• Staff Writer

Yoga and Mental Health


Yoga is both a physical and mental practice that began in India and has since taken off in western cultures. Yoga is the fastest-growing natural therapy, with nearly 21 million people practicing it as of 2017. Yoga is often used for exercise and flexibility, but it goes beyond exercise and physical health. It connects a person's breathing with their mind and body. It uses meditation, balance, and breathing to improve many aspects of one's health. Yoga is often recommended during mental health and addiction treatment. The benefits practicing yoga offers tend to produce positive results for many people in a wide variety of stressful situations.


Benefits of Yoga


Yoga is not necessarily an exercise that increases the heart rate, but it does offer a slow and relaxing method for increasing a sense of calm. Yes, yoga improves flexibility, strength, and balance, but it has several beneficial effects on mental health. These are not just assumptions or theories. There is scientific evidence to support the impact yoga has on mental health.

Studies have also shown that yoga can help reduce depression and decrease the impact of stress. For instance, yoga is used to reduce performance anxiety as well as generalized anxiety disorders. Aggression can also be reduced when practicing yoga as it slows the heart rate, improves oxygenation, calms the senses and mood, as well as reduces mood swings. Furthermore, some other benefits of yoga include:

  • Improved physical wellness

  • Stress relief

  • Increased self-awareness

  • Better mind-body relationship, confidence, and self-image

  • Improved digestive performance

  • Pain relief

  • Reduced sleeping trouble and fatigue

  • Improved energy levels

These are only some benefits of yoga that have been proven. Yoga is a calming experience that many people enjoy because of the immediate results a person can feel in their body and mind. The nervous system reacts to yoga's movements, breathing, and concentration for regulating balance. Both emotions and the physical symptoms of anxiety and depression respond to yoga.

When struggling with your mental health, you are more likely to experience panic attacks or highly emotional episodes. These are moments of imbalanced emotions that take a toll on the body and mind. Even something small like a long line at the store or a traffic jam can increase heart rate and negative emotions. Practicing yoga can calm your mind and body in or after those situations so that you can handle them without feeling out of control. Mastering yoga does take time, but even as a beginner, its benefits help you get control of unpleasant or overly stimulating feelings so you can healthily cope with stress.

Yoga is the ideal form of exercise for those who may not have the physical strength or endurance or other forms of movement, as well that those in addiction recovery or the elderly. Several yoga programs range from more low-key to intense, but all have shown therapeutic advantages. Yoga classes are offered in several recovery facilities because of the health benefits and focus on meditation and mental clarity. The effect of yoga on substance abuse treatment is growing rapidly. Taking the steps necessary to yoga helps those in recovery reduce urges to use, deal with withdrawal symptoms, and provide a safe and healthy coping mechanism during their journey.


Using Yoga for Mental Health


Mental health status is often linked to your stress level and how you manage your stress. When higher stress is handled poorly, it can worsen existing mental illnesses or set new ones off. Practicing yoga is not just a temporary fix for handling stress but is effective in the long-term reduction of stress-related symptoms like insomnia and anxiety.

One study showed that yoga has both an immediate and long-term effect on anxiety reduction and helps to bring even behavior changes or controlled responses to any type of stress if practiced regularly. Yoga teaches you to listen to your body. You are improving your abilities while maintaining comfort and calm. Yoga is not intended to be necessarily intensive but instead connect you to your body and help you become more aware and in tune with your physical and mental needs.

Another significant aspect of yoga is mindfulness and meditation. Clearing the mind and controlling your awareness and focus during a yoga session are stepping stones. It introduces you to this practice that you can apply to experiences outside of a class or studio. Whether you face mental illness, addiction, or co-occurring disorders, yoga is a wonderful addition to your treatment plan and lifestyle.


Yoga is more than a class you take or an exercise you practice. It is a form of self-care that significantly improves your physical and mental health. Your overall wellness improves when you constantly practice yoga. Not only are the movements, poses, and exercises experienced during yoga helpful for your balance and flexibility, but it's proven to improve your mood, help your focus and concentration, as well as reduce the effects of stress. Whether you experience low levels of stress, a mental illness like anxiety, or are recovering from addiction; yoga can provide you with unmatched clarity and mindfulness. Breathing techniques, slowing the heart rate and practicing movements enhance your ability to cope with substance cravings, aggression, depression, and anxiety. These effects occur while practicing and are long-term with a continuous regime. Here at California Care Detox and Treatment, we offer yoga as an additional benefit of our mental health and addiction recovery services. Call us now at ​​(949) 281-0632.

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