Clearing the Mind: Mental Benefits of Yoga

Over the four-year span from 2012 to 2016, the number of people practicing yoga in the United States increased by fifty percent. About 36 million Americans practice yoga today. Most people start the practice with the goal of improving their flexibility and relieving their stress levels.

Despite the growth in the industry, seeking the physical and mental benefits of yoga is nothing new. As an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years, yoga is often considered the longest-standing self-improvement practice in existence. Yoga has clear benefits for mental health, including providing a mood boost and improving mindfulness.

Mental Benefits of Yoga

Through a consistent practice, you can gain physical, spiritual, emotional and mental benefits of yoga. This is considered a mind-body practice that incorporates physical movements as well as a focus on calming the mind and reaching greater spiritual depths.

The top reasons people try yoga are to manage stress and improve mood. By helping with stress management, yoga in turn can reduce or relieve symptoms of stress in the body such as back and neck pain, headaches and trouble sleeping. This practice helps to shift your mindset to one that is better able to:

  • Be mindful by focusing on what is happening in the present
  • Improve and manage moods
  • Care for yourself and recognize that you need mental and physical breaks

While yoga can help relieve current levels of stress, improving your mindset and perspective also have the potential to reduce new stress from developing or becoming as strong.

Yoga for Stress Relief

A yoga practice incorporates numerous techniques for reducing stress. These include:

  • Exercise, which is an effective stress-reliever
  • Breathwork, which includes deep breathing and learning to control your breathing
  • Mind-body techniques, including clearing worries and intrusive thoughts from the mind as well as relaxing the body

This practice provides balance of the mind, body and spirit.

Yoga’s Effects on the Body

Practicing yoga can help the body through physical poses that provide exercise and strengthen and stretch muscles. In addition, the mental benefits of yoga can extend to the body, as calming the mind and relieving stress help with tension and other symptoms of stress that show themselves in the body. For example, through a regular yoga practice, you may notice improved strength and flexibility. Your muscles may feel less tense.

Also, yoga can help with overall health and wellness. It provides a technique for reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels, and improving sleep. It can contribute to a feeling of well-being and encourages spiritual growth.

Find Support at Jonas Hill

If you’re looking for ways to manage stress and anxiety, Jonas Hill’s staff is ready to help you. We’re here to listen to your situation and work with you to find the best ways to find improvement. Reach out so we can talk about how you’re feeling and what we can do to help.

Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic today at (828) 394-6722 for more information. A safe space to heal.