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Yoga for Mental Health - Does it Help?

girl standing against the wall in deep stress

Do you ever feel like everyday some sort of dramatic occurrence happens that makes you go "Great... what next? I remember when that was daily. I wouldn't say I NEVER have those days, but they are fewer and further between. I owe a huge chunk of that to Yoga. Yoga, often perceived primarily as a physical practice, actually has a way of creating spiritual and mental balance using the body to communicate with spirit and mind. It's a journey that begins on the mat but extends far beyond, influencing our daily lives, thoughts, and feelings.

At the heart of yoga's influence on mental health, is its ability to get you grounded in the moment and live through "what is". This aspect of yoga acts as a stable force, anchoring us in the present moment and saying farewell to the mind monkeys that often dwell on past regrets or future anxieties. When we bring our focus to our breath and bodily sensations, yoga allows us to cultivate a sense of inner peace and calmness, essential tools in combating stress and anxiety. At the studio and around others doing yoga, we find a haven from the relentless pace of life, offering our minds and a much-needed respite.

Joe Dispenza, a well-known figure in the fields of neuroscience and self-help ( Im a

HUGE fan!), emphasizes the importance of mindfulness in several of his quotes. One particularly relevant quote is, “Life is about the management of energy, where you place your attention, is where you place your energy.”

girl is peacefully meditating by a river with hands up and eyes closed

Wanna nerd out on stress a little more with me? Lets go. It's essential to understand how stress physiologically impacts our bodies. Stress, a common yet potent disruptor of mental well-being, often manifests through elevated cortisol levels – the body's primary stress hormone. Yoga, with its unique combination of physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation, has been shown to significantly lower cortisol levels. We recommend you practice Yoga for Mental Health & Physical benefits at least 2-3 times a week to really reap these benefits. Otherwise, it will be a constant swim upstream.

This transformative power of yoga is not just anecdotal; it's backed by experts in the field of mental health. In conversations with mental health professionals, the consensus is clear: yoga is a formidable ally in the fight against mental health issues. Dr. Emily Johnson, a clinical psychologist, highlights this, stating, "Yoga offers a holistic approach

pie graph chart showing the different mental health benefits that yoga offers
Proven Mental Health Benefits of Yoga Graph 1.2

to mental health, addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of well-being. Its emphasis on mindfulness and body awareness makes it particularly effective in managing stress, anxiety, and depression." Even Dr. Mark Hyman (who used to teach yoga before he became a doctor, touts about its benefits all the time, Its not a coincidence that these insights from experts not only validate the experiences of countless yogis, but also underscore the profound impact yoga can have on our mental landscape.

I will never forget my first panic attack (probably similar to most peoples who have experienced one). I was sitting at my computer posting some pics on Facebook and then out of nowhere my heart started racing and panic filled my body. I didn't know what was happening but I found myself at Emergency at St. Michaels hospital only to hear after a series of tests I was "ok and probably stressed". Which of course didn't make me feel comforted. The I spent the next year avoiding that horrible feeling which only made it comeback 10 fold. I knew I had to do something about it and thats when I took up Yoga teacher training to get deep into yoga. It helped! By no means am I completely anxiety free but i have accepted my human-ness and that it happens and its not so scary for me anymore, Yoga has taught me to trust my body.

yoga students at Life Yoga Studio Milton practicing Yin Yoga with props laying on the floor

Yoga is a gentle yet powerful practice that combines the therapeutic effects of physical activity with the calming influence of mindfulness and meditation. This synergy creates an environment where the symptoms of anxiety and depression can be alleviated, and individuals can find a sense of balance and tranquility in their lives. Often you will get the best results by listening to your body and what does it need today. An agressive practice like Heated Power Flow, Vinyasa or Yoga with Weights? Or perhaps you arr wound up enough and need something more relaxing like Restorative, Yin or Zen Stretch.

But perhaps the most beautiful aspect of yoga's impact on mental health is the sense of community. In a yoga studio, individuals come together, each with their unique struggles and stories, and find a shared space of healing and growth where practitioners share support, and understanding - even without speaking a word. Its all in our energy. It's a reminder that we're not alone in our journeys, that our battles are shared, and our triumphs celebrated collectively.

yoga students at Life Yoga Studio Milton in childs pose

"Yoga is a holistic practice that supports mental health, reduces stress, and enhances overall well-being. Its benefits are multifaceted, touching every aspect of our lives and offering a wellspring of resilience, peace, and joy. As we continue to navigate the complexities of life, yoga remains a steadfast companion, guiding us towards a more balanced, healthy, and fulfilled existence." -Alia, RYT 500, Owner of LYS

🩷💜 Speaking of Mental Health and spiritual healing, Steph will be hosting Soul Dive with Steph this on Saturday, January 27th. This workshop is very uplifting and you will feel a sense of renewal which is just what we need to unwind from the busy holiday season! Check it out here:

Until we meet again, stay true, stay fit and keep loving all the little miracles that life throws at you daily. Look for them and they will grow!

🙏❤️ With love and thanks,

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