Yoga’s Psychological Health Benefits

Yoga is an ancient mind and body practice gets the body in healthy shape. Many are surprised to discover the psychological benefits that come with practicing yoga. Breath awareness, meditation and asanas are yogic tools that elevate the mind, tone the external and internal muscle capacity and bring a sense of equilibrium to the mind, body system.

Develops Body Awareness

Proprioception is your capacity to sense where your body is in space, and yoga poses train the mind to be keenly aware of the body’s movements. Awareness tempers the idea that things are beyond our control and you start to realize the power you have in response to situations. Awareness elicits behavior changes and yoga postures are the first step towards your ability to feel your body and then emotions.

Improves Body Image

According to author of “Yoga as Medicine,” Dr. Timothy McCall, yoga has been found to promote weight loss and reduces fat folds in the arms, shoulder blades and body circumference. Yoga helps with obtain a healthier body image through toning the physical body.

Lower Levels of Anger

In “Yoga as Medicine,” Dr. McCall outlines the psychological health effects yoga practice has on lowering levels of anger. Because chronic anger and stress have been linked to heart attacks, yoga can be used to mellow anger and have a positive effect on your physical health as well.

Incorporates Meditation

Meditation in itself is a relaxation technique that engages the parasympathetic nervous system that deactivates the “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system. A practice that calms the mind and loosens the body, meditation is a balance between relaxation and alertness. Meditation shifts your thoughts to your senses that automatically softens the mind as usually racing chatter thoughts tense the mind and body.

About this Author

Desiree McKenzie started writing professionally in 1999. She specializes in parenting, yoga, spirituality, health and wellness topics. McKenzie’s portfolio includes informational and fact-based articles for health and fitness websites such as LIVESTRONG.COM. She is a certified yoga teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from The College of New Jersey.