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5 Psychological Benefits of Practicing Yoga

5 Psychological Benefits of Practicing Yoga

  • Apart from the vast physiological benefits, yoga and meditation can both help calm and center the mind.
4 MINS READ

It’s hardly surprising that mindful practices like yoga and meditation both bring mental benefits like reduced anxiety and depression but there are a few other hidden psychological insights that you could find about yourself if you. What’s more, regular practice makes your brain work faster and better.  

When people talk about yoga, they often refer to the physiological benefits like increased strength, flexibility, and relaxation amongst others like lowered blood pressure and slowed heart rate. Yoga is also seen as a tool for weight loss and improving balance and coordination but when seen under the bigger picture, yoga’s cognitive benefits amalgamated with the physiological benefits are tenfold. A yoga practice helps your brain cells develop fresh connections, and changes occur in your brain structure and function, improving cognitive skills like memory recall and knowledge intake.  

Moreover, studies using MRI scans have proved that those who practice yoga daily have a thicker cerebral cortex and hippocampus compared to nonpractitioners. When paired with a mindful meditation practice, yoga improves executive functions like reasoning, decision making, memory, learning, reaction time, and accuracy on tests of mental acuity.

Below, we’ve listed 6 psychological benefits of both yoga and meditation to introduce you to the practice.  

In Yoga, different components are employed like postures, movements, meditation, and breathing to create a cohesive practice that improves overall wellbeing. In Meditation, we engage in mental exercise to reach a heightened state of spiritual awareness. It can benefit cognitive outcomes and can facilitate stress management and while it is studied as an independent practice beyond the scope of yoga, conscious breathing, conscious concentration, conscious relaxation, and a steady pose will bring you to a state of meditation.  

Relaxation  

Yoga helps with physical and mental relaxation which in turn reduces stress and anxiety. The postures and poses encourage flexibility, relieve tension and reduce pain while also releasing muscle knots, helping release emotions and mood-boosting endorphins that essentially make us feel good and positively affect how we deal with stressful situations. For the mind, yoga improves awareness, boosts concentration, and centers the mind, making us aware of the transitory nature of the sensations in our body, our thoughts and feelings, and letting go of attachments to positive, negative, and neutral scenarios. This enables us to cultivate feelings of love, joy, and peace.  

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yoga
benefits of yoga
yoga benefits
Image | Unsplash

Calm the mind  

During a yoga practice, an individual can exercise different patterns of breathing which improves attention and visual perception. Yoga breathing has also been proved to reduce aggression, improve mindfulness and emotional regulation, along with improving the quality of life in individuals facing chronic diseases like stress, pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, helping them sleep better and invoke a sense of calm and serenity through the mind and body. 

yoga
benefits of yoga
yoga benefits
Image | Unsplash

Become aware of your body  

Practicing yoga consistently develops inner awareness. It encourages you to focus your attention on your body’s abilities at the present moment, this could mean aches and pains to release but also emotions and feelings that are pent up. Those who practice yoga are more satisfied and less critical of their bodies, helping them promote a positive body image and self-esteem.  

Build mindfulness principles  

We often worry about the future or things that have already happened in the past, forgetting that now is all we have. Yoga teaches us to be present and focus entirely on the here and now. By practicing mindfulness and conscious breathing in our daily lives, we can answer the question for ourselves; “What is within my power and control at this moment and what can I let go of?”  

yoga
benefits of yoga
yoga benefits
Image | Unsplash

Distress tolerance  

From enduring the heat or cold during a Yoga class or holding a difficult posture for a period of time, or even forcing our mind to focus on only one thing, yoga principles enable us to welcome discomfort and work through them to the other side of the spectrum. It teaches us not to be afraid of feeling discomfort and puts our confidence back in ourselves, letting us believe that we can come out of any situation by breathing, maintaining balance, physically and mentally, and being present in the current moment.  

Release stress and improve tolerance with this soothing guided meditation.

If you wish to practice yoga principles in your daily life, remember to start slow. ThinkRight.me has several flows for beginners and intermediate practitioners alike, so take your time and lean into the practice while honouring what your body is telling you.  

Download the app here.

Read more: Mindful Father’s Day Gifts For All Kinds Of Papas

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