Can Yoga Get Your Mind in Shape?

How yoga affects the brain.

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Photo by Eneko Uruñuela on Unsplash

Yoga has a deep and long history with many styles to choose from. Each style of Yoga has its own benefits but also share in many of the same benefits. Some are great for meditation while others are great for stretching and losing weight.

Yoga doesn’t just have physical benefits on your body but also can help with anxiety & depression. A natural medication for your brain. How does it all work?

The Science of It All

In the west, Yoga has always been a way to get fit, and relax with therapeutic benefits. But for many years now, the science behind why Yoga works so well has been researched and published for all of us to understand more.

The way Yoga can affect the mind can range from:

  • physiological
  • body awareness
  • emotional states of stress
  • cognitive functions

Yoga helps boost GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in your thalamus part of your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps calm you down. Having higher GABA levels in the brain can help with anxiety & depression.

Yoga’s impact on anxiety, depression, and pain tolerance is because of the combination of breathing, meditation, and movement. Making yoga one of the best exercises to combat anxiety.

Yoga also helps in producing gray matter in the brain. Gray matter is a major part of your nervous system. It helps with muscle control, memory, speech, pain tolerance, vision & hearing, emotions, decision making, and self-control.  

Located in the cerebral cortex part of the brain. High levels of gray matter can actually prevent or subside chronic pain in the brain. People dealing with depression have low levels of gray matter, which might be the result of chronic pain.

Depending on the severity of depression and or anxiety, yoga & meditation can have profound effects on gray matter levels. Yoga and chronic pain have opposite effects on brain gray matter.

Remember if you ever feel stressed out by your daily life, take 15 to 30 minutes out each day to practice yoga. Your stress levels will reduce and you will become more relaxed overall.

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”

As much as yoga can help the brain, it also helps your overall health as well.

 Health Benefits of Yoga

There are many styles of yoga to choose from, but they all share similar benefits for your health. By practicing regularly you can:

  • increase your flexibility
  • helps with chronic pain
  • improves anxiety and depression symptoms
  • reduce injuries
  • increase muscle tone and strength
  • improve posture
  • improve circulatory and cardio health
  • increase energy levels
  • improve athletic performance
  • detoxify  your organs
  • sleep better
  • improve your mood

Those are just a few of the many benefits that yoga can bring to your health. Most people who practice regularly see improvements in most of these areas listed above.

Final Thoughts

There are many advantages to practicing yoga on a regular basis, both physical and mental. But like anything out of your regular routine, you will have to make an effort to make yoga a routine in your life.

Finding a yoga style that you enjoy is key. If you enjoy what you are doing, you are more likely to continue and see results. Start off at your own pace and find what works best for you.

Give yoga a try. Your body and brain will thank you.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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