Find Your Balance: Mental Health and Yoga
Photo by Oksana Taran
Do you want to learn how to better care for your mind and body?
In our modern era, about 33% of people report feeling extreme stress. This stems from many parts of life, including high-pressure jobs, the demands of putting food on the table and paying bills, and the day-to-day stress of caring for children.
To maintain your mental health, you need to take care of both your body and mind. Many people use yoga for this purpose. Yoga allows people to participate in calming exercises and take some time for themselves.
So how can combining mental health and yoga help you?
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of yoga for mental health!
The Importance of Caring for Your Mental Health
Many people talk about the importance of self-care, but our daily lives don’t support a mentally healthy life. Most people have jobs that state they’re 40 hours a week, but the work often requires employees to put in extra time.
Studies show this isn’t healthy for our bodies. Working more than 10 hours a day has contributed to a 60% jump in cardiovascular conditions. Stressing over your job for more than 40 hours per week results in increased substance intake. Women also stand at a greater risk for depression, and men run the risk of gaining an unhealthy amount of weight.
But for many people, quitting their job and seeking a new one isn’t an option. Jobs provide necessary paychecks, and a lack of consistent work might cause mental health problems.
So, you need to find ways to care for yourself. Making sure your mental health remains in good condition allows you to perform better at work and experience more joy in your day-to-day activities.
The History of Mental Health and Yoga
Many people practice yoga as a form of relaxation and exercise. It strengthens your body and loosens your tight areas.
Yoga originated in the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in India around 5,000 years ago. It started as poses done by Vedic priests, and it later spread to other religions, such as Jainism and Hinduism.
It didn’t begin as a form of exercise. Instead, it was used to facilitate meditation and connection to a person’s inner spiritual life.
Over time, yoga became centered on several key principles. The first value consisted of analyzing the person’s cause of suffering and using meditation to alleviate the emotional pain.
As India began promoting pride in its own cultural heritage, it began spreading yoga to the rest of the world. Since the 1970s, people all over the world have been practicing yoga and have reaped its many benefits.
As such, yoga has a long history of encouraging mental health.
You now no longer have to be a spiritual person to practice yoga, either. Non-religious forms of the practice became popular as a wider variety of people started practicing it. Still, the core meditative portions remain and help people manage their stress levels.
So, you should take advantage of the benefits of mental health and yoga.
How Yoga Helps You Manage Your Mental Health
So, how does yoga for mental health work?
Yoga centers on a lot of deep breathing and meditation. Studies indicate these techniques may work along your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). Your HPA controls your sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which manages your flight or fight response. It also controls your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which, when activated, keeps you calm.
When you partake in deep breathing and meditation, your SNS system gets reduced, and your PNS increases. Because your fight or flight response is toned down and your relaxation system gets a boost, your brain interprets this as your body is in a safe and calm environment. This helps your mind calm down, naturally reduces your anxiety, and helps you feel more zen.
Yoga also reduces physiological responses to stress. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure and eases your breathing.
A Study on Yoga and Stress
Researchers performed a study on yoga in an attempt to determine its efficacy in eliminating stress.
The research experts noticed that stress seems to cause people to have a lower pain tolerance. The study participants consisted of 14 fibromyalgia patients (fibromyalgia is a stress-related condition that makes people hypersensitive to pain), 16 healthy participants, and 12 yoga practitioners.
Then, the researchers subjected the participants to the equivalent pressure of a thumbnail pushing into their skin. The patients with fibromyalgia experienced pain at the lowest amount of pressure, while people who practiced yoga had a higher pain tolerance than the rest of the participants.
As such, the researchers concluded that yoga may have positive effects on stress because people who practice it experience less pain. This makes it perfect for people with a lot of stress who also experience related physical ailments.
Scheduling Yoga into Your Day
If you suffer from stress because you run a tight, stressful schedule, you might be wondering how to fit yoga into your routine.
Fortunately, different options for yoga practice exist. Some people prefer to meet in class settings and take yoga from an instructor. This builds community and helps people find others interested in the practice.
Still, not everyone can fit a yoga class into their day. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Some content creators offer guided yoga tutorials online, which allows people to do yoga at any time.
Ready to Get Healthier?
So, are you ready to take advantage of the benefits of mental health and yoga?
When you use yoga for mental health, you become able to stave off the effects of depression and anxiety. This helps your body and mind remain calm and stay rejuvenated, keeping you relaxed and balanced throughout the rest of your day.
Are you ready to improve your health? Our trainers provide top-notch classes designed to get you on track. Join us today!