The Health Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

The Health Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

Your physical health directly affects your ability to cope with everyday stressors and emotional situations. Mindfulness-based activities like yoga and meditation can reduce negativity and improve physical health. According to the International Journal of Yoga, standard “yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.” Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention encourages clients to use alternative holistic techniques like yoga and meditation to enhance the effectiveness of crisis stabilization and mental health treatment. 

Yoga and Mindfulness-Based Meditation 

Mindfulness is an essential tool in mental health recovery. According to the previously mentioned research published by the International Journal of Yoga, “[C]omponents of yoga [include] conscious breathing, meditation, lifestyle and diet changes, visualization and the use of sound.” Many mental health professionals recommend mindfulness-based activities like yoga to help clients focus their energy and increase positivity. Meditation and relaxation exercises like deep breathing also play a crucial role in stress reduction. 

Yoga poses encourage mindfulness and ensure people remain in the moment by helping them focus on the following:

  • Physical sensations
  • Breathing pattern
  • Thoughts or feelings
  • The environment around them

If you regularly practice yoga or meditation in addition to traditional mental health therapies, you will begin to notice positive changes. Over time your mind and body will automatically maintain a state of mindfulness throughout the day. 

How Can Yoga Affect Mental Health? 

Yoga is an excellent tool for increasing self-awareness, self-confidence, and relaxation. In addition, controlled breathing and low-stress poses can improve your overall health. According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “Studies have suggested possible benefits of yoga . . . including stress management, mental/emotional health, promoting healthy eating/activity habits, sleep, and balance.” The mind and body are directly connected. Any changes to one will affect the other. 

Many people use yoga to get fit and improve their productivity. Incorporating yoga and meditation into your daily routine can make it easier to develop a healthier lifestyle. Also, people who regularly participate in yoga report better responses to prescription medication and talk therapy. 

3 Yoga Poses and How They Improve Physical Health 

Yoga involves controlling your breathing, manipulating various muscle groups, and moving between poses. Below are brief descriptions of some popular yoga poses and how they can improve your physical health. 

#1. Corpse Pose (Savasana) 

The corpse pose can reduce the effects of chronic stress, including symptoms of eating disorders, painful conditions like arthritis, and sleep disturbances. Corpse pose involves laying down, stretched out, with limbs slightly away from your body and palms facing upward. Deep breathing and meditation while in this pose encourage physical and mental relaxation. Most people hold the pose for 5 to 15 minutes.

#2. Cat-Cow Pose

The cat-cow pose can improve flexibility and mobility for people with chronic lower back pain. To achieve the pose, you should be on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Allow your stomach to relax toward the floor with every inhale and pull upward toward your naval, arching your back during every exhale. The amount of arch and how long you choose to hold the pose will depend on multiple factors. Always consult with a medical professional before starting any new exercise.

#3. Tree Pose

The tree pose is one of the easiest for beginners, and it involves balancing on one leg with the other leg bent at a ninety-degree angle, the foot resting above or below the standing knee. During the pose, you breathe deeply and focus on a point in front of you. The pose and deep breathing will help focus your mind and relax your body while improving balance and core strength. 

Additional Health Benefits

The health benefits of meditation have been well-established and studied for hundreds of years. Healers from all around the world have incorporated various meditative techniques into their healthcare programs. Slow movements, deep breathing, and holding poses can improve your physical health, including blood flow and muscle strength. 

Yoga and meditation can also do the following: 

  • Increase stamina 
  • Reduce symptoms of depression or other co-occurring mood disorders
  • Improve muscle strength, balance, and flexibility
  • Increase positivity and greater enjoyment of everyday activities
  • Decrease symptoms of chronic pain 
  • Reduce the risk of high blood pressure or heart disease 

In addition to improving overall health, yoga and meditation encourage better self-care. You may find it easier to maintain healthy routines and personal hygiene when you feel more focused and connected to your body. Both yoga and meditation can strengthen the mind-body connection and increase self-awareness. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention provides personalized treatment plans that can include holistic mindfulness-based therapies.

Mental health experts have been using yoga and meditation to enhance the effectiveness of traditional treatments for decades. Most facilities offer some form of mindfulness-based holistic therapy, including yoga and meditation, to help people in crisis reduce stress and achieve emotional stability. You can use meditation and yoga to focus on the moment and improve your mind-body connection. The health benefits are extensive and ensure a greater overall sense of well-being. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention encourages clients to use holistic therapies alongside psychotherapy and other treatments. The positive effects of yoga and meditation increase over time and can last for weeks. To learn more about our services, call us today at (866) 986-1481.