Six Ways Yoga Can Positively Influence Your Mind
Most people love yoga for not just the spiritual benefits but the physical health as well. But, there is so much to enjoy yoga for the mental wellness too! I’ll be honest, I’m not a 100 percent, full-time yogi enthusiast but I have grown to appreciate the practice with time in my spiritual journey.
Interestingly enough, I have witness the mental benefits stemming from my professional life as a healthcare worker some years back. I've met co-workers who swear by the calmness it introduced back into their lives to being able to focus on tasks because of the practice.
I wanted to explore the psychological benefits even further as I have befriended and interviewed yoga instructors. In my research of multiple studies, yoga has proven to decrease stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
It works by reducing the activity in the nervous system, especially the sympathetic portion. This portion is responsible for constricting the blood vessels and raising the blood pressure and heart rate. The breath work that goes into yoga calms the nervous system and provides the restoration the body needs.
Here are some mental qualities yoga can develop:
Most of yoga is comprised of breath work and postures. It is the quintessential practice of using the breath to guide us through movement. This lends us the experience of tapping into the present thereby boosting awareness.
Yoga also empowers students to release judgment towards oneself and become more accepting of where they are at in their journey. When you tune in the movement and breath, you are becoming more mindful on the mat and in your daily life.
To learn how breathwork can help you release those negative vibes, check out the previous post here!
Yoga goes beyond the idea of being flexible or cultivating mindfulness, although those things can be good! But, it also teaches the importance of taking care of yourself hence self-care.
It teaches you to be compassionate towards yourself and to appreciate your imperfections. Each class will encourage a practice of holistic maintenance. It will comprise of taking time out for mind, body, and soul in the best compassionate, free of judgment kind of way.
We have the ability to be great and achieve awesome things, but chances are it comes with being hard on yourself; or the challenge of wanting to compare with your peers. Yoga provides an appreciation towards where you are in life and where you are going.
Yoga teaches you patience because every asana will demand you to breathe through the challenging postures. It is through this stillness and discomfort, that you uncover your own breath of overstanding and strength.
When you have the opportunity to look back and reflect on your growth, isn’t it amazing to acknowledge the progress you have made?
With yoga, it provides just that self-check opportunity to pause and set your intentions as it streamlines with your life goals. Yoga teaches you to continuously refine yourself and become calmer and open-minded in the pursuit of improvement.
5. Mental Toughness
When you can learn to take a step back and release your ego, it is the best liberating feeling in the world. Yoga teaches us to maintain the strength needed to get through the practice with humility. As time progresses you become stronger and not just in the physical sense.
Yes, it is always a challenge in the beginning and the need to compare always creeps in. But with resilience comes the need to let go and breathe through the challenges life puts you in.
6. Social Purpose
Yoga has introduced a supportive community where you can discover a sense of belonging. Don’t believe me? Take a class one day and preferably one with long-time yoga attendees and I can guarantee you they all know each other.
It is common to find a spiritual practice that allows you to be a part of something big. It brings that element of oneness, aliveness and gratitude. So, look up some local yoga classes in your neighborhood and be ready to grab that yoga mat for some feel good social vibes!
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What is your favorite yoga asana or posture? How has yoga helped you in your daily well-being? Share + Comment below!
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