Yoga has become extremely popular as a form of exercise that also provides benefits to the mental wellness of the practitioner. Within the last decade or so, many studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of yoga, mindfulness, and other alternative therapies for the treatment of mental health issues. While results are mixed, depending on the therapy as well as the setting in which it is offered, we can say confidently that mind-body practices such as yoga can offer many benefits. Such benefits aren’t only for people who are in treatment, however. They are also for individuals who aren’t experiencing mental health crises.
What Is the Relationship Between Mind-Body Practice and Mental Health?
Surveys conducted globally suggest that active promotion of practices that support mental health can positively improve people’s perception of mental health treatment. Many activities that activate the body as well as the mind support concepts that have long been offered in the mental health community to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Yoga encourages the practitioner to focus on breathing and the feelings in the body. These are techniques often recommended for people who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks.
Can Yoga Help People Who Have Experienced Trauma?
Some research suggests that yoga can improve cognition, which is a key aspect of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). People who are participating in mental health or substance abuse treatment might be familiar with CBT and its focus on identifying and evaluating thought patterns. Practicing yoga or participating in a yoga therapy program could complement other types of therapy such as CBT. Some research seems to point to yoga as a helpful complementary therapy for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder due to its calming qualities.
What Do Yoga and Meditation Do in the Body?
Yoga and meditation practices can provide benefits for almost every system of the body. Here are a few different ways that practicing yoga or meditation can help the body function at its best:
- Deep breathing and slow movements can help improve blood flow and circulation, which are critical to all body functions.
- Studies show that yoga and meditation can improve memory, thinking speed, and other brain functions.
- The various poses of yoga strengthen and activate the different muscle groups of the body. This can improve overall physical health.
- Yoga and meditation reduce stress. This positively impacts mental health and also reduces inflammation throughout the body.
- Calming, meditative practices improve sleep, which can help improve mental health and reduce the need for sleep medications.
- Yoga can help the practitioner maintain a healthy weight and lower blood pressure. Both of these factors can help promote heart health.
What is Yoga Therapy and How Does it Work?
In addition to the poses and stretching of normal yoga practice, yoga therapy also incorporates other complementary practices like:
- Guided meditation
- Breathing exercises
- Relaxation techniques
These practices aim to integrate the client’s mind and body in order to improve mental and physical wellness. In addition, it can help clients reconnect with their own health. Unlike a regular yoga class, yoga therapy often happens on an individual or small group basis with a therapist who has training in yoga therapy techniques.
Recovery Bay Center Offers Yoga Therapy for Mental Health
Our treatment center in Panama City, Florida offers a community of recovery for our clients. We serve men ages 18 and up with a “vacation-style” drug and alcohol addiction treatment program. Our staff has a deep commitment to helping our clients be healthy in mind as well as body, and to free themselves of the burden of addiction. Reach out to us today at 833.991.2955 and start your path to recovery.