Yoga and Mental Health

Yoga and Mental Health | Benefits of Yoga | Yoga for mental health | Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health

Prof. (Dr) Saraswati Kala (HOD, Dept. of Yogic Science)

Dr Sunil Kumar Sriwas (Assistant Professor Yogic Science)

Preetika Bisht (M.Sc. Student Yogic Science, SGRR University Dehradun)

ABSTRACT

Yoga is the national heritage of India. Yoga has been known for its physical and mental benefits. Yoga is a combination of asanas, pranayamas, and meditation. Yoga is a gentle way to improve postures, balance, and coordination. It is both spiritual and physical. It helps to improve health and happiness. The main aim of this research is to find out the effect of various yogic practices on health, especially mental health. Worldwide, yoga is gaining popularity as an accessible, acceptable, and cost-effective practice for the mind and body. In this research, we discuss the impact of yoga on mental health problems and their results on people.

Key Word : Yoga, Mental Health, Pranayama, Meditation and mental illness.

Yoga and Mental Health INTRODUCTION

Yoga is an ancient discipline designed to bring balance and health to the physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the individual. It is a long-popular practice in India. It is an ancient activity and discipline. It is related to achieving physical, mental, and spiritual health. It includes various postures, chants, pranayama, mantras, and also meditation. Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. Yoga is a path towards total harmony of body, mind, and spirit. It is ancient wisdom for a healthier, happier, and more peaceful way of living, which ultimately leads to union with the self. ‘Yoga’ is a Sanskrit word meaning to join, unite, or yoke together, and the essential purpose of yoga is to bring together body, mind, and spirit into a harmonious whole.“Yoga” means union of our individual consciousness with the universal divine consciousness in a supreme conscious state known as Samadhi.

Aim and Objectives

  1. To study the effect of yoga on the mental health .
  2. To study the effect of yoga ( asanas , pranayama  and meditation ) on mental health .
  3. To study the use of various yoga techniques to relieve various mental health issues .

Study Rationale

The impact of yoga on the human body system is expansive and eternal. It affects the different systems of the human body. It also affects mental health, through different techniques of yoga practices. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are brought into a state of balance with the help of yogic practices. So , this study shows the effect of yoga on mental health.

HISTORY

The practice of yoga was started during the Indus Sarasvati Civilization in Northern India over 5000 years ago.  The science of yoga has its origin thousands of years ago, long before the first religions or belief systems were born. In the yogic lore, SHIVA is seen as the first yogi or Adiyogi, and the first Guru or Adi Guru. Several thousand years ago, on the banks of the lake Kantisarovar in the Himalayas, Adiyogi poured his profound knowledge into the legendary Saptarishis or seven sages. The sages carried this powerful yogic science to the different parts of the world. The presence of yoga is available in Rig Veda. In Indian religions, yoga from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘yuj ‘ or joining or to unite or techniques for transforming consciousness and attaining liberation (moksha) from Karma. It is also mentioned in ancient Hindu texts like Upanishads, Vedanta. It is mentioned in the classic Indian text Mahabharata (400B.C – 400A.D) and discussed in the most famous part of that pure text, the Bhagavad Gita. Yoga was methodized by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, in which Patanjalidescribes about the yoga and explains the Astanga or eight limbs of yoga.

Yoga

Yoga is an old discipline from India. It is both spiritual and physical. Yoga, as Patanjali defines it is the ‘ restriction of the fluctuations of the mind. The purpose of yoga is to foster harmony in the body and mind. Review of mental health and yoga methods by practicing different yogic asanas and pranayama, the person frees himself from physical disabilities and mental distractions. In the modern era, everybody is working hard because of the high level of competition and other reasons which cause a lot of stress on one’s mind. Stress and anxiety have become a part of our daily life. By 2020, the World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the second-largest contributor to the global diseases burden, which includes anxiety also. Stress and anxiety affect both physical and mental health. Relaxation exercise aim at reducing stress and yoga is widely practiced for its benefits to the body and mind.

Mental Health

It refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps to determine how we handle stress and other reactions.  Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization, is:  a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Today, most people are going through some mental health issues due to various problems in their life. Mental health can affect our daily living, relationships, and physical health. Bad mental health can cause many difficulties in one’s life.  It is important to maintain good mental health otherwise it may cause different mental health disorders. Mental illness can affect working and personal relationships.

Mental illness disorders

Mental illness can cause various disorders like Anxiety, Depression, Paranoia, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, and many more.

To deal with mental illness yoga is a natural way of relieving stress and mental issues. Yoga can reduce the impact of stress, help with anxiety and depression, through various postures, meditation, and breathing techniques.  Regular practice of yoga may help to relieve stress, lower anxiety levels, decrease depression, enhance the quality of life, improves sleep quality, and good health.

Review of mental health and yoga methods  By practicing different yogic asanas and pranayama, the person frees himself from physical disabilities and mental distractions. In the modern era, everybody is working hard because of the high level of competition and other reasons which cause a lot of stress on one’s mind. Stress and anxiety have become a part of our daily life.  By 2020, the World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the second-largest contributor to the global diseases burden, which includes anxiety also. Stress and anxiety affect both physical and mental health. Relaxation exercise aim at reducing stress and yoga is widely practiced for its benefits to the body and mind.

Research studies have shown that yoga can provide a wide range of psychological benefits, both in reducing negative affect and in mental stress. Asanas like Balasana (baby pose), Uttanasanas (forward bend pose), Shavasana (corpse pose), Vipritakarni ( legs up the wall pose), Bhujang asana (cobra pose)  for mental health and wellness. Some meditative postures with focus also help in relaxing and calming the mind like Padmasana, Vajrasana. When it comes to coping with stress overload, our breath is one of the best remedies. The pranayamas like Anulomvilom, Bhastrika, and others like nadishodan. Thus, by practicing various yogic practices one can cope with mental health issues and after doing regular practices for two few weeks, one can see the results but with the proper techniques of yoga. Overall, studies of yoga, mental health would improve from yoga.

As the Patanjali Sutras notes, ‘Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind’. Positive mental health is a state of well being in which every individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work properly, and in many articles, they say that yoga is a form of promoting mental wellbeing for people and it is effective for our mental health. Yoga has been shown to enhance the quality of life in people. A  review study found that yoga is as effective or better than exercise at improving a variety of mental and physical health measures such as stress, mood states, and so on. In one study yoga improved wellbeing, mental health, and psychological health.

DISCUSSION

Anxiety has a negative effect on all aspects, such as social personal, and others. It is personally associated with the arousal of the autonomic nervous system. Asanas work to open channels of energy in the body releases blockages and tension held in physical, mental, and emotional bodies. There are numerous studies that show that yoga decreases anxiety and all mental-related health issues. The practice of yoga helps in reducing anxiety and calming the mind.

Various researchers hypothesize that yoga works positively affecting the nervous system. Stimulation of the vagal nerve results in the increased parasympathetic activity of the autonomic nervous system. The key to quieting the mind is slowing and deepening the breath. Practicing yoga helps to regain mental stability, calmness, and tranquility, because of breathing techniques which we called pranayama. A yogic saying states that through a flexible body we gain a flexible mind which helps people for their body benefits.

CONCLUSION

The practice of yoga shows promise for promoting better population mental health. Thus, yogic practices are beneficial for most people who need mental calmness and other health-related issues. Multiple studies have confirmed the many mental and physical benefits of yoga. Incorporating it into our routine can help enhance our health, increases strength, and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, relaxes the mind helps in improving concentration in anything.

Studies have shown that yoga can have positive benefits for people with several types of mental health conditions, which include depression, ADHD, anxiety, and other mental problems. Practices of several yoga postures, pranayamas, and meditation help in relieving different mental health issues. It is acceptable and encourages self-reliance .while it produces no reported harmful side effects. It may be not for everyone, through a disciplined approach most people with or without mental imbalances may feel more mental ease and relaxation through the practice of yoga.

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