When one thinks about his/her wellbeing and good health, we always tend to ponder about our physical bodies only. But in reality, we are more than just our physical forms. A healthy being is not only physically fit, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually blooming.
Mental health issues are rising at an alarming rate, mainly due to social and demographic changes like rise of nuclear families, social media pressure, poor/reduced sleep, easy access to recreational drugs and increased performance issues (career, financial, educational). Mental health issues are so much on the rise that by 2030, depression and other allied mental issues would be the single biggest cause of ill health.
One should be in a state of peace and tranquility, as it is one of the most important contributing factors for positive things in life. But traumatic and disturbing experiences cause a number of neurological changes in a person’s psyche and persona. One can overcome such distressing changes by the regular practice of Yoga.
Yoga to the Rescue
Yoga is nothing but, a physical, mental and spiritual practice involving physical poses, concentration and deep breathing. Yoga’s origin can be traced back to northern India over 5,000 years ago. It is practiced by a whopping 30 crore people all over the world and is celebrated for its powerful mental and physical benefits.
Yoga helps improve one’s balance, flexibility, range-of-motion and strength. Apart from this, there are asanas like Savasana, Salamba Sarvangasana, Adho Mukha Savasana, Balasana and Sukhasana that can be done to improve one’s mental well-being as well. According to research, some of the many benefits of Yoga for your mental upkeep are-
Release Feel-Good Brain Chemicals: Most exercises like Yoga stimulate the release of helpful brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Though Yoga movements are slow and controlled, they raise your heart rate and strengthen your muscles. As a result of which, certain mood boosting chemicals are released which makes you feel happy.
Mitigate Depression: Research says that doing Yoga can balance one’s cortisol levels as more the cortisol in your body, the more you are prone to depression. Yoga can ease depression and is comparable to treatments like medication and psychotherapy. And to top it, Yoga is very inexpensive and has no negative side effects.
Improved Sleeping Patterns: The slow and controlled breathing that one does while performing the various Yoga asanas helps to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve controls the body’s rest function and helps you to have a good sleep.
Improves Concentration and Focus: Yoga asanas include postures like headstand and shoulder stand which helps in increasing blood circulation in the brain. As a result of which, more oxygen reaches the brain, resulting in increased alertness and memory. The breathing exercises of pranayama also help in improving one’s concentration by balancing the mind and body.
Relieve Stress and Anxiety: Yoga helps you to avoid procrastination by letting you focus on the present state of mind. And by staying in the present, your anxiety levels drop significantly. Practicing Yoga increases the amount of feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which help in bringing down your stress.
Yoga- The Gateway to a Joyous Life!!!
Yoga is seen to be more effective than therapies like neuro feedback, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Even practicing it for 10 minutes a day can improve your mood and lower your anxiety. Though it is a very slow and gradual process, Yoga is a journey towards improvement and can-do wonders to your mental well-being.