Yoga and mental health – how it helps

As well as being the secret to healthy, glowing skin, practising yoga regularly unlocks a number of other health benefits to enhance our body, mind and soul. With life as we know turned upside down at the minute, looking after our mental health is just as important as staying in tip-top physical condition.

While any type of exercise will have excellent plus points for your health and wellbeing, yoga, in particular, is well known for keeping our bodies and minds calm and clear. Here are more details on how yoga can be used to support better mental health – especially during this difficult time.

Yoga eases stress and promotes relaxation

Stress is something we face on a regular basis due to our busy modern lifestyles. No matter how big or little your life dramas are, practising yoga has been scientifically proven to provide a great release. 

Healthline reveals more about the studies that show yoga as an excellent stress reliever and an even better promoter of relaxation:

“Yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation. In fact, multiple studies have shown that it can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. One study demonstrated the powerful effect of yoga on stress by following 24 women who perceived themselves as emotionally distressed.

After a three-month yoga program, the women had significantly lower levels of cortisol. They also had lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression.”

Yoga actively calms your nervous system by helping the mind and body transition from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system to take control of anxiety and improve relaxation.

Whether used on its own or as part of a wider stress-relieving regime, yoga offers a powerful method of keeping stress at bay.

Looking to relieve stress through yoga? Try these 7 poses for releasing stress, anxiety and trauma and find inner peace.

Yoga builds self-trust and self-confidence

Your own self-worth is integral to the maintenance of good mental health. Practising yoga is more than just undertaking exercise. It allows you to reconnect with yourself and build an even better relationship with the person within.

Therefore, yogis are more likely to have healthier habits in other areas of their lives (increased exercise levels and healthier eating habits often go hand-in-hand with yoga practice) and a greater feeling of self-worth, self-trust, and self-confidence as a result.

A better, more balanced and confident you will help to strengthen relationships too. Yogis are generally less reactive meaning you may just get on better with your loved ones.

Yoga clears your mind and improves focus

With the current COVID-19 or Coronavirus lockdown comes an increased need to juggle many areas of your life.

Balancing work, home life, and childcare, and only be permitted to leave the house for one form of exercise or a shopping trip for essentials, will no doubt be taking its toll.

Yoga can help you find the prolonged focus and increased concentration you need to juggle your new normal. Practising yoga clears the mind and eliminates unhelpful distractions.

Thanks to regular yoga sessions at home, you can refocus your attention on completing tasks and accomplishing goals. Better mental performance can also be successfully harnessed with the calm state achieved through yoga.

Discover more about yoga and how it differs to pilates, a practice that is often boxed in the same category, by reading our essential guide.