Within the yoga world much attention is paid to the physical benefits of regularly engaging in this spiritual practice. Yoga is known to improve strength, enhance flexibility and to boost stamina, as well as many other benefits. However, the mental benefits are also far-reaching and not to be overlooked.

When it comes to mental health, there is much evidence to suggest that physical activities can be incredibly useful for improving wellbeing. A great deal of this wellbeing potential comes from the way in which yoga can help to decrease stress levels, and better equip a person to cope with their anxieties and concerns. Through mindfulness, meditation and certain breathing techniques - all of which are included within yoga practice, a person can better equip themselves to deal with negative situations and feelings.

Anxiety and Depression

Those who struggle with anxiety and depression can find relief through yoga as it can help to calm the stress response system. Furthermore, practicing yoga can lead to consistently lower blood pressure, as well as a more optimum heart rate. Addressing the root cause of your anxieties, or the sources of your depression, is something that has to be worked towards in over to truly overcome these issues. The peaceful mindset that is encouraged during yoga, and of course during meditation, is incredibly helpful for this. 

Certain yoga poses may be of more benefit than others, and you can first try to regularly engage in restorative yoga poses if you are trying to address and alleviate your anxiety and / or depression. 

Concentration and Memory

Improved concentration and a better memory are also impressive mental benefits of yoga. Once you have adopted yoga as an ongoing feature in your life, you will likely find that you are better able to remember things, and focus with greater clarity. This can help you to do well in the workplace, as well as in other areas of your life. You may find that being able to concentrate and focus on tasks better enables you to feel at peace, and less stressed out about the things that you have to get done.

When you are less stressed out, you can then pay more attention to the things that are actually important in life.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is something that anyone can experience following a traumatic event. The symptoms of PTSD can be quite serious and debilitating. A person suffering with PTSD may have flashbacks of the event, and they might continue to have nightmares about it, which can then disrupt the sleep cycle and lead to further problems. People with PTSD will often feel quite vulnerable and disconnected from other parts of their life.

The American Medical Association states that Hatha Yoga provides significant benefits to those who are suffering with PTSD. If this is a condition that you are currently living with, then incorporating several yoga sessions a week into your existing treatment plan could be of benefit to you. As the symptoms of your PTSD lessen, your mental health may also begin to improve in other ways. 

Mental Health for Happiness

Leading a happy and healthy life is something that everyone can work towards. But, in order to be successful with both of these things, it is important to embrace positive choices, both in relation to the body and the mind.

When you give your mental health the attention that it deserves, you may notice that your mood becomes much more consistent. This is, in part, because making the choice to care for yourself shows yourself that you are worth caring for! If this is something that you have struggled with in the past then it is a concept that you should continue to nurture.

Yoga and Relaxation

As you persist with your yoga practice you will find it much easier to relax. Relaxation is key to optimum mental health! Being able to detach from stressful situations and put yourself and your needs first is conducive to maintaining a positive outlook. Yoga teaches us that relaxation can be achieved in any situation, and much of this potential lies in the breathing techniques that are utilised. 

Is Yoga For You?

If you haven't ever tried yoga before then you might be cynical about just how helpful it could be for you. As an outsider watching a class, it may be difficult to understand how getting involved can be so helpful! With such a variety of different classes available, as well as the option to learn at home with online yoga classes, there is much opportunity to find the best option for you. Remember, your mental health is something that can be nourished and boosted in many different ways, but the effects aren't always immediate - so keep it up! 

References

1) http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression