Mental Benefits of practicing Yoga backed by Studies

Updated: Jun 13, 2021


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No matter if you are a teen or in your late sixties, Yoga offers both physical and mental health benefits to all. And, if you are ill, a patient recovering from surgery, or living with any chronic condition, yoga might already be an integral part of your treatment and catalyzes the healing process.


Yoga incorporates exercises for breathing, meditation, and poses that encourage relaxation and reduction of stress.


Practicing yoga comes along with some health benefits though not all of these are backed by science, we are taking a look into benefits that have proven evidence.


1. Decreases Stress

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Practicing yoga reduces the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4784068/) (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16740317/), hence yoga is well known for its capacity to reduce stress and promoting relaxation.


A study with 131 people had results showing lowered levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression, at the same time improving the quality of health (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17544857/).


Using yoga along with meditation is a powerful way to keep control of stress levels.


2. Reduce the Level of Anxiety


People practicing yoga have proven to have reduced their anxiety levels. Interestingly there is research that shows the same. In a study where a 34-year-old woman with an anxiety disorder was asked to practice yoga twice a week for 2 months. As a result of the study, yoga is found to have reduced her levels of anxiety to a greater extent. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19341989/)


Even though there is no clear explanation for how exactly Yoga reduces the symptoms of anxiety,but it emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and finding peace, which in turn can treat anxiety.


3. Fights Depression


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Some studies suggest that yoga can have antidepressant effects and can reduce the symptoms of depression. This can be supported by the study that has been already discussed which has proven symptoms of reduced levels of cortisol that catalyzes stress. Apart from cortisol Yoga also influences the levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter often associated with depression.


Yoga can be a good combination with traditional methods of treatment when it comes to fighting depression.


4. Improves Sleep Quality


Poor sleep quality is often associated with high blood pressure, obesity, and depression, among other disorders. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26429750/) (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26333359/) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181883/)


A Study in 2005 made with 69 elderly patient who was assigned a yoga practitioner with an herbal approach suggests that yoga can promote better sleep and patient fell asleep faster and longer compared to other patients. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15937373/)


This can be backed up by the fact that yoga increases the secretion of melatonin, a hormone capable of regulating sleep and wakefulness. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15165407/)


Once sleep quality is maintained the probability of getting anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and stress, etc. reduces to a greater extent.


If you are interested in knowing the benefits of having a better sleep cycle give a read to this article: https://www.typriter.com/post/7-ways-sleep-can-improve-your-life


5. Improving the Quality of Life


Many therapists suggest patience to follow yoga to improve the quality of their life. With a back history of 5000 years in Indian texts and tradition, yoga has now become famous in almost every part of the world.


In a study made with 135 seniors for six months who were asked to practice yoga, walking, or control group. Proof exists that group practiced yoga has improved quality of life and better mood and fatigue compared to other groups. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16454146/)


There are also studies showing the improvement in sleep quality, spiritual level enhancement, social function improvement, and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in cancer patients. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3440287/) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3571972/)


Even though people chase gyms to practice physical well-being, it is always Yoga, a traditional method that combines practices to maintain mental and physical well-being at the same time. I suggest readers schedule 15 minutes daily to practice yoga to keep their soul fit for the day.

Article by

Balaji Vannikumar


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