Yoga Benefits For Mental Health | roxana_ac

Yoga Benefits For Mental Health

Yoga is a discipline that works with the mind and body through physical postures, breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation. It has numerous benefits that contribute to happiness and human well-being. On the other hand, yoga generates positive effects in cases of stress, anxiety, and other mental problems. In this article, I tell you all about the benefits of yoga for mental health, do not miss it!

Yoga and The Mind: How Are They Related?
Yoga is a very ancient practice, originally from India, whose main object of study has been the human condition. Yoga offers methods to understand the workings of the mind, and helps to calm its movements. It seeks to facilitate the integral development of the human being from self-development techniques that improve and harmonize the body, the emotional system and the character.

Although there are different styles or branches of yoga, all are characterized by combining breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques. These exercises are accompanied by postural practices or "asanas", which strengthen and streamline the physical body.

Regarding the relationship of yoga with the mind, there are several studies that have shown that yoga has positive effects on mental health. A case study was developed at the University of California in which the effects of yoga on subjective well-being were analyzed. From various variables, it was established that people who practiced yoga had higher levels of mental well-being, physical health, and subjective well-being, compared to those who did not practice.

In other studies, they found that those who practiced yoga for a sustained period of 4 months were more comfortable with themselves. Also, after 40 days of meditation, they improved their processes of mental adaptation, their way of bonding on a social and family level, and that they had acquired a greater transcendence sense.

Yoga Effects On Mental Problems
• Panic Disorder.
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Work stress
• Major depressive disorder
• Problems during pregnancy
• Substance use
• Sleep disorders

Panic disorder
Panic disorder occurs when symptoms of intense fear and discomfort appear temporarily. They can be accompanied by palpitations, sweating, nausea, and dizziness among other symptoms. Health professionals conducted studies on a group of subjects diagnosed with this disorder. After they attended yoga classes steadily for a specified period of time, their anxiety levels, bodily sensations, and panic decreased.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorders also qualify as anxiety disorders. Symptoms appear after situations that have a great impact on a person's life, such as accidents, losses, or natural catastrophes. In various investigations, participants who suffered from these disorders managed to lower their levels of anxiety, depression, and tension after starting yoga practices, especially of the Kundalini type.

Work stress
Regarding work stress, the research by Lin, Huang Shiu, and Yeh (2015) was interested in demonstrating the way in which the practice of yoga affected mental health professionals. Psychologists, nurses, and social workers work with patients who suffer from a lot of stress, anxiety, and problems of all kinds, and this directly affects the professionals' own physical and mental health.

They studied the effects of yoga in health professionals for 12 weeks. 30 participants received yoga classes, while another 30 did not. When analyzing the results after 12 weeks of treatment, the group that had taken yoga classes presented a decrease in perceived work stress and a greater adaptation to anxiety situations.

Major depressive disorder
Depression is a disease that affects 350 million people around the world. Although there are different types of depressive disorders, the most common is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). It can occur along with other symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, appetite, and concentration problems, among others. In an investigation carried out on people with MDD over a period of 8 months, it was shown that the symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, and the perception of life had notably improved after attending yoga classes.

Problems during pregnancy
During pregnancies, there are numerous physical, hormonal, experiential, and emotional changes. These changes often trigger depressive symptoms in pregnant women. In some research, some positive effects of yoga were found in pregnant women with Major Depressive Disorder.

There are various investigations carried out with a study group that show that after introducing yoga into the daily routine, there is a decrease in depressive symptoms and an increase in the feeling of well-being.


Substance use

In terms of substance use, the benefits of yoga have also been shown to overcome drug addictions and dependencies. In a study by Brito, C. (2010), carried out in a rehabilitation center with dependent people, Iyengar yoga classes were taught over a period of two years.

Through qualitative questionnaires, it was established that the participants considered that their yoga practice had helped them to feel better, to reduce stress and anxiety when not consuming, and to be more emotionally balanced.

The author concluded that yoga is a tool that favors the treatment of addictions and dependencies, in addition to stimulating the commitment and patient's motivation when working with small goals of daily improvement.

Sleep disorders
Sleep disorders are related to stress, anxiety, and depression. In other words, they act directly to the detriment of mental health. In cases of insomnia and apnea-hypopnea, yoga has been shown to significantly improve the cases. Several studies have proven the way in which sustained yoga practice increases the quality and duration of sleep, as well as makes it possible to reduce depressive symptoms and menopausal symptoms as well.

To conclude, I can say that I myself have practiced yoga for a while and it has undoubtedly helped me a lot with flexibility but above all, with stress. I recommend it 100%.

• Riley, D. (2004). “Hatha Yoga and the treatment of illness. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine”, 10, 20-21.
• Smith, C., Hancock, H., Blake-Mortimer, J., Eckert, K. (2007). “A randomized comparative trial of yoga and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety. Complementary Therapies in Medicine”, 15, 77-83.
• Jadhav, S. G. y Havalappanavar, N. B. “Effect of Yoga Intervention on Anxiety and Subjective Well-being” (2009). India.