Yoga has progressed from a fringe activity to a near-mainstream one. However it is still poorly understood in many ways. Yoga is something that almost everyone has heard of, but not everyone understands what it is about. Yoga is an ancient type of practice that unites the mind and body.  Today, we can mistakenly bundle yoga and stretching into the same category. But yoga is actually a system of physical and spiritual practices that originated in India thousands of years ago. The term “yoga” appears for the first time in the Rig Veda, a set of ancient texts. Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “to join” or “union”.  Yoga’s ultimate philosophy is to bring the mind, body, and spirit together.

But how exactly does yoga improve our mental health?

Meditation and other stress-reduction activities have been investigated as potential depression and anxiety therapies. Reviews of a variety of yoga activities say that they can help with anxiety and depression by reducing the effects of exaggerated stress responses. Yoga can be a very appealing way to help control symptoms for many patients suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress. Indeed, scientific research on yoga shows that mental and physical wellbeing are not only intertwined, but practically identical. Yoga can help to relieve stress, lower anxiety, reduce depression, improve sleep quality, and improve overall quality of life.

Here are three ways that yoga can improve your mental health:

  1. Yoga can improve your mental health by boosting serotonin levels

The development of serotonin is essential in the treatment of depression. Serotonin is thought to play a significant role in happiness. People with depression, according to some sources, have lower serotonin levels.

  1. Yoga can improve your mental health by bringing greater physical strength, flexibility, and balance to your body

Yoga practice, like any physical exercise, focuses the mind on the physical stimuli and the perfection of the postures. It can be a perfect stress reliever because it forces the mind to focus on the body, breathing and the moment.

  1. Practicing yoga regularly can improve your mental health by teaching deep concentration and conscious breathing

These are critical components in overcoming depression. Participants will improve their present-moment concentration, clear their minds, and enhance the mind-body link. Breathing exercises are helpful in reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms. Yoga, which focuses on deep, controlled breathing, may be beneficial to you.

There are different types of yoga you can practice to improve your mental health

Yoga practice is one of the oldest forms of training, and although there are many styles, most yoga practices include stretching, breathing, and a time of deep relaxation or meditation.

Hatha yoga

This is the physical and mental type that aims to unite the body and mind.

Tantra yoga

This is the path of a relationship’s ritual, ceremony, or consummation.

Raja yoga

This type  involves meditation and strict commitment to a series of disciplinary steps known as the eight limbs of yoga.

Bhakti yoga

This aims to establish the path of generosity, a positive way to channel emotions and raise acceptance and tolerance.

Karma yoga

This is a path of practice that aims to create a future free from negativity and ego. 

Jnana yoga

This section of yoga is all about wisdom, the scholar’s path, and intellectual development through research.

You can also check our blogpost on “Meditation And Mindfulness For Anxiety Relief”.

Talk to a mental health professional

If you’d like to talk to someone directly to diagnose, treat or cure any mental and/or emotional issues, consider getting in touch with either us or our partner:

One On One Counseling with Clément

If you’d like to book a counseling session with Clément use this link here.

Sponsored: Better Help Therapy

Use this link here to talk to a licensed therapist check out our sponsor, Better Help.

You can also check out the book “The Yoga Effect: A Proven Program for Depression and Anxiety” for more information about how yoga can be helpful for your mental health.