Most of us know yoga is a gentle, calming way to achieve physical fitness and wellbeing. But the ability of yoga to nurture positive mental health is not always as well publicised. We all need a helping hand sometimes, especially if we are going through a particularly challenging time in our life. If you are looking for a truly holistic way to reach out and seek help for yourself, why not think about visiting an experienced yoga practitioner?
Why is yoga good for depression?
Yoga is especially powerful because it places a unique focus on the balance between mind and body. Because of its fully rounded approach it can be very helpful in targeting specific emotional and mood issues such as anxiety, stress and depression.
How does it work?
Controlled, focused yoga movements signal your body to release Serotonin, a natural ‘happiness hormone’ which boosts mood. At the same time, elements of mindfulness, mediation and relaxation involved in yoga act as a self-soothing technique. Deep breathing exercises help strengthen the body-mind connection. Once learned, yoga breathing techniques can be carried forward into everyday situations and used to manage stress or anxiety.
How does physical exercise affect my mind?
Yoga routines and poses have been shown to increase your relaxation response and decrease your stress response. Studies have shown that practising yoga can also lower your blood pressure, reduce your resting heart rate, ease your breathing and increase your pain tolerance, which can all contributes to more stable mental and physical health.
Is it right for me?
Because yoga is non-competitive gentle exercise designed to improve flexibility and fitness at the right pace for you, it is safe for almost everyone. Just let your yoga practitioner know if you have any concerns. Different types of yoga meet different needs. The slow movements of Hatha Yoga are good for beginners, while Ashtanga Yoga is more physically demanding. Iyengar Yoga uses blocks, chairs and straps to bring your body into alignment. Check our HealthyPages directory to find a yoga therapist near you; get in touch and find out how they can help.
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