How can yoga help with mental health?
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Indo-Chinese proverb
We all have the ability to relax deeply even if we don’t know it.
Relaxation is an inborn, integrated physiological process which we can easily trigger just by setting up the right conditions.
Through yoga, we can begin to release physical tension and create a strong and supple body. When we feel physically comfortable, our breath comes easier and our mind becomes calmer. Tension in the body creates tension in the mind, tension in the mind creates tension in the body. Yoga helps us break this cycle.
The way we breathe reflects our state of mind and when we breathe in a particular way by choice or habit it can influence our mental outlook both negatively or positively. Yoga gives us tools to change our relationship with our breath and use it to modify our consciousness and enhance our well-being.
When we control the breath during yoga practice this gives us the ability to control the breath when we’re off the mat. We put our body in positions of stress but the breath always remains calm and steady, we learn to breathe through the stress. Through this (and other techniques) we create an inner dialogue and in that dialogue we are able to change how we identify with ourselves. How we react to thoughts/moods or whether we choose to react at all.
Yoga is fundamentally a tool for transformation of the mind. Through the use of asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation, yoga helps us accept and celebrate who we are right now.