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Understanding the Mental Health Benefits of Regular Yoga Practice

Do you ever wonder why yoga enthusiasts are among some of the happiest, most peaceful people you know?

There’s much more to regular yoga practice than flexibility, strength, and fitness. In fact, one yogini considers it as psychology. Yoga teacher and psychotherapist Ashley Turner explains, “The whole practice helps us work with the nature of the mind, the nature of being a human, how emotions live in our bodies, how they affect our behavior and minds.” With physical and mental health intertwined, yoga promotes mindfulness that helps us to be kinder to the mind and body. It keeps your emotions balanced, allowing you to interact with others and surroundings with increased awareness and mental strength that you never thought you had.

We forget that at times. But that strength manifests in the way we handle mental health obstacles, such as stress and pain.

From relationships to money, we see stressors on a daily basis. May it be in your personal or work life, there is no shortage of issues that can potentially trigger anxiety. And the thing about stress is that it can creep up on you when you least expect it. For example, did you know that research shows there may be a connection between stress and of all things, sitting?

Although the very act of sitting seemingly offers relief from standing and other forms of activity, it’s no secret that spending most waking hours off your feet has a slew of detrimental health effects, such as the increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a shorter lifespan. On top of that, an Australian study on mood disorders shared on Shape indicates that there is some correlation between sitting, and anxiety and depression.

While prolonged sitting doesn’t necessarily cause either one, pain is more likely to develop from inactivity, and physical pain can trigger symptoms of these mood disorders. An article on The National Pain Report reveals that office workers most often report lower back pain, more so than laborers and athletes. Such pain takes a toll on all aspects of life, which can severely impact sleep, mindset and mental health overall. In the workplace, many seek ergonomic solutions as seen on Pain-Free Working to manage such physical and mental pain, which results in increased productivity and improved mood.

As you can see, pain and stress are interconnected, and yoga can actually help people in both areas. According to a study conducted by the University of Utah, participants with poor regulated responses to stress were also more sensitive to pain. And interestingly enough, those who displayed the lowest pain-related brain activity during the MRI and the highest pain tolerance were yoga practitioners. As previously mentioned on the Aurorae blog, it’s the combination of meditation and stretching that teaches the mind to relax and discover peace. It’s also this kind of pain management that got the Aurorae CEO walking on his own just two weeks after major back surgery!

So if you needed any more reason to do more yoga, it’s everything we’ve covered here. Take back control of your emotions, and learn to let all the anxieties go on the mat. It’s mind over matter, after all.

And in case your current yoga mat is a little worse for wear, feel free to replace it with any one of our items. The Aurorae Classic Thick Yoga Mat is free from toxins and comes in a variety of colors to help you focus on your yoga practice.

Written by Ann Phillips exclusively for auroraeyoga.com

Posted in Guest Blog, Healthy Lifestyle, Yoga Practice

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