Benefits of yoga for the mind
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Since the 1970s, many studies have recommended meditation as a way to treat some mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, or as a way to better respond to stress.
Yoga has gone somewhat unnoticed at the academic level, although more and more it is beginning to work in a global way, accepting that body, mind and soul are a whole and that they all affect each other.
That is why yoga, by working on the physical, psychological and spiritual part of the human being, is proving to be a very useful tool for maintaining a healthy mind.
The practice of yoga is moving from the private to the public sphere. It has been shown that students who include yoga routines in their habits face their exams better, and that workplaces where this practice is facilitated have a better environment and greater efficiency and productivity. The “professionals of the mind”, people whose work depends exclusively on their brain, also surrender to the benefits of yoga.
The case of chess player Víktor Korchnói is well known, one of the best in history, who at 75 was the oldest player to be in the world Top 100, and who attributed his mental strength to a daily routine of yoga, jogging and caviar.
In the world of poker it is becoming more and more common to see players who practice yoga even during tournaments and who, like the Canadian Adrienne Rowsome , recognize that it helps them physically and psychologically in their activity.
After all, it only takes 5 minutes to flip the stress switch with a few yoga exercises.
In an article published by Harvard Health Publishing in 2009, it was already discussed how research had concluded that yoga helped regulate our response to stress. Knowing how to cope better with stress reduces anxiety.
The simple fact of having to concentrate on a posture and maintain it while being aware of our breathing, affects our nervous system and heart.
We go from a state of tension and alertness, to one of relaxation and calm. This trance leads to talk that yoga increases GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a substance that reduces neuronal activity. If the levels of this neurotransmitter are low, anxiety, nervousness, etc. increase.
In the aforementioned Harvard Health Publishing article , entitled “ Yoga for anxiety and depression ”, there is also talk of an experiment in which it was shown that people who practice yoga have a greater resistance to pain.
Breathing and yoga exercises make our brain respond better to threats, to adapt better to situations.
In addition to the effects that breathing and relaxation have on our body, one of the advantages of yoga that most benefits our mind is the fact of having self-awareness.
By working with our body we are aware of it. Knowing who we are and what we are helps us to be at peace with ourselves and with others.
Our social and personal relationships improve, and we are more resilient , which means that we adapt better to circumstances and know how to overcome adversity.
This awareness of oneself and of one’s place with respect to others also carries a responsibility. But as we have seen, yoga helps us learn to accept responsibilities without falling into the trap of stress.
Perseverance, the desire to excel and want to improve -both physically, mentally and emotionally- are characteristics that accompany the practice of yoga and that are transferred to our daily lives.
In short, yoga is a tool that helps our brain know how to focus, focus on what is important and find the best solution.