29 Jan Can Yoga /Movement Benefit your Mental Health ?
Can Yoga /Movement benefit your Mental Health ?
For me, yoga is a form of moving meditation that then helps me to stay in the moment, as it demands and hopefully gets my full and undivided attention. So not only is my body becoming more flexible, but so is my mind. The practice helps me to get in my head to connect with what is going on, connecting to my own inner chimp. Recently, yoga began to have a major impact in my life, allowing me to see that I was not entirely happy with my life and what changes I needed to make.
Are you ready to Stretch your body and calm your mind? Movement and brain health are inherently interconnected, and research suggests that physical exercise is just as beneficial for the brain as it is for the body. While the brain is the control centre for the body, the body also directly impacts the functionality and health of the brain. Engaging in Yoga or any form of exercise can reduce anxiety and depression, improve mood, boost self-esteem, minimise stress, and enhance cognitive functioning.
Moving the body literally boosts the brain.
Having a regular yoga practice can help you to stay calm and relaxed in your daily life, giving you the strength to deal with the everyday challenges of life without becoming stressed or anxious. With yoga, you get a complete package of self-care: breath control, meditation, asana and yoga philosophy, which can all help the recovery from anxiety. Although, as we all soon find out, it’s not a quick fix and does take time.
Here are five ways movement and Yoga can benefit your mental health:
1. Increases brain size.
Not only does Movement make the existing brain structures healthier, it can increase the size of the brain. Movement stimulates the release of happy hormones, which help the growth of new connections in the brain and improves the health of existing neurons. High-intensity aerobic exercise has been found to increase the volume of the brain regions associated with memory, reasoning, and learning.
Prevents memory loss. Moving increases oxygen and blood circulation throughout the body and the brain. Improved blood circulation in the brain translates to elevated mood and cognitive functioning. Studies show that working out twice a week can prevent the cognitive decline that typically happens with age, like memory loss and brain functionality.
Improves sleep. Mindful movement like Yoga or Pilates indirectly boost mental health by improving sleep patterns—both in the quality and quantity of sleep. Engaging in fitness during the day increases the amount of time spent in deep sleep during the night. Spending more time in the restorative sleep stage not only enhances your immune system functionality, it can help manage stress and anxiety.
Reduces anxiety and depression. Yoga can produce an anti-anxiety effect in the brain. As stress or anxiety is often a big factor in depression, a part of yoga’s effectiveness derives from its proven ability to allow the release of tension and lowering of cortisol levels. For the body to relax at its cellular level, a shift is needed to be made to create a state of deep rest and calm. Only mind-body practices like yoga, where the emphasis is on deep, restful breathing, allow this. Learning how to breathe more deeply and cultivating breath control: these simple things have an effect on your mental state.
Boosts mood. Working out enhances chemicals in the brain—like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine—that are associated with improved mood and decreased stress. When we boost our heart rate, our body releases endorphins, resulting in a boost of energy and improved mood. By exercising, your mood can be significantly enhanced by the brain learning to naturally produce these mood-enhancing substances, reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
What impacts our body impacts our brain and vice-versa. Exercise is essential to mental wellness. By working out, we can change and boost our brain functions and structure, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve enhanced cognitive functioning, mood, and energy. While it’s always important to recognize that each individual responds uniquely to exercise, using physical movement as a mechanism can enhance our brain for optimal wellness.