Yoga for Mental Health- 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits

When it comes to emotional and psychological health, we ignore to discuss with others. The social stigma attached to mental illness makes it difficult to diagnose, especially for women. Besides, some of them even not aware of their symptoms. The disease not only affects women, but people around her also get severely affected. Fortunately, The awareness about mental health issues is rising now. Psychiatrists and psychologists also started to recommend Yoga for improving mental health as a preventive measure before starting medications. On the other hand, more and more studies and research going on to prove how yoga helps to restore mental health

The impact of Yoga on mental health is manifold and growing worldwide. As a matter of fact, this scientific evidence also supports these claims.

Let’s get straight to the origin of yoga before moving on to benefits.

Yoga for Mental Health

Yoga for mental health

The origin of Yoga dates back many thousand years ago. Around 2nd century BC, Sage Patanjali compiled the methods and processes of Yoga into 196 sutras. These sutras are known as Patanjali Yoga sutras. Yoga reconnects the physical body to higher realms of divinity.

As per the Yoga Sutra, Yoga has eight limbs which are known as Ashtang Yoga.

Yama – restraints or ethics of behaviour

Niyama – observances

Āsana – physical postures

Prāṇāyāma – control of the breath

Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses

Dhāraṇa – concentration

Dhyāna – meditation

Samādhi – absorption

Yoga postures(Asanas), Pranayam, and meditation(dhyana) are commonly practised to uplift the quality of life. Change in your breathing can bring change in your nervous system. Many studies support that Yoga is beneficial in dealing with mental ailments. Since Yoga works in a very subtler way, It not only builds physical strength and flexibility but also breaks the psychological barriers in mind and effectively helps to connect to society. The report shows that Yoga’s postures boost your immunity, improves blood circulation and balance hormonal functions. 

Mental disorders

yoga for mental health

Depression and anxiety are pervasive mental disorders and significant contributors to the global burden of disease. Depression is significantly causing disability Globally. As per WHO 264million people are suffering from depression worldwide. Women are more prone to mental disorders rather than men. Anxiety is also on the rise, which is also one of the causes of concern. Women are 1.4 times affected by stress as compared to men.

there is the interrelation between Physical ailments and mental disorders. For instance, Depression can lead to PCOS and vice versa.

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Why is Yoga good for mental health

Why is yoga good for mental health

Studies on the role of Yoga for stress management indicates that physical and mental states are interlinked.

Most of the psychological ailments, in general, are the combination of distorted thoughts, perceptions, emotions, relationships, and behaviour issues. 

Yoga is the way of life. It is based on the concept of balancing five senses. Yoga helps you to attain harmony between different body parts, your thoughts, your emotions. It transforms the mental pattern of perceiving things. 


yogaś Citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ

According to Translation by Swami Vivekananda “Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).”

The yogic way of lifestyle changes brings the abnormal thought process in control, thus checks emotional floodings and negative behavioural patterns. Besides Hath yoga postures keeps you physically fit, flexible, and in balance.

Similarly, Yoga harmonizes bodily actions in such a way that it culminates in attaining self-empowerment, self-restraint and clarity.

Scientific research on yoga benefits

Scientific research on yoga benefits

There are numerous benefits of Yoga on mental health supported by research and studies. Let’s take a look at them.

Reduces Stress

Sweden’s Karolinska Institute implied that recitation of om during meditation and making humming sounds (Bhramari Pranayam) open the sinuses and thus ease the process of drainage. Yoga helps in regulating adrenal glands which culminate in balancing cortisol levels in the body. As a result, you feel less stressed.

Calms the mind

Yoga supposedly reduces anger. Practising yoga increases the feelings of compassion and interconnection. Yoga consists of complicated postures and relaxation techniques which clams down the nervous system and the mind. Regular practice helps in preventing Anxiety outburst and panic attacks.

Increases the awareness

Yoga and meditation build awareness

At the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson, Ph.D., proposes that the left brain showed magnified activity in meditators. Left brain sided activity was enhanced significantly in long term yoga practitioners.

The study indicates happiness and immunity are correlated. 

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Builds self-esteem 

low self-worth, sadness and feelings of guilt are few characteristics of Depression and anxiety.

Breath regulation and intricate postures clear the clutter out of mind and help to come out of self-doubt.

Relaxation, breath regulation, and meditation are essential for people with anxiety. Yoga helps you to realize your true nature and reconnects you to the divine if you let it happen to you. Dedicated practise you to understand your worth thus improves confidence.

Enhances Mood

The research study was presented in international Yoga Therapy and Positive Psychology conferences and also published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal that Yoga is helpful to develop a positive outlook and transforming discursive thought processes in the case of trauma victims. The report also suggested that regular meditators show higher plasma dopamine levels.

Moreover Yoga and other forms of exercise release Dopamine and endorphins hormone that improves the mood and makes you happy and elevate your mood.

Helps to concentrate

Scientists in Spain have found that long-term yoga practice increases your brain’s grey matter as well as increases in the parts of the brain responsible for attention, self-control and compassion.

Those who have ADHD lack attention and focus. Probably because Yoga poses and meditation helps you to concentrate more and less distracted by your thoughts.

Reduces the Pain

Yoga and meditation help stabilize the autonomic nervous system. Yoga, along with meditation, eases pain. As is the case, Pain is one of the contributors to depression and anxiety disorders.

The impact of Yoga on physical and mental health are alike. Physical fitness and flexibility are by-products of the yogic way of life; furthermore, It cleanses your mind’ clutter. The focus on your breath keeps you balanced and brings harmony in your entire being.

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Gradually, Yoga is getting popular as alternative medicine in treating various physical and mental ailments and listed amongst the Top 10 best complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States. If the yoga poses done with full focus on breath and movement can bring tremendous changes in body and mind.

So start practicing Yoga and get ready to enter into a state of bliss!

You should consult the therapist but alongside reap the benefits of Yoga. Since Yoga is a supplement to the medical therapy, Therefore taking proper treatment from your therapist is advisable.

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