A few years ago I always thought Yoga was either for flexible girls or ancient monks.
Turns out, I got this pretty wrong. (more on that in a second)
Now I practice yoga 1-2 times a week, and probably should do it more to relax.
You can start doing yoga at any age, weight, or skill level and still get most of the benefits.
Less anxiety, lighter (better) mood, and an overall feeling of calmness. The “post yoga” typically lasts a few hours, but it works for me literally every-time. Especially the less stress part.
With-out a doubt a 15 -60 min yoga practice will leave you lingering with a new mindset. It just comes down to your willingness to make the time commitment and show up.
Yoga was discover and first written about over 3,000 years ago in the ancient Vedas texts.
But don’t rely on my word, here’s what the science and the experts have to say about yoga and your mood.
Let’s Dive In.
Yoga’s Not What I Thought It Was..
Most people think yoga is a boring trend that health gurus, Influencers, buddhists, and hippies do while standing on a rock somewhere in nature or posting on Instagram.
This may be partially true if you’re a Kardashian or a monk, but it’s not the whole picture for most people.
The practice of Yoga and its benefits have been traced back thousands of years. Yoga has been praised by leading medical institutions from Harvard to Medical News Today, and the positive benefits of yoga can be felt as quickly as your first session.
Studies have proven that yoga leads to physiological changes in your body and these changes can enhance your physical, mental, and emotional health.
5 Reasons Why Yoga Will Put You In A Better Mood
1) Yoga Alleviates Anxiety
Anxiety has become a permanent side effect of the 21st century modern-day lifestyle. If you have anxiety, welcome to life.
But where does anxiety come from? It comes from worrying about your past or future. Yoga forces you into the ‘present moment‘ which melts feeling of anxiety.
The question becomes, how do you manage your anxiety. Do Take meds ? chew your nails ? or maybe just obsessively look at your phone ?
This is where yoga comes in.
In a world where more and more people are turning to medication for anxiety-related disorders, yoga provides an effective and inexpensive alternative.
For me personally, yoga reminds me that there’s a lot we can control in life, but there’s a lot that we can’t control. Yoga reminds me to work hard on what you can control, but let thoughts over what you can’t control “float down the river”.
Yoga generates a sense of calm by grounding individuals in the present moment by using techniques of strategic-breathing and stretching of select muscle groups to release the build up of tension and anxiety.
2) Breath Training Improves Your Mood (Navy Seals do it)
Breath-work is a critical component of yoga.
There are specific breathing patterns that were designed in ancient times to enhance oxygen, blood-flow, and your overall natural energy levels.
The ancient inventors of Yoga understood that maintaining controlled breathing under stress was responsible for a sense of calmness and happiness.
This is the same concept Bruce Lee used when training in martial arts.
Breathing exercises increase the amount of oxygen in your body.
The more oxygen in your blood, the faster your cells generate energy. The end result is that you feel much more energetic and uplifted. Deep breathing during yoga forces oxygen deep into specific muscle groups.
Whether or not your yoga poses are perfect doesn’t matter, just make sure to focus on keeping control of your breathing.
I’ve found controlled breathing exercises extremely helpful at maintaining alert and focused throughout the day.
3) Yoga Fixes Your Posture
I don’t know about you, but my posture is usually not good, unless I’m consciously trying to fix it.
This is important, because posture is more important that we may realize. According to researchers and the National Library of Medicine, your posture can directly affect your mood.
Most people tend to think that their emotional state defines their posture. If you’re feeling sad or upset, you are likely to slouch.
Turns our the opposite may also be true. Your slouch could make you feel down about yourself.
The ways you sit, stand, walk, or do anything else, dictates your emotional state.
Unfortunately millions of us (myself included) sit all day at work. So what can we do about our bad posture?
Yoga is an easy answer and solution to this problem.
Regular yoga practice makes your body much more flexible which vastly helps improve good posture, especially when done consistently over time.
Researchers found that whenever you’re sitting or standing the way you should, your body sends strong positive mood boosting signals to your brain. These findings demonstrate for the first time that posture plays an important role in recovering from negative mood.
4) Yoga Improves Your Sense of Self-Worth
I feel the best about myself after an achievement. The bigger the achievement the more confidence and self worth that I feel.
According to Time magazine, most people have similar experiences.
A small “win” like making a commitment to exercise 3x a week and then doing it, gives me some confidence, but a bigger “win” like being able to bench press 250 lbs after showing up and struggling 3x a week for a few moths, gives me even more confidence.
Yoga gives you small “wins” daily and larger wins over time as you improve flexibility, strength, pose positioning and self discipline.
By overcoming your lazier side (everyone has one, especially me), you become more self-disciplined. Your physical, mental, and emotional health are all improved over time when you make yoga a part of your weekly routine.
You feel more confident in pushing your boundaries and testing your limits.
The fear of failure doesn’t haunt you anymore, and as a result, you consciously feel good about yourself.
5) Yoga Increases Your Consciousness
When done correctly, yoga connects your whole body movements with your conscious mind. Some refer to this as the “flow state”. Where you don’t have to think about yoru movements, they just happen naturally.
As a basketball player, I like to describe this flow state as “the zone”. It’s a different state of mind where you just cant miss a shot. Your body and mind are perfectly ‘tuned in’.
Artists and musicians also experience this “flow state” as a creative breakthrough when ideas and creative solutions just flow like someone just opened a value.
Whether you’re an artist or athlete doesn’t matter, the “flow state” is available to anyone, and yoga is one great way to get there.
This flow state can take your consciousness to another level.
Some people dedicate their whole life to deep meditation like this and they consider achieving a higher and higher consciousness to be the ultimate goal of humanity (so did the ancient Egyptians).
I’m certainly not on that level, but yoga is a great tool to access this higher level “flow state” from time to time.
You can definitely use it to improve your mood as yoga can serve as a valuable tool that you can use to ward off negative thoughts and emotions.
Final Thoughts: Yoga vs. Mood
Ancient civilizations gave us a lot of innovations that we still use today. Yoga is one of the most relevant and useful practices that have been handed over from one generation to the next.
Yoga contains powerful techniques that can enhance every single area of your life. Naturally, it can also put you in a better mood.
If done sincerely, you will begin to notice significant changes within a few weeks. For prolonged and sustained effects, you should keep practicing yoga every day of your life.
Take yoga seriously… Have Fun
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