Benefits of Yoga in Mental Wellness

Discover the benefits of yoga and how it can improve your quality of life in this comprehensive article.

What Is Yoga and How Does It Work?

There are many benefits to practicing yoga, as it can be a great way to improve your overall health. Yoga is a type of exercise that emphasizes a mind-body connection, allowing individuals to strengthen their bodies as well as their minds.

Brief History of Yoga: Yoga is an ancient practice thought to have originated in India over five thousand years ago. Over time, people all over the world began to appreciate the benefits of yoga. A 2017 national survey found that one in seven people in the United States practiced yoga.1

Benefits of Yoga

Types of Yoga

There are several types of yoga, each with unique qualities and difficulty levels. Some popular types of yoga include:
  • Hatha
  • Ashtanga
  • Bikram
  • Kundalini
  • Vinyasa
  • Restorative
With all the different varieties of yoga, you may be wondering which type of yoga is best for you. If you’re a beginner, you may find hatha yoga classes easiest, as hatha yoga is often done at a slower pace, allowing participants to get a better feel for each pose. However, trying out different types of yoga through classes or online videos can be a great way to find what works best for you.

What Are the Health Benefits of Yoga?

Countless studies have documented the health benefits of yoga, and one of the great things about yoga is that it is a low-impact exercise many people can do. Research shows that 94% of people who practice yoga do so as part of a wellness regime, and it’s easy to see why.2

Physical Health Benefits

The physical health benefits of yoga include:

  • Increase flexibility
  • Build muscular strength
  • Improve posture
  • Improve the immune system
  • Lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels
  • Reduce back pain
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Improve sleep and sleep disorders

Yoga Improves the Quality of Life

Yoga shows real promise for improving the quality of life for those who practice it regularly. For instance, one study found that people who practiced yoga before bed experienced a higher quality of sleep by 11%, and another study reported that people fell asleep 37% faster after practicing yoga for eight weeks.3

Further, a national health statistics survey found that 85% of people who practice yoga experience reduced levels of stress, 60% are more motivated to exercise regularly, and 40% are more motivated to eat healthier. Additionally, after starting yoga, 25% reported reducing or stopping smoking cigarettes, and 12% reported reducing or stopping alcohol intake.4

How Does Yoga Affect Mental Health?

There are various ways in which yoga can strengthen mental health. These will be detailed further below.

Yoga Regulates Your Nervous System Response

Evidence shows that yoga can improve emotional regulation, leading to less stress and more feelings of calmness. Yoga can also decrease inflammation in the body caused by chronic stress.

Yoga Helps With Stress Relief and Reduces Anxiety

Yoga can be effective as an alternative treatment for anxiety disorders. Yoga nidra, a type of yoga that focuses on a body scan/guided meditation, has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety definitively.

Yoga Can Help With Depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common mental health disorders. A systematic review of twenty-three studies concluded that yoga could effectively reduce depression. But studies show that yoga-based treatments can effectively treat depressive symptoms; in fact, yoga can now be considered an effective alternative treatment for people dealing with MDD.5

Yoga Can Help With Burnout

Because yoga is beneficial for the mind and body, it can be a great tool to prevent and decrease burnout. For example, many people feel bodily tension, emotional stress, and fatigue when burnt out from work, school, or life.

Yoga addresses all of these symptoms of burnout, as it can lessen tension by improving posture and strength, relieve stress, boost mood and mental health, and offer relaxation in the face of fatigue.

Benefits of Yoga

How Does Yoga Compare With Other Forms of Exercise?

Although some people may think yoga isn’t as intense as other forms of exercise, such as running, biking, or weightlifting, practicing yoga can be a great way to stay healthy. In fact, a national survey revealed that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, making it one of the most popular forms of exercise.6

Anyone Can Practice Yoga

Because there are several different types of yoga – with certain types focused more on breathing and holding poses, with other types more intense and aerobic – people of all ages, backgrounds, and exercise abilities can participate in yoga.

In addition, while yoga does involve stretching and holding poses, being super flexible is not a necessity to participate in the practice. People can build flexibility over time by making yoga a regular part of their healthy living regime.

Low-Impact Yoga Has Less Risk of Injury

Yoga is generally a low-impact form of exercise, combining stretches and poses with meditation and connecting with the breath. Because of its low-impact nature, people typically do not get injuries practicing yoga, but there are a few risks to be aware of. Sprains and strains can happen; the most common injuries tend to happen in the knees and lower legs.

Older adults may also be more prone to injuries. To ensure your safety, it’s always a good idea to practice yoga under the guidance of a trained instructor and to participate at a pace that feels right for you.

Learn What Essence Healthcare Has to Offer

Adopting a yoga practice is an excellent way to improve quality of life and mental health. Nonetheless, when you’re facing addiction or other difficult mental health issues, a treatment program may be key to long-term healing.

Essence Healthcare offers a full spectrum of care, from inpatient and outpatient treatment to sober living. Every step of the way, you have a qualified team supporting you on your journey and providing high-quality treatments for conditions like substance use disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder, and more.

Treatment Programs at Essence

Some of the helpful services offered at Essence include:

At Essence, you receive personalized treatment that works for you and your needs. Whether you’re experiencing substance use disorder or mental health concerns, the wide range of services offered at Essence can help you heal in a holistic and supportive environment. Reach out today at 800-426-9829.

Table of Contents

Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.