Because of the mental health benefits of yoga it continues to grow in popularity. The origins of yoga date back tens of thousands of years to ancient India. The literal meaning of the word yoga is “union.” Ideally, the practice of yoga is meant to unite a person’s body, mind, and spirit. This unity also explains the mental health benefits of yoga.
What Is Yoga?
Today, most people think of yoga as a series of poses both simple and challenging. Some of the most well-known yoga positions include the cat, table, and warrior poses. Yoga may look like just a collection of poses, but there’s much more involved in the practice. For instance, a person must focus on their breathing while holding a yoga pose. By inhaling and exhaling in an even way, a person is mindful of their body and its movements. The alignment of the body is also an important part of the practice of yoga.
The proper alignment of the spine and other body parts helps a person to feel more relaxed and at ease. Yoga continues to grow in popularity due to the many mental benefits that come with it. Consider just a few examples of the mental health benefits of yoga and how to prepare for a yoga session.
Mental Health Benefits of Yoga
Whether a person works full-time outside of the home or is a stay-at-home parent, there’s always a certain amount of stress that comes with daily life. The practice of yoga can lower levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Working through various yoga poses helps to calm the mind and allows a person to feel more relaxed.
Another benefit of yoga is that it releases tension in the muscles. Yoga can even reduce aches or pains, which leads to a more peaceful state of mind. Depression and anxiety can also be relieved by practicing yoga. During yoga, the brain releases endorphins, which are hormones that give people feelings of well-being. Most yoga classes are conducted in quiet, peaceful environments. This environment alone can help a person to release the stress and anxiety that they are feeling. Unlike other exercises, yoga requires a person to focus on breathing and meditate on the way their body feels.
How to Start Practicing Yoga
Someone who wants to start practicing yoga has a lot of options. One person may choose to sign up for a yoga class at a local gym or recreation center. Another person may prefer to find an instructional DVD and practice yoga at home. Either way, it’s important that a person starts out slowly. It’s best for a newcomer to start with basic poses and work up to more challenging ones.
A person starting out with yoga should get a yoga mat. This mat provides some cushioning as well as traction and keeps an individual from standing on the hard floor. If you’re taking a class at a gym, you may be able to rent a mat, but it’s more hygienic to purchase one for your own use. It’s not necessary to go out and buy a wardrobe full of yoga pants and shirts. Lightweight, loose items of clothing are ideal for yoga.
A person should be able to move freely throughout the session. It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of water along to a yoga session. Some of the poses may look simple, but most participants need a drink or two of water before a session is over. Women with long hair should tie their hair back in a loose way so they can see the instructor and follow along with their moves. Anyone starting the practice of yoga may want to invite a buddy along. It’s an experience that is worth sharing with a friend.
Mental Health Treatment
The mental health benefits of yoga are immense, but it’s only one of the many healthy coping mechanisms that people use to manage their mental health. At Morningside Recovery, we offer addiction therapy services that help people learn coping skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. Some of these therapies include:
To learn more about these programs and how they can help you, call Morningside Recovery today at 855-631-2135.