There is a wonderful quote by Rolf Gates that “Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in”. The benefits of Yoga does not only for your physical health, yoga benefits for mental health as well. It is the ultimate practice that simultaneously stimulates your inner light and quiets your overactive mind. The whole practice of yoga helps you work with the nature of the mind.
Yoga is a practice that is known for its health and relaxation benefits and has become a daily practice among all age groups.
Yoga Benefits for Mental Health
It’s no secret that the benefits of yoga go far beyond just being able to bend over and touch your toes or hold a stationary plank. From physical strength to stress relief yoga can change the rest of your life. Here, learn more about some of the top yoga benefits that will have you rolling off your mat sooner.
What are the 10 Benefits of Yoga?
1. Flexibility in Muscles
Similar to improving the range of motion, yoga improves the flexibility of your muscles. As you perform different yoga poses, your muscles bend and stretch to achieve proper form. Over time, you will be able to move your body more and more as you get used to the movements of your body parts. Yoga targets the flexibility of different muscle groups, so you can pick and choose which movements may be more beneficial for your body.
2. Makes you happier
One study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and significantly increased serotonin levels and decreased monoamine oxidase and cortisol levels.
3. Cardiovascular Benefits.
Participating in a yoga “flow” practice focuses on hitting several different poses and getting your heart rate up. After a few minutes of yoga “flow,” you’ll quickly be sweating! A yoga flow can meet your daily recommended aerobic exercise in no time, taking advantage of the full cardiovascular benefits of exercise.
4. Weight Loss.
Increasing your aerobic exercise and building your muscle tone can often contribute to weight loss, combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Less excess weight means less stress on your bones and joints which can help prevent injury and the development of orthopedic conditions.
5. Gives You Peace of Mind and Reduces Stress.
One of the major reasons why many people choose to practice yoga involves its benefits on mental health and stress. While it can help improve your physical body, it also claims mental health benefits from meditation, mindful breathing, and mental imagery. Pairing these mental activities with physical movement can lift your mood, increase your awareness, and improve your self-compassion.
6. Gives Your Lungs Room to Breathe
Yogis tend to breathe less for longer, which is both quieter and more efficient. A study published in The Lancet in 1998 taught a yogic technique known as “absolute breathing” to people with lung problems due to heart failure. After one month, his average respiratory rate dropped from 13.4 breaths per minute to 7.6. Meanwhile, his exercise capacity increased significantly, as did the oxygen saturation of his blood. In addition, yoga has been shown to improve various measures of lung function, including maximal expiratory volume and expiratory efficiency.
7. Maintains Your Nervous System
A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health states that twenty minutes of yoga improves the brain’s ability to process information quickly and accurately (even more so than running). Yoga encourages you to focus on the present and pay attention. This mindful awareness has been linked to structural changes in the brain, including an increase in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with executive function, working memory, and attention.
8. Helps You Bond with Other
Whether you’re looking for a new workout buddy or just trying a new positive space with someone, a yoga class can be a great way to make friends. And having a new addition to your social circle has benefits that go beyond a Friday night pizza date; In fact, having enough social connections can improve everything from sleep quality to cognitive function, as Shepp previously reported.
9. Promotes Mindful Eating
Research has shown that people who practice yoga regularly eat more mindfully than other exercisers. Yoga encourages you to focus on your breathing and the sensations in your body. It trains your brain to notice what’s happening to your body, helping you to pay more attention to sensations of hunger and satiety. The result: you eat less instinctively and the negative effects of diet culture.
10. Increases Your Self-Esteem
Many people are suffering from chronic low self-esteem. If people handle self-esteem negatively like overeating, working too hard, taking drugs, sleep too much they may pay the price in poor health physically, mentally, and spiritually.
If you practice yoga regularly with the intention of self-examination and betterment you can access a different side of yourself. You will experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, as well as a sense that you are part of something bigger. While better health is not the goal of spirituality, it is often a byproduct, as has been documented time and time again by scientific studies.
Yoga Benefits for Mental Health
The benefits of yoga for mental health are immense. Yoga is basically the practice of breathing. The breath is the bridge between the body and the mind. In yoga, Breathing is very important because it makes the foundation for the different types of movements.
In the practice of breathing, you inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. There is science behind breathing. When you inhale through your nose your body and brain both get oxygenated. After inhaling when you exhale through the nose or mouth, all bad toxins, and carbon dioxide are out of your body. During this practice of breathing your brain releases some good chemicals like endorphins that help you to relieve pain and reduce stress.
Some Breath Work in Yoga
Some breathwork in yoga benefits mental health. There are different types of breath that you use in yoga and it differs by practice and particular flow. Different breathwork has different benefits.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
SIt, is in a position of meditation. Close your eyes and close your right nostril with the thumb of your right hand. Inhale deeply through the left-opened nostril until your diaphragm fills with oxygen. Hold your breath for a few seconds. Now, close the left nostril with the ring finger of the right hand and remove the thumb from the right nostril. Then exhale slowly through the right nostril. Then, inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat this process 8 to 10 times.
This pranayama gives instant relief from stress, anxiety, migraine, and many more mental diseases.
Bhramari Pranayama (Humming Bee Breath)
As the name suggests make a sound humming bee during exhale. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes by fingers and ear by thumb as shown below image. Inhale deeply through your nose and hold for a few seconds then exhale slowly making a sound like a humming bee. You can make the sound of om also. Practice it 8 to 10 times.
The sound of om and humming sound create natural vibrations that calm your mind.
Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath)
Bhastrika Pranayama or bellows breath also includes inhaling and exhaling but its pattern is different. In this, you inhale and exhale forcefully. You inhale deeply through your nose and then exhale forcefully through your nose. This process is a little fast than another breathing process. Repeat it 8 to 10 times.
Breathe in a Certain Ratio
This breathing pattern I have read in a book and I don’t name of this but I found it very effective. In this process breathes in a certain ratio. Inhale for one second, hold for four seconds and exhale for two seconds. You can increase this count accordingly. As if you inhaled for four seconds, you would hold for sixteen and exhale for eight seconds. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Why exhale for twice as long as you inhale? That’s when you eliminate toxins via your lymphatic system. Why hold four times as long? That’s how you can fully oxygenate the blood and activate your lymphatic system. When you breathe, you should start from deep in your abdomen, like a vacuum cleaner that’s getting rid of all toxins in the blood system.
There is more pranayama that benefits you, I shared a few of them you can try these and can get more benefits from them also.
How Does Yoga Benefits Mental Health?
The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being.
Change the State of Mind from Negative to Positive: Due to some difficulties and challenges your state of mind becomes negative. That is the state of unresourceful. Your mind does not work properly and you do not get ideas to come out of your challenging situation. But yoga changes your state of mind from negative to positive and you come into a resourceful state of mind.
Reduce Anxiety and Stress: You know what whenever you are under stress and feel anxiety your breath change. A person starts taking shallow breathing. So, in that situation, you just need to observe your breath and take a deep breath. Just control your breath, and your stress level and anxiety will automatically remove.
Heal Mental Diseases: Yoga is the ultimate healer. It heals mental diseases and even those diseases that cure is not in modern science. Yoga is like a miracle for those who cured of incurable diseases.
Detoxes Your Mind: Yoga removes all the negative thoughts and detoxes your mind completely. You always feel so light and fresh after doing yoga practice.
Increase Self-Awareness: As I said after yoga practices your brain releases some good chemicals that increase your concentration power.
Enlightenment: By doing yog you can achieve enlightenment and get the ultimate truth of the universe. You came to know the world you see outside is just an illusionary world. Your mind becomes enlightened. So, outside things can not manipulate your mind.
You can experience the benefits of yoga by only trying. Try and experience the benefits.
Read more blogs on the Right Way Of Breathing in Yog Science, 10 Important Science-Based Benefits of Yoga, Ancient Secrets of Breathing Science – Relation Between Breath Mind and The Universe, and Laughter Yoga.
He is the Founder and CEO of the Training and Counselling Company ‘Brain Soul & You’. He is an NLP Wellness Coach, Life Coach, Brain analyst, and Trainer for Education, Corporate, and Entrepreneurship. For more than 7 years, he delivered presentations on entrepreneurship, mind programming, and motivation. He did his B.tech in IT and later choose to be a successful psychologist. He is helping people in various ways through his counseling and training sessions.