Yoga is known for its abilities to strengthen both body and mind. It’s fantastic for toning your muscles and releasing tension in various parts of your body. It also works your internal organs and is particularly good for lengthening your spine, which improves your posture.
And the mind? When you practise Yoga, you’re also doing meditation. Each pose requires you to focus your mind on what your body is achieving at that moment. Your breathing is controlled and you move through a yoga routine in a sequence of breaths. You’re being mindful when doing yoga.
Meditation itself is practised by many people who reap the benefits of being able to calm their mind. They feel less stressed, can think more openly and creatively, and in turn tend to have better working and personal relationships. They sleep better as they can turn off the ‘to-do list’ whirring around their head. They can concentrate on tasks more easily as they have learnt to focus their mind on one thing at a time.
In meditation terms, yoga can be referred to as a moving meditation. It’s perfect for those who are turned off by the idea of sitting cross-legged and chanting for hours, as well as those who feel they have limited time and want to combine meditation with an exercise. They can shut out their busy lives for an hour or so while they give their whole body and mind a workout.
But going deeper into the mind benefits of yoga, it’s clear that this form of exercise can help people with mental health issues that go beyond everyday stress, worry and restlessness. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks and post traumatic stress disorder can all be helped through yoga. It’s a form of therapy that manages the disorder and heals the mind. It leads you on a path of contentment and the happiness that we all strive for. And best of all, it’s self-healing.
Yoga uses both the mind and body to form the postures. You need to relax and focus the mind at the same time. Also, various poses help the body to react in certain ways that link to the mind. For instance, a lot emotion is held in the pelvis area, so releasing tension here through hip openers is a way to heal the mind.
It’s all connected – when emotion takes hold of us, it’s not just out psychology that’s affected. From the inside out, our whole being is affected. It’s therefore important to heal both the body and mind when one or the other has been damaged in some way.
And it starts with being aware of this yourself. If you can see the connection between mind and body and you’re self-aware of your yoga practices, you can get on the road to rebalancing all parts of yourself and finding inner peace.
So whether you’re looking to reduce your stress levels from a powerful job, want to find space in your life for more happiness and contentment, or simply want to calm your mind, yoga is a fantastic choice. If you have a more serious mental health problem and you’ve taken advice from your doctor, yoga can also aid your return to your better self. Finally, remember the connection – both your body and mind needs to be healed in order for you to feel whole again.
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