Mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact, mental health influences physical health in many ways. Yoga can help. Use it as a way to strengthen your mind.
It usually takes some psyching out to get people to exercise. They have to “talk” themselves into it. When you don’t feel like having that talk, you don’t get the exercise either. When it comes to yoga, the experience works the other way around.
Yoga was once seen as a religious meditation kind of exercise and not one that worked for the body. If you were trying to lose weight you bypassed the yoga class in favor of something more rigorous. What you might not have known was that yoga could bridge the gap between the body and mind, which is so important for focus in life and experiencing a happier existence.
Yoga is an ancient art that has been practiced for centuries. It is used to enhance the body and mind as well as heal both. Have you ever watched someone practicing martial arts? Some of the moves they perform seem almost impossible or ethereal in nature. That is because of the strong connection between the mind and the body.
Yoga incorporates mental exercises as well as the physical exercises (called asanas). Through it all you are practicing your breathing techniques. The body needs oxygen. As you inhale deeply and exhale slowly through your stretches and positions, your muscles are doing more work than you can imagine. Yoga adds flexibility to your body. Lengthening those muscles also builds them up stronger.
Mentally, you are concentrating on several aspects of yoga. First, you are learning to relax your mind and remove all thought but that pertaining to what your body is doing. Some people immediately see the complex positioning of advanced yoga people and say that they can’t do it. By concentrating on each position and helping your body move into them, you can, over time, achieve the same level of expertise.
So, how is all of this helpful for mental patients or people who want to improve their mental health? The mind goes a long way to deciding what we do or don’t do in the body. When you practice yoga you learn to tap into that mind-body connection. With each new milestone, you gain confidence in your ability to control the body. This is crucial when you talk about building relationships with people and even enhancing your personal growth.
You begin to see possibilities in your life with renewed purpose. Through your meditation and exercise, you develop a more spiritual awareness of who you are in relation to the universe and everything in it. A healthy balance forms between your mental state and the rest of your life.
Practice makes perfect. With each positive step you take, the negative thoughts and emotions are dispelled. And, when yoga is practiced in a group setting, you also begin to foster relationships instead of isolation which can lead to depression.
And you thought yoga was just for kicks. It is a serious form of exercise that brings with it healing to the entire body and the mind.