Yoga reconnects you to yourself. It's not a religion instead it's a practice of going within yourself. Also, yoga has many wonderful practical purposes that aid in flexibility and strength conditioning, which is a wonderful side effect. :) Indeed it is! I'm well into my midlife and I can say without feeling arrogant I'm very flexible and strong - which only elevates my energy and my strength to run, lift weights and keep up with a young child with no problems. Yoga has been an important part of this achievement.
Let me list the benefits of yoga that I have found in my studies:
A few benefits
Increased muscle strength and tone
Improved respiration, energy and vitality
Maintaining a balanced metabolism
Cardio and circulatory health
Improved athletic performance
Protection from injury
Increase mental clarity
Increase body awareness
Improves the endocrine activity
Increase sexual health
Improve ability to cope with anxiety
Perimenopause and Menopause
Yoga benefits us physically which helps us mentally. Yoga reduces our stress which therefore increases our immune system. Research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine suggests that yoga can be a helpful way to boost your immune system and decrease inflammation in the body. Stress increases chronic inflammation within our system - inflammation is natural but its the CHRONIC inflammation that begins to create a negative impact on our mind and body. Studies were done by alkenberg RI, Eising C, & Peters ML. (2018) Yoga and immune system functioning: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Behav Med. 2018 Feb 10. doi: 10.1007/s10865-018-9914-y.
Stress and anxiety depletes our system. Yoga releases bends and extends all areas of the body. The deep tissues that surround our insides as organs, muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments (fascia) is made up of nerves and as we stretch our body it releases those built-up toxins of stress.Here is an article about fasica and yoga. This mind-body connection is essential for real healing.
Research has shown the experience of Complex and Developmental Trauma impacts one’s sense of self and one’s sense of place and purpose in the world. There are also measurable impacts on the body, brain, endocrine system and cellular biology. I and many other professionals believe healing goes beyond just CBT talk therapy. When we begin to integrate the mind - body - spirit into our therapy practice more profound healing can take place.
I believe in this integration of body awareness. Bringing ourselves into an inner calm requires one be very grounded in their body. The answers you are seeking are within yourself (not a guru, teacher or therapist...but in you) and to find your inner self you need to be grounded. You need to be mindful and centered to your true nature and needs.
Yoga helps you center your mind to your body to ground you. Yoga also can if you're interested ground you to your spirit. What that means will be different for everyone! Your spirit is within you and we need to settle our mind and body in order to listen. We must be silent.
In addition to yoga, meditation is a practice of just going silent within yourself to listen. Yoga can assist you in being mindful of the moment by focusing your attention on your body as you move through the poses. Mindfulness is a little different than meditation but can be easily used to increase overall mental health.
Lastly, yoga is about breathing! The breath is very healing!!! Our blood needs oxygen and breathwork gives our blood the boost of oxygen required to generate new circulation. In yoga, there are many breathing techniques that can be utilized. It depends on the type of yoga practiced. I will be very focused on the breath. The breath in itself turns on that parasympathetic nervous system which helps relax our body and therefore our minds. If our bodies are not relaxed its hard for our minds to relax.
I could write a book on Yoga and mental health so this is a simple introduction. In fact, there are many books on this topic alone! It depends on what you are searching for....maybe yoga to improve your flexibility, movement and awareness or maybe you're more interested in the spiritual aspects of enlightenment and spiritual growth?? Whatever you are searching for there is an exuberant amount of information you can find....have fun and go learn!