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Can Yoga help improve one’s state of mind?

yoga

The field of mental health is witnessing an upsurge in popularity of various mind-body healing techniques that address issues ranging from stress relief to mood and anxiety disorders.

The combination of proven western psychology and eastern mind-body practices such as yoga have become an effective antidote to emotional and psychological issues. Mindfulness skills learned in advanced yoga teacher trainings can help in recognizing mood shifts and develop coping strategies.

Yoga and Meditation

According to spiritual philosophy, mindful meditation is defined as that which maintains attention on something specific (say, one’s breath), with the focus on retaining beneficial (as opposed to negative) thoughts.

Reduction of suffering (emotional and physical) and the increase in vitality and full life potential is inherent in the yoga philosophy. A yoga routine that incorporates meditation works on increasing one’s awareness of the present as opposed to resisting or attempting to avoid uncomfortable and negative thoughts.

Meditation in the context of yoga supports the process of disengaging from a judgmental approach and encourages an attitude of curiosity and attention along-with constant awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

Science tells us that the practice of mindfulness skills results in improvement of one’s mood and anxiety. It is in this context that therapies involving yoga and meditation are increasingly gaining relevance in the field of mental health.

Yoga can help in dealing with depression, one’s tendency to ruminate (I.e, dwelling on particular thoughts) and dysfunctional thought patterns.

Such skills can also help in event of depression relapse by helping to counter the tendency of negative thought patterns. The physical aspect of yoga can also help tackle the symptoms of inactivity and agitation associated with depression and anxiety. This can also promote self-confidence, an important component when dealing with depression.

A regular practice can foster a sense of actively working on one’s issues and provide a sense of control over the improvement of one’s emotional well-being.

Most importantly though, asanas as practised in Rajadhiraja yoga, the yoga we teach at the Himalayan Yoga Institute, compress and decompress certain glands and chakras, which results in balanced hormone secretion and a sense of general well-being. Negative propensities can be controlled and troubling tendencies can be completely eradicated with a specific  combination of asanas, breathing techniques and the tantric meditation lessons we teach as part of the Rajadhiraja system of yoga. Ideally, a daily routine should be given by a qualified teacher, and it should be personalized, depending on the specific mental and physical issues a person is struggling with.

Yoga and Stress Relief

Stress is a major epidemic in our society that impairs our ability to think clearly, and leads us on a path of reactivity. Unfortunately, most individuals are subject to stressful situations everyday, whether due to a toxic relationship, a stressful work environment, or an unhealthy lifestyle.

Stress is fueled by hormones - epinephrine and cortisol, which creates a state of “hypervigilance” in our mind and body. Yoga and meditation can be very effective in counteracting the chronic stress response.

Yoga helps with stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response), that results in a calm and relaxed mind. When a relaxation response is elicited, stress levels decrease and oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) is released, leading to mental relaxation.

Yoga and meditation are increasingly becoming popular as mindful and embodied approaches to healing that help one develop a relaxed, and peaceful state of mind. Whether one practices at a studio or in the comfort of their own home, regular practice of yoga can lead to significant benefits for one’s personality and physical well being. The best results are achieved when one practices a personalized routine on a daily basis - as given by a teacher of Rajadhiraja yoga.

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Himalayan Yoga Institute. Mount Pleasant Road, London N7 6JQ, UK. Phone: +44-7969-157994 Email: info@himalayanyogainstitute.com