How Yoga Can Help Mental Health and Anxiety

The popularity of yoga continues to grow as more people recognize and experience its physical health benefits. Approximately 15-million American adults engage in some type of low-impact or fast-paced yoga. The increase is partly due to a growing trend of health awareness and the availability of local yoga classes. Students learn how to perform asanas that stretch and strengthen muscles, improve balance, realign the body, and reduce tension. Meditation and visualization use deep breathing to clear the mind of worries and troubles.

The combined efforts soothe body aches and pains, increase lung capacity, produce higher mental or spiritual awareness, and improve blood pressure caused by slowing the heart rate. Detoxing the mind opens a path to better clarity and greater control over the negative thought process anxiety creates. Research studies are providing further evidence that yoga benefits not only physical but psychological health as well. 

Therapy and Yoga

When anxiety begins affecting everyday life and psychological and physical health begin to suffer, medical intervention should occur. Mental health professionals are responsible for assessing and diagnosing anxiety disorders and will suggest which type of intervention is needed.

Doctors of psychology will often prescribe medication to treat debilitating anxiety disorders and mental health therapy for learning coping skills. Most people feel better after a productive counseling session, but what keeps those positive feelings in check between sessions? Psychotherapists recognize the therapeutic advantages yoga has in helping to manage depression and anxiety and have begun to incorporate yoga workouts into patient treatment plans. Whether in a class or the comfort of one’s home, yoga fills the gap between therapy appointments. When patients develop a balance between counseling and yoga, they suddenly see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Who Doesn’t Have Anxiety?

We all have all experienced anxiety at one point in our lives. Anxiety is a result of constant daily stress. External threats, problems, or worries, known as stressors, can cause temporary yet manageable stress. Anxiety is a result of combating stress and will not go away even if the stressors have. The symptoms of anxiety and stress closely align and cause muscle tension, irritability, inability to sleep or stay asleep, and trouble concentrating and focusing. The good news is yoga helps wrangle in and lessen the feelings of stress and anxiety! Asanas integrate deep meditation and relaxation techniques that decrease tension and the overwhelming sense of loss of control. 

Improving physical health is directly related to improving mental health and vice versa, and learning how to relax muscles and decrease the rate of respiration contributes to improving both. Remaining calm and focused prevents strong feelings from taking over the thought process, positively affecting the parasympathetic nervous system and the whole body. There is no longer a bad stigma associated with seeking counseling for mental health therapy, and yoga has also become accepted as an additional treatment for anxiety. Feeling more in control of your stress and anxiety could be just a yoga class away.

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