– By Josee Smith
The list of health benefits associate with yoga gets longer and longer every year, making it one of the most effective practices you can use for your physical and mental health. In terms of its mental health benefits, the power of yoga stems greatly from its ability to calm the mind.
While this act might seem insignificant, studies have found that a calm mind can lead to a reduction in stress, lowering high blood pressure, increasing productivity and fighting off depression. Read on to learn more about the calming powers of yoga, how to introduce it into your workout routine, and the benefits of consistent practice.
Understanding stress and the mind
Many people struggle with restless minds that seem to be constantly filled with worrisome thoughts and fears about the future. These thoughts can become the source of serious anxiety and uneasiness if left unchecked. The root cause of these thoughts and feelings often lay in outside aspects of your life, such as fearing you may lose your job or having a family member facing an illness.
These thoughts trigger a chemical reaction in the brain that release hormones that can enhance the negative feelings, leaving your mind whirring with negative thoughts and general anxiousness.
One of the best ways to clear out these harmful thoughts and reduce stress is through a calming practice such as yoga, which helps you to regulate the chemical processes and cope with the emotional side effects.
Calming benefits of Yoga
Yoga’s calming powers come from its physically demanding movements and its close ties with meditation.
First off, exercise has been shown to provide immense benefits to clarity of mind and overall mood due to the release of endorphins.
These hormones cause a sense of euphoria and general happiness, which help to combat negative thoughts by boosting your mood and allowing you to focus on more positive ideas.
Yoga can be incredibly demanding physically at any level, resulting in a strong and steady release of endorphins. Yoga also helps to calm you because its moves initiate a form of meditation that can lead to a greater clarity of mind.
Meditation through yoga also helps you to gain a stronger overall focus, as the moves require a great deal of concentration to perform correctly.
Consistent yoga helps to train your mind to focus on the present situation, rather than worrying about the past or the future, and in turn leads to a calmness that extends beyond the workout.
Choosing the right style
Some forms of yoga require high levels of flexibility that may be too difficult for beginners. There are also forms of yoga that include outside factors, which may not be ideal for everyone.
For example, Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, takes place in a room that is set to a very high temperature in order to enhance the physical and mental benefits. However, this heat level can often lead to dehydration or exhaustion in people not used to such strenuous activity at such temperatures.
Regardless of the style you choose, the most important aspect is to be consistent and put forth an honest effort. You won’t experience the benefits of yoga unless you commit your mind to the experience.
Long term benefits
Staying consistent with a yoga routine can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the process, as you cannot only learn to perform the moves better but strengthen your ability to meditate and calm your mind.
While you can experience the positive benefits of yoga after simply a single session, repeated practice not only helps you to keep your mind calmer for longer but also enables you to achieve a greater degree of mental clarity.