhelmed. The study showed that teens who took a regular yoga class instead of a traditional physical education class reported that they felt more balanced and in control of their emotions.
It may go back the first two benefits discussed – yoga reduces stress, increases your body’s ability to manage stress, and forces you to be in the moment. These lessons of living in the moment and approaching problems with a clear head can be embraced throughout the day, thus providing a stronger sense of control, balance, and mental wellbeing.
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