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Benefits of Yoga in Mental Wellness

Learn more about the various mental and physical benefits of yoga and how it can improve your quality of life.

What is Yoga and How Does it Work?

Yoga is an ancient practice that involves breathing exercises and poses that center the mind, body, and spirit. Practicing yoga also offers numerous benefits for physical and emotional well-being. Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Since then, the practice has spread across the world and evolved into the modern exercise we see today, which focuses on breathing and holding specific poses and postures.1 Read on to learn more about the benefits of yoga.

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Types of Yoga

There are various types of yoga, including:
  • Vinyasa, which involves a steady flow of different posest
  • Hatha, which tends to be slower-paced
  • Ashtanga, which features poses in a specific order
  • Kundalini, which involves chanting
  • Yin, which is more focused on stretching
Whether you’re new to yoga or a seasoned pro, there are many benefits of yoga practice, including lowered stress, improved heart health, and improved flexibility and balance. Additionally, if you are new to yoga, many studios offer beginner classes that allow you to find out which type of yoga is best for you.2

What are the Health Benefits of Yoga?

Yoga can have profound benefits on both your physical and mental health. A growing body of research shows that adding yoga to your daily routine can vastly improve physical ailments as well as improve one’s overall mood and mental well-being.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

Some of the physical health benefits of yoga include:3
  • Relief from back pain
  • Less joint pain
  • Improved flexibility
  • Increased strength
  • Improved balance and mobility
Preliminary research also indicates that yoga can help with migraines, ADHD, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.4

Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

While it is harder to measure the effect of yoga on mental health, the combination of physical movement and mindful breathing has been shown to have a positive impact on emotional well-being. There are several mental benefits of yoga as well, including: 5
  • Decreased depression
  • Release of feel-good chemicals in the brain
  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Improved sleep
  • Promotion of other healthy habits

How Does Yoga Affect Mental Health?

The benefits of yoga when it comes to mental health are impressive, some of which are detailed below.

Regulates Your Nervous System Response

During yoga and meditation, your parasympathetic nervous system becomes activated, which leads to lowered heart rate and blood pressure, as well as feelings of calmness.

Yoga Helps with Stress Relief and Reduces Anxiety

Numerous studies show that practicing yoga can reduce anxiety and stress levels. This may be due to yoga’s effects on the brain and the parasympathetic nervous system. In a 2020 study, researchers found that people who did an eleven-minute yoga practice each day for a month had reduced stress levels, improved sleep, and enhanced overall well-being.6

Yoga for Depression

Yoga is a way to naturally increase serotonin, which is known as the “feel good” chemical. This helps to improve depression because research indicates low serotonin levels may contribute to depression.

How can Yoga Help Burnout?

Because yoga focuses on tuning into the present moment, it can help to reduce feelings of stress and burnout. Studies also show that yoga can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, which contribute to burnout. Additionally, the exhaustion that comes along with burnout can be alleviated by a yoga practice.

How Does Yoga Compare with Other Forms of Exercise?

Yoga is not typically as intense as other forms of exercise like running or strength training, and yoga classes that are focused more on stretching and meditation will probably not get your heart rate as high. However, research shows that regular yoga practice does build whole-body strength and is a good way of staying healthy.

Yoga vs. Exercise

Another way that yoga differs from other types of exercise is that it offers calming, stress-relieving benefits due to its effects on the parasympathetic nervous system. Due to its positive effects on mood, yoga offers the benefits of good mental health alongside the physical benefits offered by any exercise.
Additionally, yoga is considered a very safe exercise that a wide variety of people can do, regardless of age and physical fitness. However, people with any injuries or mobility limitations should check with their primary care provider to ensure taking a yoga class is safe for them.

Yoga Improves the Quality of Life

In addition to its benefits on the mind and body, practicing yoga can also improve overall quality of life. A 2017 study demonstrated this when older adults with mild cognitive impairment took up yoga for twelve weeks, and by the end of the study, showed improvements in executive functioning and emotional resilience.7

Better Sleep Cycle

Yoga can also improve sleep. Countless studies have demonstrated just how important sleep is for nearly every aspect of life, and by practicing yoga, you can improve your sleep cycle. Studies show that 55% of people who do yoga say that the practice helps them to sleep better.8

Long-Term Health Benefits

By adopting a yoga routine, you are investing in both your short- and long-term health and well-being. Studies indicate that regular yoga can reduce inflammation in the body, leading to better heart health. High blood pressure and excess weight can also be reduced with regular yoga practice.

What Does Research Show About the Benefits of Yoga?

Yoga can improve wellness in many ways and can even aid those in addiction recovery. Because yoga is a form of exercise, and exercise is shown to help with addiction recovery, yoga can be a helpful part of addiction treatment. Stress is often an underlying cause of addiction and relapse, and physical exercises, like yoga, are powerful antidotes to stress.
Research shows that exercise can even replace addictive behavior altogether. In addition, yoga and other forms of exercise can help with withdrawal symptoms, curb substance cravings, and even replace triggers.9

Learn What Ripple Ranch Recovery Has to Offer

At Ripple Ranch Recovery, you can receive addiction treatment that is specialized for your unique needs. Using evidence-based approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma-informed treatment, we help you develop tools and coping skills that allow you to succeed in long-term addiction recovery.

On top of evidence-based therapies, Ripple Ranch Recovery offers a holistic approach to recovery. This means that your healing journey involves focusing not just on healing addiction, but also on healing the mind, body, and spirit, which can be achieved through incorporating yoga into your treatment plan. You will experience the benefits of yoga first-hand with our highly-trained instructors.

Reach Out and Begin Healing

Whether you’re seeking inpatient, outpatient, or detox care, Ripple Ranch Recovery can help you on your road to recovery. Mental health conditions and addiction often go hand-in-hand, which is why we focus on addiction treatment first and work to improve mental health second.

The care you receive while in treatment at Ripple Ranch Recovery doesn’t end once you complete your program – we are dedicated to giving you ongoing care and support through aftercare programs that can keep you on track and enrich your life. To find out more about Ripple Ranch Recovery Center, or if you are looking to learn more about the benefits of yoga, call 830-494-4717.