Publised. 03/08/2021

How Does Yoga Improve Your Mental Well Being?


Lavitra Garg

"The mind is the greatest of all human forces. Control the mind, and you control the body." 

Mental health affects how you think, feel and behave in daily life. It affects our ability to cope with stress, build healthy relationships, and recover from life's challenges. Being mentally healthy is much more than just being free from depression, anxiety, or psychological issues. It is more about having self-confidence, establishing a suitable balance in life, and most importantly to have a sense of contentment.  If you search for various ways of improving your mental health online, you will find experts recommending socializing, exercise, and relaxation techniques. Now can you think about an activity that involves all of the above things? Yes, that's Yoga. 

• Benefits of exercise: 

Moderate exercise is a well-known treatment for depression and anxiety as it gets your heart rate up and releases endorphins. Yoga exercises offer similar benefits but, they also provide sufficient periods of rest in between. The rest periods allow quality conditioning helping the body adjust to a 'marathon' like exercise. Yoga also provides a certain mental freedom that is absent from regular exercise. It is related to being free to move muscles that were tight at the beginning of the class.

• Relaxation and emotional control: 

Yoga is a very effective stress reduction and relaxation tool. Various yoga postures involve stretching and relaxing different muscles and joints, similar to getting a massage. Furthermore, yoga exercises like 'Pranayama' emphasize the need for breathing and produce a soothing state of mind. Yoga calms your sympathetic nervous system that creates fight and flight reactions(leading to high stress and anxiety levels) and boosts the parasympathetic side that cancels the 'sympathetic' side with a calming influence on the body. 

• Structured social opportunities: 

Many people associate Yoga with isolation and meditating alone in a forest. However, the reality is far different. Performing Yoga in groups allows you to communicate with others and enhances your social circles. Furthermore, you can also share your health concerns with your yoga teacher, providing an ideal social space. 

Yoga itself as a practice originated as a method to provide relief to the troubled soul. More importantly, there is no winning or losing in Yoga. You practice Yoga because it is good for you and helps you feel good while you are practicing it, and you get better at it. An activity designed only for you which you can perform whenever you want. What can be more relaxing or better for the mind than this?