Running on the treadmill and lifting weights might be great for the body, but yoga exercises the mind in ways those other workouts cannot. There are many psychological benefits to practicing yoga. Here are a few.
It Teaches You How to Live in the Present
In today’s high-paced society, we have a hard time remaining focused on what is happening in the moment. Between responding to texts, writing emails and constantly checking social media, we often have our attention divided between many different tasks. Research shows that we spend half our time focusing on something other than what we’re doing. Yoga gives us the opportunity to unplug and focus entirely on the here and now.
It Helps Improve Brain Function
Yoga has been shown to increase brain function in as little as 20 minutes. Studies have shown that for adults over the age of 55, practicing yoga three times a week, resulted in improved performance on tasks including information recall, mental flexibility and task-switching. Yoga can also lead to a better memory, mainly because it helps improve blood flow, and that improves the blood flow to the brain making it work better. This is why yoga can be very helpful in staving off diseases like Alzheimer’s and other mental disorders.
It Relieves Stress
Practicing yoga has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. People who practice yoga frequently report that they sleep better and feel less stressed. One recent study compared levels of the amino acid GABA in those who practice yoga regularly compared to those who do an equivalent amount of walking. This amino acid is essential for a well-functioning brain and central nervous system, and helps create calm inside the body. The study found a higher amount of amino acids in those who regularly practiced yoga. Yoga also adds structure and routine to your day and takes time away that you might have spent worrying or stressing out. This is why most yoga practitioners report feeling much better after performing yoga.
It Brings Out Positivity
People who regularly practice yoga often claim that it brings out their positive traits and downplay their negative ones and that it spills out into their personal relationships. Yoga is often credited with making individuals more insightful, self-aware, kind, respectful, compassionate and less judgmental of others who are different than them.
It Increases Your Confidence
Practicing yoga helps provide you with greater self-awareness which helps provide you with a greater understanding of your strengths and limitations. This knowledge can equip you with a greater sense of self and a more confident personality. Confidence is trusting in your decisions, believing in your abilities, and accepting your limitations. These are all traits that are reinforced in yoga. Additionally, yoga poses also require strong postures that increase confidence by inspiring physical authority. In fact, researchers have found that when you assume “power poses” of uplifted posture, like those taught in yoga, your decision-making abilities are subconsciously improved.