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7 Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

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When you’re searching for ways to lower your stress levels and improve your overall mental wellness, yoga shows up on nearly every list. Special programs offer trauma informed yoga for mental health improvement. However, yoga, at its core, assists with mindfulness, relaxation, and wellness.

 Including this activity as part of your daily routine has impressive physical and psychological advantages. Here, we’ll discuss 7 of the most impactful mental health benefits that make yoga so popular with tens of millions of people worldwide.

Yoga: Not Your Stereotypical Exercise

 When you envision yoga, you probably think about the stereotypical yogis who focus on all-natural living and spiritual communion. While this is an effective and common approach, there are multiple different types of yoga.

 In the US, most instructors practice hatha yoga, a technique combining mindfulness through physical motion and strategic breathing. But any form of yoga has impactful psychological benefits, such as these 7 in our list here:

 1. Mood Boosting: When you are active, your brain releases a flood of chemicals called your “feel-good” hormones. These messengers, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, tell your body that it — and you, by extension — are happy. Yoga causes the release of these mood-boosting chemicals through controlled movements that might not feel “hard,” but that cause your heart rate to increase and your muscles to work harder than normal.

2. Sleep Boosting: Many yoga participants report noticing improved quality and quantity of sleep after engaging in these sessions regularly.

3. Stress Relieving: Since the pandemic, more people on record than ever have reported increased stress levels. Yoga provides a way to calm your mind by focusing on movements. As you tighten and relax your muscles, your body and mind naturally feel more peaceful because you’re not thinking about your stress, and your adrenaline and other anxious hormones are replaced by happy chemicals.

4. Depression Relieving: When those diagnosed with depression include yoga as part of their treatment plan or in place of medicine and psychotherapy, it can reduce their symptoms.

5. Anxiety Relieving: Stress and anxiety are often linked together, but the two diagnoses are different. Anxiety disorder places an extreme level of stress on a person, frequently leading to breathing problems. Yoga’s focus on strategic breathing can help reduce the severity of anxiety attacks.

6. Increasing Social Skills: When participants of in-person yoga classes attend regular sessions, they frequently report positive interactions. These conversations help them increase their self-esteem when engaging in other interpersonal activities.

7. Changing Daily Habits: Regular yoga practice creates neuropathways in the brain that make people feel better overall. This improved wellness leads to the decision to change unhealthy habits and replace them with other positive choices.

 Should you choose to take yoga to improve your mental health, you can do this on your own or in a group with a trained instructor. However, it’s important to know your risk level and be aware that even seasoned athletes can become injured in yoga. Talk to your doctor about including this activity in your exercise habits, and enjoy the benefits of increased overall wellness.