Yoga TherapyYoga employs a broad approach, that focuses on teaching people a new lifestyle, way of thinking, and way of being in the world. The main emphasis is on general well-being. Although yoga is not considered a therapy for specific illnesses, it has been shown to help in a variety of conditions.
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Yoga can be used to help people become aware of themselves on both a physical and psychological level. This allows people to take early action, such as improving posture, when discomfort is first noticed.
People who study yoga learn to relax and they can use the technique whenever pain appears. Practicing yoga can give chronic pain sufferers useful tools to actively cope with their pain and to help counter their feelings of helplessness and depression.
One of the common techniques used in yoga is breathing through one nostril at a time. Electroencephalogram (EEG) studies have shown this type of breathing, through one nostril, results in increased activity on the opposite side of the brain. Some experts have suggested that the regular practice of breathing through one nostril may help improve communication between the right and left side of the brain.
Yoga can enhance a person’s cognitive performance. A study of 23 men, found that breathing through one nostril resulted in better performance of tasks associated with the opposite side of the brain. Other studies show this increased brain activity is associated with better performance.
Moodiness and Energy
Virtually everyone who participates in yoga over a period of time, reports a more positive outlook and increased energy level. A British study of 71 healthy volunteers aged 21 to 76 found that a 30-minute program of yogic stretching and breathing exercises was simple to learn and resulted in a “markedly invigorating” effect on perceptions of both mental and physical energy and improved mood.
In a study that compared relaxation, visualization, and yoga, it was found that the yoga group had a significantly greater increase of mental and physical energy and an increased feeling of alertness and enthusiasm over the other groups. Relaxation tends to make people more sleepy and sluggish after a session, and visualization seemed to make them more sluggish and less content.
Yoga and Mental Well-being
People that practice yoga seems to experience a number of factors that result in a profound effect on their mental health.
1. Reducing Tension: People who practice yoga speak of “freeing the mind, calming the spirit or steadying the mind from mental disturbances,” reduction of nervousness, irritability, and confusion, depression and mental fatigue are some of the benefits experienced. One experiences a relief from the pressure of his “compulsions.”
The extent to which these benefits may be expected will depend in part upon whether or not the person can approach and participate in them willingly and wholeheartedly.
2. Restoration Of Flexibility: The positive benefits from a full round of yogic exercises may be described as a renewal of mental quickness. Both mood and capacity for alertness, attentiveness, and willingness to tackle problems revive. A person may not be able to reignite enthusiasm late in a working day; early morning, or even noonday, efforts to recharge mental energies can ignite a full measure of willingness. Traditional phrases, such as restored “spiritual vitality,” intend to convey the complex idea of mental spryness, agreeableness, resiliency, and feelings of confidence and self-sufficiency. Some even testify to attaining feelings of buoyancy and euphoria; these then provide a background or mood of well-being and assurance such that one naturally more fully enjoys both his ability and the worthiness of being more tolerant and generous.
3. Personal Worth: Avoidance of fear: Yoga is said to result in the reduction of a variety of mental illnesses. These may range all the way from vague feelings of frustration, persecution, insecurity, on the one hand, to acute and specific types of insanity, on the other.
4. Acceptance of Faith in Life: The goal of yoga is to live confidently. The goal is to replace negativism and cynicism with an appreciation of life, not only on any given day but every day. If you cannot accept all of it, because some problems remain unavoidably troublesome, then you will accept the troubles which you have as (1) yours and (2) enough for you, without wishing you had still more troubles.
5. Life Skills: Yoga may reduce your irritability with others and others’ irritability with you. If you become less irritable, you tend to irritate others less and tend to be less irritated.
Yoga is not a cure-all for all conditions. But its attack upon some basic mental illnesses may indeed be just enough to pay dividends that grow in magnitude. If we can merely halt and reverse some mental compulsions that keep us chained to increasing anxiety, we may be able to embark a course which will bring us around to a healthier lifestyle. We are all, to some degree, insane. Overwhelming waves of tension and stress, which may catch us in periods of physical and mental exhaustion, can produce a spiritual explosion which leaves us so helpless that we are at a loss to know how it all came about. By regular efforts to reduce tension through yogic exercises, we may finally reverse our tendency toward real or imagined fears and anxieties.
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