mental health yoga

How Yoga Can Improve Your Mental Health

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Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day, a great way to remind you that our mental health, is just as important as our physical health.

 

SAY YES TO THE THINGS THAT MATTER

As our lovely Y2M teacher Natalie Morrison wrote on her blog: “We all experience challenges to our mental wellbeing to greater and lesser extents at different stages of life. For many of us, mental health, like physical health, requires a certain degree of basic maintenance and discipline. Lifestyle plays a huge role. 
Each promotion we go after, each relationship we create, each mortgage or rent increase we take on, child, pet or loved one we are responsible for, each time we say ‘yes’ we are offering up our energy as well as enjoying the fruits of these acts. 
I agree with Justine Musk when she talks about the “deep yes”: we need to learn how to fully say yes to the things that matter and to unburden ourselves, painful or difficult as it may be, from the things that don’t.

 

YOGA CHANGES YOUR BRAIN

Now it’s a common practice to go to the gym to train your body but what about working on your mind?!

As you might know, studies have shown that yoga actually changes your brain; it’s medicine for the mind.

Doing yoga reduces the exaggerated stress response; i.e. it allows you to take a step back when you receive a stress stimulus.

Today might be a good day to take care of your mental health and begin your yoga journey! 🙂

I believe yoga is the key to improving mental health. As someone who has struggled with mental health in the past, I can clearly vouch for it.” says Sanne Storm, one of our fab Y2M teacher. Read how yoga changed Sanne’s life after many suicide attempts.

 

YOGA IMPROVES YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Here are 7 ways yoga can improve your mental health.

1. It keeps you present.

When you are practising yoga, you are performing a moving meditation. You are moving with your breath. You won’t have time to think about an argument you’ve just had with your partner or what could happen if the argument doesn’t resolve. You will be focusing on cues from your teacher, as well as alignment so you don’t fall out of Warrior 3.

2. Your body relaxes and anxiety fades.

As soon as you’re breathing deeply from the diaphragm, your parasympathetic nervous system eases. You go into rest-and-digest from a fight-or-flight stage. Your cortisol levels balance, and chronic stress levels reduce.

3. You become flexible.

Not just physically, but mentally. Your mind is able to adapt to a different way of thinking, you start to feel more assertive and think more before you act. You assess situations logically. Those days of reaching for the bottle when times get tough are over. The hangovers aren’t worth it any more (unless you’re reaching for the bottle in 3-legged dog. Only joking).

4. You start to feel stronger.

You notice that you can hold yourself up in downward dog and that you can do a head stand. Nothing builds up self-esteem more than knowing that you have altered your body in a positive way, or the feeling of excitement you get when you have reached your goal of mastering a challenging posture. You feel as if you can do anything you set your mind to.

5. Things that used to bother you, don’t anymore.

Remember feeling irritated at someone for being late, or when you’ve been queuing up for what seems like hours? You start to see things for what they are. Hours of listening to yoga philosophy in class, being told to just “be” finally gets into your head. You start to accept things and use the motto “It is what it is”.

6. You start to love yourself.

You start accepting yourself for who you are, and what your body is. You feel compassion towards yourself and feel motivated to better your life. You start to eat better as a form of self-love, and you start to cut toxic people out of your life because you realise YOUR life is so special. Self-improvement books replace late night scrolling on Instagram.

7. You just feel so damn good.

No one is going to ruin your day.

 

So, there you have it, 7 ways Yoga can improve your mental health. Now it’s your turn.
How has yoga improved your mental health?