5 Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health
Updated: May 17, 2022
Yoga is great for the body. It teaches flexibility, stability, and control. However, it is also great for your mental health, too! In fact, many people turn to yoga when they are struggling with mental or emotional challenges. Here are 5 benefits of yoga beyond your physical health.
1. Ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is one of my favorite benefits. As someone who has had anxiety since college (probably high school), yoga has helped me manage and ease the challenges I’ve faced with it. How? Yoga helps you regulate your stress response system, allowing you to learn to clear your mind and calm down your nervous system. It can even help lower your heart rate, respiration rate and blood pressure – giving you even more relaxation in your life.
2. Reduce the effects of trauma. As part of my 300 hour yoga training I’m doing right now, we have a unit on introducing trauma informed yoga – and I want to pursue additional training and certification in this. Yoga can help people who have been through traumatic experiences and even those who deal with PTSD. A Harvard Medical School study found that participants in a yoga program had greater changes in sleep, positive affect, perceived stress, anxiety, stress, and resilience than those who didn’t do yoga.
3. Boost brain function with concentration, focus and memory. If you’ve been finding it hard to focus or get things done, yoga can help boost brain function. During yoga, you have to focus and that practice of focusing on yoga asanas can extend to other part
s of your life.
4. Improve your mood. If you have mood swings or regularly find yourself in a bad mood, yoga can help you stimulate neurotransmitters in your brain that impact how you feel. Low levels of GABA (a neurotransmitter) might mean mood swings, uncomfortable emotions, or depression. With yoga, you can see higher levels of GABA, while also seeing the benefit of being better able to control uncomfortable emotions and your reaction when they do come up.
5. Get better sleep. Harvard research shows that yoga can improve your sleep, especially for older adults (60+). You might be able to see an improvement in both the quality and the quantity of your sleep. You might even improve sleep efficiency (the percentage of time in bed actually asleep).
Are you ready to improve your body and brain with yoga? Learn about my private or group classes, and reach out so we can talk about your mental and physical goals with yoga.