Yoga and Mental Health
21st June is World Yoga Day, and if you don’t practice Yoga it is a day where the world is busy performing Asana and you find yourself wondering what the hype is all about. A recent Harvard study has revealed that practicing yoga modulates the stress response in individuals and also reduces the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. In this respect, yoga functions like other self-soothing techniques, such as meditation, relaxation, exercise, or even socializing with friends.
Yoga has the ability to make us feel one with our body; it offers a liberating feeling where we can feel calm, connected, clear and centered. One’s negative emotions, thoughts that you may find occupying their mind, take a backseat because of yoga. It increases self-efficacy as we become more active and help us nurture and support participation in social, work, and intimate relationships and also helps work efficiency.
Yoga emphasizes purposeful movements and the use of breath to guide us through asana(s). It increases awareness of present-moment experience and as a result, can help individuals become aware of negative moods and the dwelling in negativity and reduce “mental chatter.” It is a mind-body practice that provides a gateway to access the part of the brain responsible for survival and maintenance, which helps individuals with trauma to relearn how to deal with unpleasant internal experiences in a safe environment.
Yoga functions like a self-soothing technique in that it alters the stress response system, helping to “tame” and quiet down the nervous system and balances our fight-or-flight response. When perceived stress is reduced, the physiological arousal associated with it is also managed controlling the heart rate and hence the body’s ability to respond to stress.
So bring out your yoga mats, and enjoy the mental health benefits of yoga. Calm your senses and just breathe!
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