As you may know, it's mental health awareness week, so I thought I’d touch on how yoga can be super beneficial for our mind. Although I’m lucky not to have struggled greatly with my own mental health, I have been through some difficult times and certainly had to dig deep and look within. My little yoga toolbox has been invaluable!
1. Rest and digest – practicing yoga and breathing correctly moves us from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). As soon as you start breathing slower and deeper, you calm your nervous system right down, easing any anxiety/built up tension. Yoga also reduces the secretion of cortisol (the primary stress hormone) which reduces stress and promotes relaxation!
2. Peace within - through yoga, you get to know yourself and cultivate a more non-judgmental relationship with your inner being. Everything comes down to your relationship with you. We all know that happiness starts within! Yoga teaches you the art of self-study, which in turn helps you find clarity in other parts of your life - relationships, work and self care.
3. Relationships with others - when you’re more in tune and at peace with yourself, you can be the same way with your partner, friends, work colleagues - you’ll find more compassion, patience and empathy. You’re also less reactive, the little things don’t seem as important!
4. Staying present - admittedly, I don’t meditate as much as I should - for me yoga itself is a form of moving meditation, helping me stay in the present moment. You worry less about the future, enabling you to live with more intention each day.
5. Finding strength - having a regular yoga practice can help us to stay calm and relaxed day to day. It can also provide strength to deal with challenges, whether smaller daily stresses or life changing struggles. Through greater self-reflection, yoga effectively strengthens the mind and promotes positivity and self-confidence. A super power in developing mental toughness!
6. Sleep quality - we all know how important sleep is, not only for our physical health but mental too. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class have you noticed how well you sleep afterwards? Mindful movement and meditation actually increases the secretion of melatonin (a hormone that regulates wakefulness and sleep). Awesome.
Thank you so much for reading. This is just a snippet of some of the benefits yoga can have on the mind from my own personal experience and through research. If you have any questions, do drop me a message and I’ll be happy to answer!