Yoga

Definition

A physical, mental, and spiritual discipline aimed to achieve tranquility and balanced health.  Yoga includes a series of postures and breathing exercises practiced to achieve control of the body and mind.  Although yoga is commonly thought to be associated to specific religions, the techniques can be used by anyone, regardless of spiritual beliefs, to improve health and life quality.

Benefits and Uses

  • Promotes relaxation and peacefulness
  • Decreases stress and anxiety
  • Improves overall attitude toward self and others
  • Improves concentration
  • Aids in anger management
  • Supports treatment of various mental health disorders (including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders)
  • Improves physical health (including cardiovascular and immune systems)

What to expect

When first beginning to practice yoga, it is normal to have difficulties holding the poses and/or controlling breathing.  It is best to start by doing the “beginner version” of each pose (which can be found in yoga books, classes, or videos) and gradually working into the more challenging poses.  As every person’s body is unique, everyone has postures that are easier and also that are more difficult for them than another person may find.  A benefit to yoga is that the poses that are more difficult allow a person to expose their weaknesses in order to improve them, as well as learn to utilize their strengths to improve their overall health and wellbeing.  A key to yoga is to try to calm and empty the mind as you do each pose, focusing on your breath and on the movements within your body, rather than on external distractions.  Yoga incorporates mental focus and physical activity to create balance and wellness within the mind and body.

Who Should Consider It:

You should consider practicing meditation if you:

  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Feel tired and lack energy
  • Often feel stressed, anxious, or depressed
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Regularly feel moody or irritable
  • Experience difficulty controlling thoughts and feelings
  • Have been diagnosed with a mental disorder
  • Have experienced a distressing situation (ex. divorce, death of a loved one, loss of employment)

More Information

http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yoga-and-health/yoga-for-mental-health.asp