Benefits of Yoga on the Mind and Body

By now, yoga is practically inescapable—even if you haven’t tried this mental and physical exercise for yourself, chances are you’re at least familiar with it. Yoga, which is both a form of exercise and a spiritual practice, focuses on disciplining the mind, body and breath. It uses a series of gentle (but challenging) stretches to improve circulation, flexibility and strength while reducing stress.

Is yoga right for you? If you’ve been undergoing a lot of mental strain (like most of the country), you could benefit from adding a yoga practice to your schedule. Here are the benefits of yoga on the mind and body in Havre, MT:

  • Improves strength, flexibility and balance: The physical benefits of yoga are well documented—and if you’ve ever tried to hold challenging poses for a period of time, you’ll know exactly what a workout yoga can be. There are also variations to improve the physical effects, like hot yoga and power yoga workouts.
  • Relieves stress and anxiety: Exercise has been scientifically proven to help relieve stress and anxiety, and that includes yoga. Your practice can be as challenging as you like, but the focus on physical movement and breath bring a sense of calm that lasts long past when you roll up the mat.
  • Promotes healthy breathing: Most of us fail to breathe deeply on a regular basis, which is important for vital capacity (how much air your lungs can expel). This helps with heart problems, lung disease and asthma.
  • Fights depression: Yoga decreases the amount of the stress hormone cortisol that your body produces, which helps reduce depression. Studies have shown that regular yoga practice results in much lower levels of cortisol overall.
  • Reduces inflammation: If you suffer from diseases that are caused or exacerbated by chronic inflammation, yoga can help reduce those symptoms. While research is still ongoing, there is strong evidence to support the idea that a regular yoga practice will reduce your pain and suffering.
  • Improves heart health: Heart disease is a leading killer in the modern world. Yoga helps lower your blood pressure, and can increase the positive effects of starting a heart-healthy diet. If you have a family history of heart disease, starting a regular yoga practice will help protect you and maximize those health benefits.
  • Helps you sleep longer and deeper: Are you getting enough sleep? Most American adults report problems sleeping, especially when coupled with conditions like anxiety and depression. Performing yoga regularly helps produce melatonin, the sleep hormone that helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Since it also helps with stress, depression and anxiety—conditions that affect sleep—regular yoga can help you feel more rested.
  • Improves overall quality of life. All of these factors and more help you improve your overall quality of life—when you feel good and reduce your stress, you’ll enjoy life a lot more.

If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, depression and health issues, the benefits of yoga will affect your mind and body in Havre, MT. Combine your practice with regular counseling appointments from Ellen Savage LCPC—reach out today to learn more!