How Yoga Helps in Improving Your Mental Health
Yoga is known to improve the quality of our life and enhance all aspects of our well-being. In this post, we have highlighted how you can improve your mental health by taking up something as easy as an affordable yoga certification.
Over the years, we have learned that yoga is a great way of maintaining our mind, body, and soul balance. We have seen that it helps us to maintain good health and prevent our bodies from various ailments. But, an aspect of yoga that has been a bit overlooked is its immense ability to improve our mental health. And, we aren’t only talking about its stress-relieving abilities.
For decades, sages and practitioners have used the practice of yoga to calm their mind and to focus on the present. They have used meditation to reduce anxiety and postures to improve blood circulation throughout the body, including the mind. Doctors and researchers, in the last few years, have vouched for the benefits of yoga in more ways than we can count. One of the most critical advice that a mental wellness doctor imparts nowadays is to try yoga and meditation as a way to compose yourself so you can heal from whatever trauma that is affecting your lifestyle.
Now, most of us, no matter how ready we are to adopt this discipline, hesitate to sign up for a yoga course because of the hefty price tag that comes along with it and the amount of time it takes. While it is true that a full-fledged yoga certification such as a 200-hour TTC takes almost a month and a thousand dollars at the very least, established yoga schools have recently started experimenting with a shorter duration, for instance, a 2 week yoga teacher training.
Before we talk about the many ways yoga improves your mental health, let us take a quick look at what a shorter yoga certification means.
What is a 2 week yoga teacher training?
Essentially, a 2 week yoga teacher training is much like a complete yoga teacher training but in half. Schools such as Goa Yogashala offer a 100-hour yoga teacher training certificate for students who, due to lack of time or money, are unable to commit to a 200-hour TTC.
During this certification, participants cover the curriculum of the first two weeks of a complete TTC. Additionally, they have an opportunity to return to the school and finish their 200 hour TTC by completing the remaining two weeks at any given time.
Though it is an affordable yoga certification, the topics you cover are the same as a usually TTC meaning that you still get to train in ancient Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga as well as Vinyasa, Yoga Philosophy, Anatomy and Physiology, Pranayama, Adjustment and Alignment, and much more.
Furthermore, you get to enjoy all the perks of a full-time course like complimentary yoga kits and study materials, round-the-clock support, complimentary excursions, and even free pick and drop to and from the school to the nearest airport and railway station.
Isn’t that just lovely?
So, now we know that you don’t need a lot of money or a lot of time to start with something as simple as 2 week yoga teacher training, let us take a detailed look at how such a training can be so beneficial for your mental health.
How does Yoga improve your mental health?
Our sedentary lifestyle, hectic work schedules, imbalanced work-life harmony, social pressure, and the need to constantly chase after something better has us all by the strings. With all these factors surroundings us, we barely find time to quieten our minds and sit with our thoughts. We tend to stuff our brain beyond its holding capacity. And, sadly, we bottle up all that we feel to the point where it drives us to anxiety, depression, and other severe mental disorders.
And, if all of this isn’t enough, the world is still suffering from the aftermath of the recent virus outbreak which saw millions lose their job, be torn apart from their loved ones, be deprived of proper education and a chance at a future, and live in constant fear for your life and those of your loved ones.
That being said, let us discuss some of the aspects of your mental health that an affordable yoga certification can help you improve.
Fight Depression and Anxiety
With its focus on mindful movements and controlled breathing techniques to guide you gently through your asanas, Yoga can help you deal with depression and anxiety. Practicing yoga makes you more aware of the present moment and experience, and in doing so, it helps you observe any negative thoughts and dwelling – some critical characteristics of depression. With the help of these techniques and postures, you can learn to disconnect yourself from the “mental chatter” that often lets you to a depressive state of mind.
Hyperarousal or physical discomforts such as shortness of breath, sweaty palms, and fear of stepping outside are some common attributes associated with anxiety. And, research shows that the practice of a shorter course such as a 2 week yoga teacher training can go a long way to help you work around these issues.
The more aware of and involved you become with your breath and the process of controlled breathing while moving from one posture to another, the more you allow for physical sensations and the related thoughts to exist, without the associated arousal or stress that happens if you focus on those experiences. In due time, you learn to accept your thoughts and physical changes and continue to live a meaningful life with as little distraction from your “anxiety” as possible.
Boost Self- Efficiency
Another major and extremely significant positive impact that yoga is known to bring on your mental health is its ability to boost self- efficacy, in other words, your ability to face life challenges and situations and overcoming them despite the stressors. At the same time, self-efficiency prepares you to accomplish tasks that are important for your social, physical, as well as mental development.
Being effective also implies that you can counteract lethargy and agitation that is often associated with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. And, you are more capable of maintaining and nurturing your participation in personal, social, as well as professional relationships.
Another major aspect of your mental health that is improved with continued practice of yoga is your self-esteem. A lot of people, due to several reasons or issues in the past, succumb to self-esteem issues. While mild cases may result in discomfort with huge crowds and second-guessing yourself, more severe issues can push you to be anti-social, depressed, and result in complexity issues. However, yoga helps you come to terms with yourself and motivates you to work through your shortcomings and rid yourself of self-doubt.
Accept and deal with traumatic experiences
Trauma, no matter how recent or old it is, has a strange way of deep-rooting itself in our brain and affect our functioning. We may try to deny it or overlook it or sweep it under the rug so it doesn’t affect us, but eventually, it catches up on us and makes everything dark, scary, tensed, and even heart-wrenching. It can often lead to a sense of fear that stays glued to your mind and body.
Over time, this consistent fear and the resistance to experiencing or accepting the trauma so it can be dealt with results in a complete shut down of your mind and body, including all your emotional, physical, or mental senses. Yoga, as a mind-body experience, offers you a gateway to a more basic, reptilian part of the brain, known to be responsible for survival and maintenance, which helps you to relearn how to approach sitting with unpleasant internal experiences in a healthy and safe environment.
Build your sense of self
One of the most outstanding qualities of yoga is its ability to push you to look within yourself. The discipline is more about accepting and connecting to yourself than to focus on what happens outside and around you. In doing so, it teaches you to form a non-judgemental relationship with yourself. You start looking at yourself under a different light – one that enables you to respect and love yourself and give importance to your existence. Not only that, but you also learn to trust yourself more.
When you are in a 2 week yoga teacher training, you follow a certain set of protocols – protocols that require you to eat healthy, practice yoga and meditation, indulge in positive communication, improve your knowledge and skills, find a mind-body connection. As you do all of this every day, your unconscious mind tells you that you are ‘worthy’ of this time and that you owe yourself this effort to make your life better.
At the end of it all, everything comes down to what you see yourself as and how well you connect with yourself. When you are confident and more dedicated to yourself, you form a healthy, balanced ego where you have nothing to hide or to prove. You gain immense confidence and experience courage and willpower like you never knew.
Our concentration is continually pulled in various directions and is often hampered by aging and tension. Another mental benefit of yoga is not only to help you maintain your current level of concentration but also to help you enhance your ability to focus. Yoga invites you to live your life with intention, with every cell in your body participating as a whole to promote mindfulness and concentration.
Concentration is very commanding energy. When we harbor negative or unhappy thoughts, it is easy to become unhappy in our thoughts, feelings, and actions. On the contrary, when we focus on the positive and impermanence, we can liberate ourselves from the ordinary and strengthen our ability to concentrate.
Yoga works to relax the mind and body so we can think more clearly, and in time increase our ability to concentrate. As the revered yogic sage, Patanjali stated in the Yoga Sutras, “yoga is the reduction of fluctuations of the mind” or “stilling the natural turbulence of our thoughts.”
Many of us indeed jump to using medicines and therapy as the initial resort to solving mental health problems, and we are definitely not against it. After all, we understand that it is extremely difficult to picture yourself on a mat, in a yoga session, with a bunch of strangers, when you are going through so much in your head. However, as you start easing into your therapy and feel slightly more in control, we urge you to give yoga a try. And, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.