If you’ve ever scrolled social media, chances are you've seen advertisements or personal experiences talking about all of yoga's fantastic benefits. People all over the world have reduced their pain, lost weight, toned their body, or strengthened their core thanks to a yoga regimen. But you may be surprised to learn that yoga benefits aren't just physical.
While it’s certainly true that yoga can work absolute wonders for your physical health, it can completely rehabilitate your emotional well-being as well.
Life can be crazy. We're under constant pressure and it can quickly become a lot to bear - until you find yourself going through the motions of life without ever really enjoying a single moment of it. Maybe you feel as though you’ve somehow lost the person that you used to be. Or perhaps you’re suddenly realizing that you actually have no idea who you really are at all. It’s a terrifying feeling. And one that hasn’t always had a great solution. Until now.
We’ve laid out some of the best benefits yoga has to offer your emotional well-being, as well as just a few of the best poses to help you discover your inner peace and leave the mat a happier, more balanced individual.
How Does Yoga Improve Your Emotional Health?
Calms Your System
The very basics of yoga come down to a sense of calmness. The moment you step on the mat you’re making an agreement with yourself to let go of life’s troubles. While it may be difficult or even awkward to achieve at first, you’ll quickly find yourself settling into the poses and regulated breathing. This soothes your entire system which relieves stress almost instantly. Which, in turn, improves your emotional balance.
Curb Emotional Eating & Cravings
Emotional eating can be the bane of your existence. Drowning your sorrows in a pint of Chunky Monkey feels amazing at the moment, but it does no favors for your waistline or your overall self-image in the end.
When Kelly McGonigal Ph.D. spoke with the director of Sprout Yoga, Maggie Juliano, Juliano stated that “yoga gives people the skills to stay with what they are feeling, rather than turning to food to escape.”
Fosters An Appreciation For The Moment
As cliché as it sounds, we don’t often stop to smell the roses anymore. Life can become monotonous. We do the same things day in and day out and we just don’t have the time or desire to stop and appreciate the small things such as a sunny afternoon.
Yoga equips you with the tools to reground yourself with all of the most wonderful things that life has to offer. That way even when you’re off the mat, you have the ability to be present, appreciative, and mindful in the moment.
Retrains The Brain
Everyday life is full of stressors. And we’ve been conditioned to deal with those in ways that aren’t necessarily helpful or productive. A consistent yoga routine can actually reconnect and center your mind to your body. Through the use of breathing exercises and the practice of mindfulness, you can actually reset your mind to a default of peace and serenity.
Equips You With The Ability To Regulate And Manage Emotions
As humans, we are walking balls of emotion. Even the smallest of things can run us through a dozen different emotions. It can be a lot to deal with, and it can be very difficult to regulate our feelings and find a way to process and deal with them throughout everyday life.
By using a yoga routine to ground yourself, reconnect with those emotions, and allow yourself adequate time and a proper environment to truly feel and process them, you can walk away from your session equipped with the skills to regulate and manage those emotions off the mat. This leads to a lot less frustration, unhappiness, or moments that feel completely overwhelming.
Yoga Poses For Emotional Balance
This pose brings about a meditative state – a feeling of calmness, relaxation, and stress relief.
Standing Forward Bend
This pose combats common emotional discomforts such as stress, depression, and anxiety by relaxing the mind.
This pose only requires you to lie flat on the back and focus solely on your breathing techniques. This pose calms the mind by calming the body.
This pose opens the heart and expands the lungs allowing for full, deep breaths which aids in reducing stress and filling the mind with peace and serenity.
Head To Knee Forward Bend
This pose relieves stress and tension in the body, specifically in the spine and back muscles, in turn helping to combat stress and depression and inducing a state of serenity.
Try a breathing exercise: Pranayama
- Artofliving.org, n.d.
- Indiatimes.com, n.d.
- Psychologytoday.com, n.d.