How yoga can support your mental health

Yoga provides many obvious physical benefits and now more than ever, we realise its important role in our mental wellness too.

yoga and your mental health

The ancient science of yoga unites poses with breathing and concentration to build strength, awareness and harmony between mind and body. Yoga provides many obvious physical benefits – flexibility, stamina, circulatory health, to name a few – and now more than ever, we realise its important role in our mental wellness too.

Self-care is a hot topic, thankfully, as with life continuing to pick up speed all around us – we’ve got to slow down and look inward, at our own mental health.

Yoga helps our mental health by:

  • Relieving anxiety
  • Lowering depression
  • Promoting better sleep
  • Fighting fatigue
  • Decreasing stress
  • Improving focus
  • Increasing tolerance

Up the ante with the extensive neurological benefits of meditation. Studies show that it increases focus and concentration, and lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Take a look at our playlist of classes to support your mental health

A mix of some of the EkhartYoga team’s go-to classes for when we want to feel relaxed, calm and peaceful. There are so many more we could have added. If you have more suggestions for this playlist, please add them in the comments underneath.

Anxiety, stress and depression are often inter-linked. They manifest in many different ways, causing everyones’ experience of mental illness to be unique, sometimes including:

  • Physical sickness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Low mood
  • Poor sleep
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Coping strategies such as addictions

Yoga and meditation promote relaxation

Yoga and meditation promote relaxation – the opposite of anxiety, stress and depression. They build our ability to stay centred, which is vital for stress management. By pausing to breathe, meditate or stretch, the mind is directed away from the trigger and a biological reaction of calming begins.

Specific yoga and meditation practices stimulate our vagus nerve which is involved in our parasympathetic nervous system – our rest and digest response.

These simple practices amplify awareness of what’s happening in our body, making it possible to detect changes and early signs of mental health issues. How? One way is by teaching us to be present, rather than worrying about what’s occured in the past or what may happen in the future.

And… Exercise naturally increases the flow of serotonin, ‘the happy hormone’. So moving and relaxing our body calms the mind, and enhancing our mental health positively affects our physical health.

When the world feels out of balance, unequal or low, yoga can help us maintain our internal equilibrium and elevate our experience of daily life. And it’s available to us anywhere, any time.

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Anna SugarmanSeeking yogini, inspired yoga teacher trainer, blessed mom, grateful wife, courageous wanderluster, academic goddess, glamorous gypsy, love lover – in awe of life, and passionate about supporting others in optimizing theirs.