The mental benefits of yoga are undeniable. And since the discipline has become more popular over the last decade, people of all ages have noticed the positive effects that this practice has on their mind and body. However, this practice is not new whatsoever. In fact, it is believed that the origins of yoga date back to nearly 5,000 years ago.
So, why are more and more people turning to this discipline in modern times? It’s important to note that while yoga has many physical benefits, it also has a lot of mental ones, as well. And in a society plagued by stress and frustration, yoga has helped many to reach a state of peace and positivity.
Here are some of the greatest mental benefits of yoga:
A Relaxed Nervous System
Through different calming exercises, yoga transitions your body and mind into a state of relaxation—and it moves your body from an energy production mode to a rest mode. Throughout our daily lives, we rely on our sympathetic nervous system to function and make decisions. But when we engage in yoga, our body shifts to the parasympathetic nervous system. This system puts our body in a relaxation state which allows our pulse to slow down and makes our anxieties dissipate. So—forget your worries, close your eyes, and rest.
Bid Stress Farewell
The calming effects of this discipline are not limited to the time your session lasts. Multiple studies have demonstrated that yoga can significantly reduce cortisol, which is the hormone mostly responsible for causing stress. With this hormone minimized, stress is almost nonexistent. Yoga also teaches the participant techniques that help to control one’s stress in all situations. Some of these include mind exercises and breathing techniques. Yoga isn’t just fun and relaxing—but it can ultimately become a life-changing practice too.
Yoga is centered around creating a positive state of mind. It encourages positive thinking and discourages all negative thoughts. There is no room for judgement, criticism, or worry when engaging in this discipline. People can learn how to be their best self through these healthy ways of thinking. Their mental health will surely benefit from it.
Yoga and Psychology
Yoga helps people connect with their inner selves. It encourages a person to analyze their feelings, thoughts, and values. This isn’t different from psychology’s goal of helping people understand their inner selves. In fact, yoga is used as a therapeutic tool in many psychological fields. By cultivating a state of mindfulness and well-being through yoga, people’s mental health can truly improve.
Not only does yoga improve how you think of yourself, but it also improves how you think of others. By discouraging judgement and other negative ways of thinking, yoga can significantly help you improve your relationships. Thinking positively of others will help you be more empathetic and understanding, which will lead to better communication. Better communication creates stronger relationships. And stronger relationships positively improve your mental health.
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Article written by Tony Barrera. Barrera is a writer and editorial intern with Green Living magazine.