Yoga is an incredible tool for our health––physical, emotional, and mental. Yoga can help manage anger, anxiety, depression, and other common psychological conditions many of us experience. This week, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of the tangible ways yoga can not just open up your hips, but also positively impact your mental health.
Let’s start with exploring that intangible feeling you experience after yoga––calm, clear, energized, and happy. How does mindful breath and purposeful movement translate into a major adjustment in your mind? One of the primary reasons is because deliberate movement and breathing patterns affect your nervous system in a positive manner. Yoga helps us shift from fight or flight or a reactive state to rest and digest, a receptive state of being.
When we are reacting from a place of fear, anger, or anxiety, we are operating from our fight or flight response––shallow breathing, accelerated heart rate, and stress. When our autonomic nervous system is out of balance, we have a difficult time managing our emotions. Ever over-reacted and lashed out at a loved one or a stranger for no apparent reason? Ever noticed that response doesn’t happen after a satisfying yoga practice?
Yoga helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which shifts us toward our parasympathetic nervous system, where we can relax. During yoga, we tune into physical sensation and become more aware of how we are feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally. Depression is often tied to being mired in the past and anxiety or worry is tied to anticipating the future. Yoga encourages existing in the present moment and keeps the past in the rear view mirror and the future somewhere down the road. If we can practice learning to be present, in a grounded sense of being, our thoughts have the opportunity to become less distracted.
When we move mindfully, we create not just a physiological release, but also a psychological release. Yoga can be beneficial for enhancing mood, managing stress, reducing irritability and anger, alleviating insomnia, and even help with situational depression. Yoga has been successfully utilized in programs for people suffering from PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to access the areas of the brain where individuals house trauma and fear. These health benefits continue to gain more traction in the scientific and medical community, that both encourage yoga and meditation for their patients.
This week, we bring you four classes, specifically designed to bring you relief, lightness, and tools to navigate whatever it is that may be making you not feel your best.