How Does Yoga Work for Your Mental Health?

Published by LivAyur
at February 23, 2022

Yoga is an ancient practice that involves physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation. It helps to not only improve your physical health but also boost your mental well being. With regular practice of Yoga, you can prevent and treat several mental disorders such as stress, anxiety, depression, etc.

Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health

  • Yoga helps to calm the nerves in your mind and reduce the instances of panic attacks and anxiety attacks, thereby significantly improving your mental health.
  • It also helps to improve focus and concentration, which is very important for people suffering from mental health conditions such as ADHD.
  • Yoga stimulates the production of healthy brain chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine, which help balance your mood and restore your inner peace. It is one of the main reasons why Yoga is considered highly beneficial for people suffering from depression.
  • Yoga is also known to develop self-confidence and promote self-esteem, the lack of which is generally associated with anxiety problems. 
  • It helps to improve cognitive skills such as learning, retaining information (memory), attention, awareness, etc., thereby improving brain functions and promoting your overall mental health.   

5 Best Yoga Poses for Mental Health

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

It is one of the best Yoga Asanas for your mental health. It helps calm the nerves, improve concentration, promote patience and relax the body. Furthermore, Shavasana also helps to alleviate many gastrointestinal and respiratory problems. 

How To Do Shavasana?

  • Lie flat on your back while keeping your arms alongside and your eyes closed. Also, keep your legs slightly apart.
  • Then, start taking deep breaths and concentrating on your body parts. Focus on your breathing rhythm as you continue to meditate.
  • Stay in this Asana for 15-20 minutes, and then gradually release the pose and bring your focus back to your surroundings. 

Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

Setu Bandhasana is highly effective in removing mental blockages and promoting peace and calmness. Additionally, it also strengthens the muscles of the legs, thighs and back and relieves the symptoms of arthritis.    

How To Do Setu Bandhasana?

  • Lie down on your back and fold your knees to bring your legs closer to the hips. A straight line must be maintained between the knees and the ankles.
  • Then, take a deep breath in and lift your back. 
  • Without bringing your chin down, aim at touching your chest with your chin. You may place your hands beside your body or use your palms to support your back.
  • Stay in this posture for a few seconds as you keep taking deep breaths.
  • Then, slowly exhale and release the pose.

Uttanasana (Forward Bend Pose)

Uttanasana is considered one of the most therapeutic Yoga poses. It helps to alleviate stress and relax your body and mind. It is known to boost immunity and alleviate fatigue, headache and insomnia, which further contribute to your mental health. Uttanasana is also highly effective in strengthening calves, hamstrings and hips. 

How To Do Uttanasana?

  • Stand straight while maintaining a hip-width distance between your legs. 
  • Then, slowly start bending your body towards the ground while keeping your knees straight.
  • Aim at touching the ground with your palms. Alternatively, you can also hold the ankles of your feet.
  • Stay in this pose for a few breaths, and then gradually release the pose and stand straight. 

Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Balasana helps alleviate stress, anxiety and other mental health problems while calming the nerves of your mind. It is also highly effective in stretching muscles and boosting blood circulation in your body.

How To Do Balasana?

  • Sit on your heels with your knees pressed together.
  • Then, inhale deeply and stretch your arms forward. Slowly start bending your upper body forward until your forehead touches the ground. Make sure your arms are in front of your body, with your palms facing down.
  • Next, gently press your chest on your thighs while inhaling and exhaling deeply. Try to maintain your breathing rhythm.
  • You may stay in this pose for as long as you want, till you feel relaxed.

Vajrasana (Diamond Pose)

Vajrasana is one of the best Yoga Asanas to reduce stress, improve concentration, enhance sleep quality and treat depression and anxiety. Additionally, it is also highly effective in improving digestion and relieving back pain in the body.

How To Do Vajrasana?

  • Fold both your legs and sit down in a way that the heels of your feet touch your hips at the back. Make sure that your spine is always straight in this pose.
  • Then, place your palms on your thighs and start inhaling and exhaling deeply. 
  • Practice this Asana for 10-15 minutes, and then gradually release the pose. 

The Takeaway

Regular practice of the Yoga poses mentioned above can help fight many mental disorders and boost your mental health. They help calm your mind, alleviate stress and boost your brain functions, thereby restoring the balance in your mind. 

This article is reviewed by Suchitra Marwah

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