Mindfulness, self-development and mental well-being are all intricately woven together into a web that guarantees internal peace. In fact, the self-development industry is thriving with a net worth of $11 billion and is forecasted to grow by 5% annually. Each year $500 million is spent on personal development products.
Likewise, mindfulness has gained traction. 8% of the US population practices meditation and roughly 22% of businesses have mindfulness programs in place. It brushes up the performance and productivity of the employees, which explains why these businesses encourage such training sessions.
Despite these statistics that egg on further developments in mindfulness and self-care, the picture of mental health isn’t as bright. Nearly 18% of the US adults deal with the demons of some form of psychiatric conditions. Even more disturbing is the fact that 9.6 million people entertain suicidal thoughts.
In the light of these figures, it is clear that working toward improving mental well-being is the need of the hour. The links of mindfulness, self-development, and mental health need to be strengthened. It’s not going to happen over a cup of coffee or anytime soon. However, yoga episodes can help, as they afford the development of all these elements.
Here is a look at five things that change when you practice yoga:
1) Improves mental health
Yoga is a helpful tool to add to your arsenal of psychological well-being. It helps relax your mind, which takes stress levels down. It also improves your body postures that cause headaches, fatigue, backache, and more. These, in turn, summon or contribute to depression as explained by Dr. Min Yeo, a yoga teacher.
Upon digging deeper, studies support the role of yoga in treating depression. It works to curb anxiety and depression symptoms. Erin Wiley, a clinical psychotherapist in Ohio, gives yoga the credit of calming patients who experience anxiety. She explains, “It teaches clients that they have control of their stress reaction, gives them a coping skill for when they are overwhelmed, gives them experience in practicing calming down which is helpful for times of distress.”
A 2016 research further confirms that yoga is also beneficial for individuals with the major depressive disorder who only partially respond to medication. Another study indicates that yoga assists in improving the symptoms of schizophrenic patients too. It is also found to be helpful in dealing with eating disorders and PTSD as well.
2) Enhance self-regulation
Yoga encourages a quiet mind that sets the foundational stone of personal improvement. A calm mind that doesn’t keep rumbling about your past or fretting about the future is the prerequisite for effective mindfulness. Consequently, by doing yoga, you can live in the moment, shape a wholesome framework of thoughts, and appreciate yourself better.
Yoga also stirs the wheel of mindfulness by promoting the mind-body connectivity. It calms the fight or flight response of the body, widening the scope of your self-regulation. In essence, self-regulation orbits around the idea of better self-care. To this end, yoga facilitates relaxation and self-awareness, two essential means to the goal of self-development.
Negative thoughts blur as you practice yoga. Not only does this amp up your overall health but it also makes you more mindful. Awareness of the present, unpolluted by pessimism, is a crucial characteristic of mindfulness therapy.
3) Shrinks stress
Not only is yoga an antidote for diminishing the symptoms of psychiatric conditions but it is also the magic potion that reduces stress. Our daily life is a jumble of incidents, accidents, and negative thoughts mixed in with a couple of mistakes. There’s only stress that mostly remains a constant during these daily troubles.
On a scale of 1-10, the Americans rate the average regular stress level at 4.6.
Yoga can ward off the tension and stressors. Research outlines that by practicing the three vital yoga elements, meditation, poses, and breathing, you can regulate your heart-rate variability (HRV). Yoga helps to reduce HRV so that you are better able to deal with stress. Another study points out that regular yoga influences the way amygdala responds to stress.
Additionally, 48% of people complain about restlessness at night as a by-product of stress. Evidence indicates that daily yoga can lessen insomnia and even prevent it altogether by courtesy of relaxing yoga postures or asanas.
4) Promotes physical fitness
In addition to the psychological benefits, yoga encourages good physical fitness. A survey reveals that 40% of people who practice yoga opt for healthier eating. These yoga practitioners also report eating sustainably. An additional 75% of yogis tend to participate in fitness or sports activities, and approximately two-thirds exercise more.
Yoga also shoulders the responsibility of upgrading balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Furthermore, it swells the overall quality of your life. Evidence correlates yoga as a useful intervention for helping you deal better with pain.
20% of yogis relay that yoga instills in them a positive body image and a greater sense of strength and mental clarity. The reduction in anxiety and stress due to regular doses of yoga also keeps the physical effects of such psychological concerns at bay. Thus, yoga augments physical fitness in several ways.
5) Increases compassion
Research reveals that yoga impacts compassion and effects interpersonal harmony. It makes a person more compassionate, such that a yogi offers help even if peer pressure works as an antagonist.
Yoga nurtures various other essential morals, in addition to compassion. These include self-disciple, kindness, and truthfulness. It also cultivates a greater sense of unity. Around 50% of the yogis tend to volunteer and donate to their community.
Coral Brown, an internationally recognized vinyasa yoga teacher, and psychotherapist, claims, “Practicing the ethical codes from every perspective helps fortify the concepts within the body and the mind. And what you practice, you become.” Yoga centers around the heart, therefore, reaping compassion, a heart-oriented emotion is only natural.
Consequently, yoga furthers self-development, mindfulness, and mental health. Simultaneously, it revamps your physical health. The number of practicing yogis has almost doubled from 6% to 11% during 2002-12, which is a step in the right direction.
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