Are you a yoga practitioner?

Most people today will answer that question “yes.”

Yoga is a popular activity and group class in the United States. However, it wasn’t always so.

Yoga was initially known in the West as a practice for the spiritual awakening by hippies who had taken mind-altering drugs. Today, it is more widely accepted and respected.

Yoga can be used to treat and soothe a variety of ailments, diagnoses, stress situations, and other issues. It’s not just a routine or exercise. Yoga requires your brain and body.

It’s actually one of the few activities that do a thorough job of connecting your brain and your body.

If this sounds intriguing, you can continue reading to learn more about yoga and psychology, as well as the many benefits that yoga has on the mental and bodily health of children, men, and women.

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Yoga and Psychology: The Relationship

While you might be familiar with yoga’s physical practice, it is not all that yoga is. Yoga is a holistic practice and a lifestyle that encompasses many life principles.

Yama (moral code)

Niyama (self-discipline).

Asanas (postures or poses)

Pranayama ( mindfulness breathing)

Pratyahara (detachment of senses)

Dharana (concentration)

Dhyana ( meditation, or positive, mindful focus upon the present).

Savasana (state or rest)

Samadhi (ecstasy; Ivtzan & Papantoniou, 2014)

Asanas, savasana, and other forms of yoga are primarily focused on the physical experience. The rest of the activities are focused on mental, emotional, or spiritual experiences.

Yoga is more about the practitioner’s inner experience than the external (i.e., worrying about their bodies). Introspection, reflection, and honest consideration of one’s self are essential to authentic yoga practice. It allows us to get in touch with our core values, thoughts, and beliefs. This opens up the door to our more profound, more authentic selves.

It’s challenging to see yoga as a separate subject when viewed in this way. However, even though the relationship between yoga and psychology is very close, it’s still intimately connected to the subfield of positive Psychology.

Yoga and Positive Psychology

Yoga and positive psychology have strong links. Although yoga was initially practiced with a different focus, it is still widely used in Western countries to improve well-being (Ivtzan, Papantoniou 2014). Well-being is a critical topic in positive psychology. This explains why yoga is so prevalent in intervention as well as in exercises.

Yoga offers an excellent opportunity to enter flow. This is the state where you are fully present and engaged in the moment without paying attention to the passing of time. Yoga can help people develop mindfulness and improve their ability to focus on the present moment.

Positive psychology highlights the history, core contributors, and essential traits.

Through the Yoga Sutras and the Paths of Yoga, we can see the inherent similarities between yoga & positive psychology.

Comparison of the Yamas and Niyamas with Concepts of positive psychology

You can incorporate practical interventions into your yoga practice or your daily life to improve your yoga practice.

YogaFit Essence, Transformational Language, and their natural connection

Spezialized cueing and selection of poses

You can learn more about yoga and psychological health activities if you are ready to take a different approach.

What does the research say about yoga and mental health

There has been a lot of research on the effects of yoga on your mental health.

Yoga has many benefits for mental health, which are beyond those of low- to medium-impact activities. These effects likely result from chemical changes in the brain. (Grazioplene 2012).

Yoga actually promotes a higher release of gamma-Aminobutyric (GABA) from the thalamus. GABA acts as a kind of “grand inhibitor” of brain activity, suppressing neural activity.

It can also mimic the effects of alcohol and anti-anxiety drugs. Yoga can give you the feeling that you’ve just enjoyed a relaxing cocktail. This study shows that yoga can help “reset” your brain and give you the calm, collected state you need to cope with stress (Grazioplene 2012).

Yoga is a great alternative or complements to medication and/or therapy. It’s natural, accessible, and easy to do. It is also one of the few treatments that can connect the mind and the body.

Therapy doesn’t involve your body in any meaningful way. When you take medication, you don’t usually think about the mind/body connection. You just hope it works and may not care too much about how it works.

Yoga encourages us to use both our bodies and minds simultaneously by focusing on the connection between them. Yoga requires careful and mindful movement. However, it also demands conscious thought and increased awareness.

Yoga is not like running or lifting weights. It only has “full effect” when your mind and body are fully engaged. The unique combination of your mental and physical states offers an opportunity to have a profound impact on your mental health.

The potential effects of “yoga therapy” are so strong that many therapists and doctors now prescribe it as a complement to medication, talk therapy, or both. Sometimes, it can even be pursued as the only treatment for severe cases.

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