How does yoga help your mind?
September 19, 2022 /By: Jassica Mendez
We’ve all felt disconnected in these challenging past few years. From ourselves, from society, and nature. Spirits have been gradually torn down on multiple fronts, and we were left unprotected and vulnerable.
You can find a lot of influencers and life coaches offering miracle solutions for this devastating negativity. However, we would like to turn to a secret that gurus from India kept for a very long time. Yup, we’re talking about yoga! If you’re wondering how yoga can help your mind and make you feel more positive and lift your spirits in these challenging times, you’re about to find out.
How Does Yoga Help Your Mind?
Yoga Poses Improve Your Mood and Helps Your Mind
Since the beginning of modern psychology, scientists have been racking their brains over mood and its changes. Did you know that your current mood can change depending on how you’re standing? It is true, but it’s not always true to our expectations. For example, we usually think of slouching as a sign of depression rather than the other way around. However, it turns out that adjusting your posture might improve your mood.
So, stand up tall and stretch your spine as soon as you open your eyes in the morning and whenever you can during the day. As it turns out, practicing any kind of yoga develops the connection between the brain and the body. This allows the body to send signals to the brain that make the brain feel powerful and good.
The Simple Act of Breathing Helps Your Mind and Reduces Stress
Every practice of yoga includes aspects of concentrating on the breath, either to energize or to rest the body. It seems simple enough, right? You inhaled your first breath the moment you were born. Why would you practice something as simple and natural as breathing?
Research has demonstrated that becoming aware of and controlling your breathing is essential for reducing stress and grounding yourself in the present moment. And we’ll agree – both of these are necessary to experience happiness. Even while you might practice yoga without also doing the breathing techniques, doing both together is a certain way to increase your level of contentment.
The Moment You Start Practicing – Your Brain Changes
You may believe that it takes years of consistent practice before you start noticing improvements in your happiness. But, in reality, this is not the case at all. After only one hour of practicing yoga, the brain’s neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels have been proven to increase significantly. This increased level is one of the fundamental ways yoga can make you feel more positive.
Higher levels of the neurotransmitter GABA are linked to reduced overall levels of anxiety and sadness and improved mental health. To put it another way, attending even just one session may begin to alter the chemical makeup of your brain and improve your mood.
The Storm of Endorphins
GABA, of course, is not the only molecule your body secretes while in the process of practicing yoga. While pushing your body to stretch to its limits, your brain sends endorphins down your spine. Their primary role is to dull the pain you’re feeling. However, its side effect are way more fun. Endorphins are called the hormones of happiness because besides pain release, you’ll feel ecstatic and happy once the storm of these hormones kicks in.
It Can Help You Battle Addictions
Speaking of endorphins and their euphoric effects on your brain, we must do a quick follow-up on the subject of addictions. Most drugs people abuse play the brain on that same ecstatic feeling. So, it’s no surprise that professionals in the addiction treatment field often suggest recreational therapy as one of the tools in the hard battle against substance abuse. In order to have all the positive effects of yoga in that matter, it’s also vital to embrace a healthier lifestyle. If applied properly, this advice can improve your mood, relationships, physical health, and overall enjoyment of life.
The Longer You Practice, More Permanent Effects Are
Those who practice yoga regularly report feeling happier overall and enjoying better health as a result. Studies have shown yoga reduces feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, and anger. Overall, yoga makes you feel more positive. The practice of yoga induces real biochemical changes in the body, which contribute to improved mental and physical wellness. Besides the hormonal benefits, practicing yoga helps stabilize your vagal connection from the brain to the heart.
When you become a regular at saluting to the sun, your vagus (tenth cranial nerve) will help your heart achieve the perfect sinus rhythm. It will not pump too fast or too much blood, but it will be strong enough for everyday tasks. And don’t be fooled – your heart and circulatory system play a significant role in everything. That being said, a good condition of it will definitely bring a better mood to you on a regular basis.
Which Poses are the Best?
There are many great poses you can choose according to your personal preferences. But, here are our top picks in correlation to the experiences of a great sample of people:
- Upward salute (Urdhva Hastasana) – simple pose to execute but quite energizing. A great way to start your day.
- Locust pose (Salabhasana) – this is one of the most effective and straightforward ways to get your spine working and ready for a full day of sitting or any activities.
- Camel pose (Ustrasana) – a great pose that opens up your upper part of the body and respiratory system.
So how does yoga help your mind? It should now be clear. There is definitely something amazing in the old knowledge of our precious Indian yoga gurus. Practicing yoga can make you feel more positive in various ways. There are so many different levels (from beginner to advanced) and everyone can do it.
If you’re still unsure whether to try it, keep in mind that you won’t lose anything if you try, but you may gain a lot. Learn how to make your body work with your mind. Maintain your inner peace and spread it to your surroundings.
Learning to practice yoga on a regular basis can help you to connect with yourself and with nature and overcome every obstacle life will throw at you!
Happy yoga practicing!
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