Yoga for mental well-being

 In our busy day-to-day routine, we often ignore the importance of mental health in our life. Yoga is a way to deal with our stressful schedule and ensure mental as well as physical well-being. Yoga is an ancient Indian practice which builds physical, mental and spiritual strength. 

According to WHO’s definition of mental health given in 2014, it does not mean absence of mental illness. Mental health is defined as a state of well-being, when the person can cope up with the normal stress of everyday life. For overall mental well-being, it is extremely important to nurture our mind. Yoga has gained world-wide popularity and studies  have been conducted to establish its relation with mental health. It  has been proven to promote a healthy and peaceful mind. 

Impact of Yoga on mental health

Experts call yoga and mental health an underexplored relationship. In the current busy lifestyle, yoga acts as a physical exercise and has psychological benefits which calm the mind. 

Stress and anxiety are one of the major causes of mental illness. Chronic stress can cause cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and mental disorders. Yogic postures can affect the functioning of Hypothalamus in a way that it can generate a better response to stress and lower the stress hormones. 

According to studies, yoga leads to release of Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) which uplifts mood and reduces anxiety. Yoga also helps to restore the natural energy of our body and mind which helps to deal with fatigue. It has also contributed to better sleeping patterns among people with insomnia, increasing their time and quality of sleep. .  

People with mental illness often prefer going to yoga based therapy which increases self- awareness, concentration, productivity and helps build a positive self-image. It also helps people to build patience and make improvements in behavioural patterns.

Yoga is often used as an add-on treatment for those undergoing some treatment for mental illness. One of the major benefits of yoga is that it includes meditation. Yogic postures associated with meditation are helpful to reduce anxiety and release stress. 

  • Pranayama, a posture that focuses on breathing, is one of the famous Yoga asanas used  to calm the mind.  
  • Natarajasana, also known as the dancer’s pose, is a mood lifting asana. 
  • Vajrasana helps to build focus and calmness. 
  • Padmasana, the basic pose of yoga, helps to build spinal strength and a calm mind. 
  • Savasana, lying flat on the ground, is one of the easiest asanas which helps to relax our mind and body. 

In these tough times of Covid pandemic, looking after our mental health should be a priority.  Amidst the chaos in the world, yoga is a way of life that can help us achieve spiritual, physical and mental well-being.

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