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Yoga: Is it Good for your Mental Health?

What is yoga?

Yoga is a form of physical exercise that combines physical, mental, and spiritual practises together. The aim of yoga is to create connections between your body, mind, and spirit and it combines movement with different breathing techniques. The word yoga itself comes from the Sanskrit root yuj which means to yoke or to unite. Yoga is first said to have originated by the sage Patanjali in Northern India around 400 C.E. yoga was first taught by a yoga teacher and then passed down to their students and was typically a one-to-one activity, but since the growth in the popularity of yoga, it is typically a group activity now.

Studies have shown how yoga has many benefits, especially for your mental health:

From a physical aspect, yoga can help you to increase your flexibility, help to strengthen your muscles as well as tone them, improve respiration and cardio health as well as helping you to maintain a balanced metabolism.

From a mental health point of view, yoga is shown to release brain chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These are all chemicals that help you to feel good and help your brain to function as it should. Studies have also shown that yoga can help to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. The tightening and relaxing of muscles can help with stress and the different breathing techniques and training can help with anxiety.

Where can you do yoga?

As yoga has become more and more popular over the years, yoga studies have started to pop up everywhere, at these yoga studios you can take classes that are typically around an hour long and offer all levels from beginner to expert. These types of classes are a great way to meet new people and start a new routine.

Another way to incorporate yoga into your life is gym classes. A lot of gyms hold their own classes and yoga is usually one of them, so make sure to check at your local gym if this is something they offer.

The rise of yoga apps have become popular recently, for example the downward dog app. This is a membership app that you can either pay monthly or yearly for and works out a lot cheaper than yoga classes. The app includes over 60,000 different configurations and have many different levels and modes which you can do from the comfort of your own home.

The cheapest way to add yoga into your routine is to follow free video tutorials on YouTube. Some of the best recommended YouTube yoga channels include @YogaWithAdriene, @YouAligned and @TaraStilesYoga.

@YogaWithAdriene has over 11.8 million subscribers and has been making yoga videos for many years. Her videos include lots of beginner and foundation videos as well as short videos you can do in the morning if you’re short on time.

@YouAligned have around 315K subscribes and creates free yoga and meditation classes for you to access from home. Some of these videos include full body yoga workouts as well as daily stretches which incorporate different flexibility yoga moves.

@TaraStilesYoga has 325k subscribes and makes yoga videos that combine different yoga moves with tai chi as well as other forms of traditional Chinese Medicine movements. She has numerous short videos that demonstrate how to do specific yoga stretches and moves as well as a positivity podcast.

Yoga has shown in many studies how beneficial it can be for all aspects of our lives both physically and mentally. This article has shown many ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily routine from classes to apps you can do from the comfort of your own home all the way to free 10-minute video tutorials you can do as soon as you wake up before work. Even 1o minutes a day will make you feel great!


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