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The Mental Benefits of Yoga

Sachi Patel, Social Media Intern

Hello everyone! This is Sachi Patel, a Social Media and Yoga Instructor Intern at A Friend of Mind. Today, we will be talking about the power of yoga. It truly is very powerful, not only in regard to physical health but also mental health!

The history of yoga goes back to over 5,000 years ago in India, however its major development occurred during the Classical period. The initial goal of yoga was to harmonize with the universe, however, through this harmonization, there is engagement of the mind and body. This engagement is what promotes the therapeutic affects of yoga. A major focus of yoga is to develop awareness of one’s breathing which is what helps create the calm environment. Yoga has been known to have many mental benefits, including reduction in anxiety and depression. All types of exercise help boost one’s mood by increasing the production of endorphins which is a “feel-good hormone.” Yoga, additionally, increases the level of the neurotransmitter, GABA, in the brain which further boosts mood. Yoga also reduces the activity of the limbic system, which is dedicated to emotions, thereby reducing stress. Although yoga directly affects mental health, it also has indirect effects. For example, through the calming affects of yoga, it improves sleep which thereby improves mental health. It is all part of a cycle. Yoga can help with burnout prevention. Through the awareness that is established with one’s body during yoga, one can become more
aware of internal signals and respond appropriately to them.

Some Statistics on Yoga and its Mental Benefits:

  • Depression levels decrease by approximately 50% after just 3 months of yoga practice.
  • On average, yoga decreases anxiety levels by 40%.
  • Weekly yoga practice has helped 52% of people to alleviate symptoms of PTSD.
  • Just 15 minutes of daily yoga practice changes the brain's chemistry and boosts mood.

References:

Yoga for better mentalhealth. Harvard Health. (2021, June 12). Retrieved June 23, 2022, fromhttps://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-for-better-mental-health

Ezrin, S. (2021, December14). 16 science-based benefits of yoga. Healthline. Retrieved June 23,2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-yoga#TOC_TITLE_HDR_15

Dobrić, M. (2020, June 19).35 mind-bending yoga statistics to merge your body and Soul.HealthCareers. Retrieved June 23, 2022, from
https://healthcareers.co/yoga-statistics/

 

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