The relationship between Yoga, breathing and mental health is one of immense significance. Yoga exercises and the right kind of breathing techniques facilitate the mind-body connection and thus, the overall mental health of a person. It also helps in relieving the symptoms of many mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. Yoga, Tai Chi and Meditation Showing Promising Benefits for Veterans.

Practising yoga emphasizes the connection between our minds and our bodies, and encourages a person to use both at the same time. A yoga session requires precise and mindful movement, but it also calls for mindful thought and enhanced awareness. Yoga also teaches a person to focus on breathing while they hold the poses. This attention to the breath is calming; it dissolves stress and anxiety. Yoga can help cure insomnia, as regular Yoga practise leads to better and deeper sleep. Yoga can help fight fatigue and maintain one’s energy throughout the day. Yoga is also an effective treatment for a variety of autoimmune diseases because it can reduce the symptoms these diseases often cause, such as stiffness, malaise, fatigue, and weakness. Even children can benefit from Yoga. Those with attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity can learn to relax and get control by using yoga breathing and yoga asanas. Yoga has been used to help heal victims of torture or other trauma. Because Yoga is a form of meditation, it results in the sense of inner peace and purpose, which has far-reaching health benefits. Yoga Injury? Here's How to Prevent Hurting Yourself During Your At-Home Practice!

There are many benefits of practising Yoga that goes beyond alleviating or buffering against mental illness, such as:

  • It builds confidence
  • It helps you learn to breathe, both literally and metaphorically
  • It makes you more aware of your posture at all times
  • It makes you more mindful
  • It boosts your strength and endurance
  • It helps relieve stress

Mental Benefits of Yoga Practice

Because of the formalized nature of the movements, combined with controlled breathing exercises, practitioners can also experience a number of mental health benefits of Yoga:

  • Reduced stress levels –One of the most recognized health effects of Yoga is its ability to reduce stress by stretching out muscles and relieving accumulated tension. It also focuses the mind away from daily problems and work-related stress.
  • Sharper concentration – Focused breathing and concentration on positions help train the mind to direct its attention in a more concentrated way.
  • Better focus – Yoga practice requires a constant focus of attention on movements and breathing, which carries over into focus on other activities.
  • Improved sleep patterns – Yoga movements relieve stress and work for numerous muscles groups, allowing better relaxation and sleep.

Along with Yoga, various breathing exercises have also been found to improve the mental health of a person. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body.

This is because when a person breathes deeply, it sends a message to their brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to the body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.

There are various types of breathing such as Diaphragmatic Breathing, Equal Breathing and Counted breathing which can have positive side effects on mental as well as physical health.

Whether one is looking or not looking to make improvements in their life by making changes to their breathing, everyone can benefit. For some people who may be suffering from physical ailments such as high blood pressure, migraines, or chronic pain, taking the time to learn how to breathe consciously can make significant changes. By learning how to oxygenate your body effectively, our internal organs can begin to function more efficiently, which can have a direct impact on the way our internal systems operate. For others, breathing can have an incredible impact on mental health. Whether or not you are someone who has been diagnosed with a specific mental issue, most of us who are moving through life with the daily stressors of family, work, finances, grief, etc. can benefit. Giving some time and attention to your breath through conscious breathwork will help to oxygenate the brain and nervous system and can help to calm the mind. If you struggle with anxiety, stress, depression, or any other type of strain, mindful breathwork is sure to assist in making improvements. Just the simple act of deep breathing can help us to think more clearly and understand our worries.

Breathing and Yoga are thus two of the most common and widely used relaxation techniques to alleviate stress and the symptoms of many mental illnesses as well as improving the overall physical and mental well-being of a person.

(Contributed By: Aviva Damania, Psychologist and Mental Health Specialist from City, University of London. She can be reached out at The Mind Essentials.)

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 24, 2020 12:02 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website