What Does the Research Say About Yoga and Mental Health?

Hundreds of research on the effects of yoga on mental health have been carried out. The general consensus is that yoga has many beneficial mental health effects that go beyond the effects of other low-to – medium-impact physical exercise and these benefits are possibly due to chemical brain changes (Grazioplene, 2012).

It turns out that performing yoga simply encourages a greater release of gamma-amino-butyric acid ( GABA) from the thalamus; GABA functions as a kind of “grand regulator” of the brain, suppressing neuronal function.

It will imitate the effects of medications and alcohol anti-anxiety — yep, doing yoga will make you feel like enjoying a good, soothing drink! This discovery suggests that yoga will potentially function to help “reset” the brain to a calmer, more organized state, giving you the simple mood you need to cope with daily stress (Grazioplene, 2012).

Yoga makes an excellent alternative or complementary treatment for medication and/or therapy-related issues, as it is natural, accessible to all, and relatively easy to engage. It is also a good choice since it is one of the few treatment activities that connect the mind to the body.

In therapy, you generally don’t use your body in any significant way; when taking medication, you generally don’t emphasize the mind-body connection, or even think about it much—after all, you just hope it works, and you may not care much how it works!

The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.

Rodney Yee

Practicing yoga emphasizes the relationship between our minds and our bodies, and allows you to do them at the same time. A yoga session includes correct and attentive action, but it also calls for careful reflection and heightened sensitivity.

Unlike when you go for a run or weights in practice, yoga is only in “full force” when both are running completely committed mind and body. This marriage of your state of mind and of your physical condition provides a unique opportunity to make a powerful impact on your mental health fitness.

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