Have you ever noticed how energised and clear-headed you feel after a yoga session? There are some amazing benefits of yoga for your mental wellbeing, which has quite frankly got me hooked.
I have done yoga on and off for a while now, but I never did it regularly. It was just one of those classes I enjoyed doing when I couldn’t get to a pilates class or wanted a more low intensity workout. It wasn’t until recently when I went through a particularly rough patch with my anxiety that I started practising yoga everyday. After 2 months, I’ve now been practising either at classes or just at home for at least 30 minutes, 5-6 times a week and feeling so much more in control, particularly with my mind. So, what is the science behind this?
There are so many benefits for the mind when doing yoga that this could become a novel! So here are just a few ways in which yoga can help with your mental health:
Helps to calm your nervous system
The deep breathing into your belly that you do in yoga (and pilates) moves you from your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight reaction) to your parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest reaction). This is essentially a form of meditation and helps you enter a more relaxed state and reduce the amount of cortisol (the chemical that is released when stressed) in the body.
Creates body awareness and self-empowerment
There are often moments in a yoga session where I surprise myself. Sometimes I am a lot stronger than I thought and sometimes there are moves that look easy, but I fail miserably and that’s ok! I’m certainly no yogi and it just means that I have to keep practicing! I’ve found that it’s in these moments where I fail that I’ve come to be a lot more forgiving of myself. My body is my body and it’s different to everybody else and that is empowering. It also has made me super aware of my body’s capabilities. For example I have always had back issues but it wasn’t until I started practicing yoga regularly that I’ve come to realise that my hips are the tightest muscle in my body. Any moves that require hip flexibility I now know to be cautious with.
There have been multiple studies done on the efficacy of yoga on sleep patterns. This is because yoga addresses mental and physical aspects of the body as well as releases hormones such as serotonin (your happiness chemical) and leptin (which regulates energy and body weight).
Reduces pain and inflammation in the body
Yoga reduces the stress chemicals in your body, namely cortisol. Cortisol feeds inflammation in the body which leads to pain. By building muscle strength, mobility and flexibility, as well as releasing muscle tension, practising regularly can reduce overall pain.
By improving your ability to calm your nervous system, creating body awareness and self- empowerment, inadvertent meditation, getting better sleep, and reducing pain and inflammation in the body you will feel more in control of yourself.
So, if you struggle with your mental health, whether that’s with your stress, anxiety, depression or just want to feel more in control and have had trouble in the past with meditation, I would absolutely recommend that you try doing yoga everyday for a month and notice the difference!
Willing to give yoga a go? Call or email us to find the right class and location for you. Joining the Rebalance Family means more than just a workout. We care about your wellbeing and have a supportive environment. We prioritise your wellbeing and provide a sanctuary for you to come and relax. Workout. But workout with purpose with us!
Written by Bec Hartley – Digital Marketing Assistant