The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’, which primarily means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’.
Developed by ancient Indians, yoga is a spiritual way of bringing harmony between the mind and body.
It incorporates meditation, breathing techniques and physical exercises designed to elevate sense of awareness by battling anxiety and calming the brain.
This post takes a look at 5 mental health benefits of yoga that can bring a monumental change to your life.
1) Yoga Moves You From Fight-or-Flight To Rest-and-Digest System.
Have you ever caught yourself obsessively thinking about work while Netflix is playing that show you were so excited about? Or fussing about all the unread books on your shelf while your eyes skim over the one lying open on your lap?
Some people have trouble relaxing. That’s because they’re always in fight-or-flight state. Yoga unfastens the tension knots in your body, moving you from fight-or-flight to rest-or-digest state of mind. The rest-or-digest state relaxes your entire body, relieving you of stress and calming that noise in your head.
2) Yoga Makes You Aware Of Your Shadow Self
Human beings are imperfect creatures, and we all have a dark side which we cannot stand facing, let alone tell others about. In yoga, this side of your personality is referred to as the ‘shadow self’.
People are not necessarily aware of their shadow qualities, which is why they never get a chance to work on them.
Many yogic postures allow you to play with your shadow self in creative, soothing ways, so you can slowly work on those underlying emotions, habits and motives that disrupt the peace of your mind.
3) Yoga Calms The Mind And Reduces Anxiety
Anxiety can be triggered by a number of things, prompting excessive release of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which plays a huge role in increasing blood pressure.
If not dealt with, anxiety can turn into an unwelcome shadow, a choking state of mind, a nagging presence plaguing every happy moment of your life.
Yoga plays a role in increasing serotonin levels in the brain, a hormone responsible for mediating happiness and optimism.
Hatha yoga, a popular alignment-focused style, increases the activity of GABA in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that controls overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety.
4) Yoga Improves Your Relationships
Stress leads to snappy behaviors, which in turn affect your relationships. When you are at peace with yourself, when you acknowledge your flaws and are willing to work on them, you learn to treat yourself with compassion. This allows you to accept people the way they are and adopt a kind, understanding and compassionate behavior that strengthens the foundations of all your relationships and removes any toxicity from your life.
5) Yoga Helps You Become Self-Aware
People fear being judged. That is quite normal, justified even, especially if they are their biggest judge. Yoga helps you delve deep into your sense of self and recognize the light flooding your subconscious, waiting to encompass your true self – the unstoppable, force of nature that fears no judgement, stops at no obstacle and lives a life of self-satisfaction and harmony. By being self-aware, you are able to push your limits and explore the never ending depths of your potential.
Yoga is not merely an exercise, a bending of bones. By bringing your thoughts to a standstill, yoga helps free the mind, which is where anxious thoughts and negative patterns are developed. When you’re mentally relaxed, you are naturally more focused and productive, leading to a happier and healthier lifestyle.