Over half of Americans are feeling stressed. While some stress can be good and help us meet goals, it also leaves us weary mentally and physically. 

There are many ways to combat stress, but yoga is a preferred method. The mental health benefits of yoga cannot be overstated and there are many types of yoga you can do to wind down. Yoga’s so flexible, that you can do it practically anywhere!

If you’re feeling mentally stressed, here are some reasons why practicing yoga can bring down your stress level. 

1. Anxiety And Depression

Stress can sometimes give birth to anxiety and depression, so much so that around 40 million adults struggle with it. With anxiety and depression, it’s more challenging to be productive and present in your life. 

While there are benefits in using medication to manage mental issues, yoga can play an important part as well. Yoga helps slow down your heart rate and makes you feel calmer and relaxed through deep breathing. The meditative portion of yoga is designed to help you maintain balance and bring about peace.  

2. Boosts Energy

Stress leaves you feeling drained and sometimes unmotivated to finish your tasks. Sometimes you turn to caffeine or energy drinks to get the much-needed surge of energy, but these often leave you feeling worse than before.

If you find you’re feeling less than energetic, the movements of yoga can help boost your energy. This is because when the hormone cortisol is low, it results in a sluggish feeling. Practicing certain yoga poses can increase healthy cortisol levels and get you feeling more energetic. 

3. Concentration

When you’re under immense stress, it’s usually because there are so many things in your life happening that it’s hard to zero in on the most important. In turn, you have trouble concentrating on primary tasks or situations. 

Yoga is not only a great exercise for the body, but for mental concentration. Because yoga is not a traditional exercise, it takes much concentration to stay in your poses and to pay attention to your breathing. As you practice these, that skill transfers to the rest of your life, and you’ll find yourself able to focus and concentrate better. 

4. Mindfulness

Stress leaves you little time for reflection, especially when you need to be reflecting on yourself and what’s happening in your own life.

Staying connected to yourself, your thoughts and feelings is an essential part of living a healthy and whole life. When you practice yoga, you become more aware of many things, such as certain feelings and thoughts. These can help guide you into a more wholesome life, especially when it comes to decision making, and helps clear your mind.

5. Flexibility And Health

When many people are stressed out, it’s not uncommon to turn to stress eating. Stress eating, or emotional eating, most likely happens due to unhealthy levels of cortisol in your body. This type of eating isn’t healthy and may lead to unwanted weight gain, which could cause more stress. 

Keeping your body at a healthy weight is key to overall healthy life. Yoga helps keep you flexible and your body healthy. Flexibility is important because it prevents injuries and tones muscle, which burns more fat. 

Depending on the type of yoga you practice, you can also do yoga that will burn calories and help keep the weight off if you practice regularly. 

6. Mood

Have you ever been so stressed that you’re in a bad mood and snap at someone you love? You’re not alone! Stress has a tendency to make you grumpy and irritable and as a result, sometimes you lose your cool. 

The great thing about yoga is that it is a form of exercise and can boost our mood and outlook. Yoga can release chemicals called endorphins which can make you happy. 

Yoga also releases a chemical called Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms brain activity and produces a sense of calm. This is especially helpful when your brain is moving 100 miles per minute while you’re stressed. 

7. Preserve Your Brain

Your brain is an organ and needs exercise and stimulation to stay young and working just like your other organs. 

Yoga is the perfect activity for this, especially for older individuals who may not be able to withstand intensive exercise. People that practice yoga keep their brains in better condition with improved concentration, not to mention the fact that it helps with self-control and self-assessment. 

If you suffer from migraines, yoga can help reduce the amount or severity of migraines as well. 

Types of Yoga

Not all yoga is created equal, but any yoga you do will have benefits for your mental health. 

If you’re ready to start practicing yoga, here are a few different types of yoga to try. 

1. Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is one of the most popular types that’s practiced and particularly good for stress management. 

Hatha is great for novices because it’s slow and calming. It’s a great way to get your feet wet and see how yoga works for you. 

2. Restorative

Restorative yoga focuses more on a few poses and holding them for a long time. This type of yoga is best if you want to improve your concentration because of its emphasis on relaxation.

3. Vinyasa

Vinyasa means “flow” and is a flow of different poses, one to the next in motion. Its primary goal is to keep you moving, sometimes slowly sometimes quickly. Vinyasa is also great for beginners. 

Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

The mental health benefits of yoga are many and worth exploring if you’re feeling stressed. The daily practice of yoga in your life can keep you centered and calm, and ready to handle the stress when it comes your way!

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