7 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health

Yoga is a mind-body practice that incorporates physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation. Whether it’s improved digestion or increased flexibility, people have been praising the health benefits of yoga for years. But how much do you know about all the mental benefits of yoga? 

Our yoga instructors at The Yoga Connection understand the powerful link between Yoga and mental health. Our studio offers a wide-range of yoga classes aimed at improving your mood, flexibility, and awareness for those living in Smithfield, NC and the surrounding areas. 

For those looking to foster a better sense of well-being, yoga may be the perfect solution. Our experienced yoga instructor wants to enlighten you on 8 ways yoga can better your mental health.

1. Yoga Helps Lower Anxiety

Constant worrying and anxiety can cause a host of negative health effects including ongoing tension, irritability, changes in mood, and an increased risk of developing depression. 

But there’s no need to panic just yet, consistent research shows that yoga can drastically reduce anxiety levels. 

One study showed that 12 sessions of Hatha Yoga  significantly reduced stress, anxiety, and depression in women. Additionally, another study found that engaging in one hour yoga sessions twice a week drastically reduced anxiety levels. 

So the next time you start worrying about bills, try striking a downward dog pose.  

2. Yoga Helps Reduce Stress

Stress is a natural part of life. That being said, it can take a serious toll on your mind, body and spirit. Chronic stress is even worse. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to chronic inflammation, increasing your odds of developing heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Try committing to a yoga practice if you’re stressed out. Research suggests yogis may have an increased immunity to dealing with stress. A study analyzing the cortisol levels of 70 subjects found that yoga enthusiasts had significantly lower levels compared to their non-yogi counterparts. 

If you’re stressed, consider taking one of our yoga classes in Smithfield, NC.

3. Yoga Helps Improve Sleep 

Having trouble catching some much needed shut-eye? Striking a yoga pose can help improve your quality of sleep. In one study, test subjects practicing yoga fell asleep faster, stayed asleep longer and felt way more rested upon waking-up. So next time you find yourself wide-awake staring at the ceiling, know that it may be beneficial to grab a yoga mat.

4. Yoga Helps Promote Mindfulness

Yoga relies on traditional Buddhist teachings on mindfulness. Mindfulness is being fully aware within each present moment. Yoga requires us to slow down. Holding challenging poses for a long period of time cultivates a deep focus and awareness. Connecting our mind with each breath allows us to really experience what it feels like being in our bodies. 

The mindfulness you experience while practicing yoga will radiate out to other parts of your life. Increasing your level of consciousness will change the way you experience the world. Practicing yoga will allow you to observe your emotions and further savor sensory information. 

5. Yoga Helps Increase Self-Compassion 

We get it, some days you just don’t feel great about yourself. However, being your own worst critic can start to bring you down, especially when you constantly bombard yourself with negative self-talk. 

Those suffering with low self-esteem have higher rates of drug abuse, overeating, and use other destructive ways to cope with negative emotions. 

Yoga requires you to examine self-intent, which allows you to access parts of yourself that you may have been missing out on. Practitioners tend to experience greater feelings of gratitude and a reduction in feelings of anger and hostility. Experiencing an increase of positive emotions not only increases self-esteem, but fosters a newfound sense of compassion for yourself and others. 

6. Yoga Helps Elevate Mood

Feeling a little blue lately? Countless studies have shown all the wonderful benefits yoga has on your mood. One study found that daily practice significantly raised serotonin levels while simultaneously decreasing stress-induced cortisol levels.

Being physically active is known to help increase happiness. Yoga is especially beneficial because of the calm, gentle nature or practice. Because poses can be adapted to all experience levels, it can help a lot of people.

7. Yoga Helps Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Research findings suggest that yoga can help reduce symptoms experienced by those suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Veterans diagnosed with PTSD took part in daily 3- hour yoga sessions during a week-long study. Upon completing the study, participants marked a reduction in the severity of their PTSD symptoms and respiration rate. Not only that, the veterans reported continuing to experience these positive effects while doing a follow-up, one year after the study. 

Yoga can have a calming-effect on an overly-stimulated nervous system. Practicing yoga promotes stillness and relaxation in the body and can offer great relief to those living with PTSD. 

Join One of Our Yoga Classes and Better Your Mental Health Today!

Whether you’ve been struggling with depression or are just looking for ways to improve your overall well-being, our yoga studio can help you reach your goals!

Join one of our mindful awareness meditation classes on hectic days when you’re in need of finding that inner calm. Our instructors help you practice the art of relaxation by strengthening your mind-body connection.  

Not sure if yoga is right for you? That’s perfectly ok! The Yoga Connection offers an affordable, walk-in pass that lets you experience one of our classes without any commitment. 

Restore a sense of harmony between your mind, body and spirit. Call us at  919-971-1431 or fill out the contact form to learn more about joining our yoga community.