We’ve talked about how practicing yoga is good for your body - it can help improve your flexibility, protect you from injuries and lower your blood pressure. But what about the many other benefits yoga has for you? From improving your concentration and focus to relieving anxiety, here’s how taking up yoga can benefit your mind.
Yoga increases your focus
Unlike other forms of movement and exercise, a big part of practicing yoga is focusing on your breathing and yourself. You might do this during a heavy gym session, but it’s usually to help you push through, not to help you become attuned to yourself and your body. Because many yoga poses require higher levels of concentration, especially ones that need you to keep your balance, your overall ability to concentrate and focus becomes increased the more you practice.
It calms your mind
Usually during the day, no matter what we’re doing, our minds are filled with thoughts racing around at a million miles an hour. We’re thinking about what we’re going to do for dinner, where we need to go and when, and what we need to do tomorrow. With yoga, because of the concentration and attentiveness to your breathing that’s required, you’ll find that your thoughts slow right down and are only focused on the present moment - something that we could all stand to practice more often!
It helps with productivity
Because yoga encourages mindfulness and helps you to stay present in the moment, it also helps you to be more productive. If you’re working on a task, and your mind is focused solely on that task in the present moment, you’re more likely to get it done quicker and better. Although multi-tasking has been said to be a highly desirable trait, it actually can lessen your ability to get each job done well as you’re splitting your task and your mind up into smaller bits.
Yoga promotes positivity
When you practice yoga, all sorts of positive brain hormones are released, including dopamine and oxytocin, which help you to be happier and maintain a positive mindset. If you’ve ever practiced yoga, you’ll know what we mean as your practice often leaves you feeling happy and relaxed. Unlike typical exercise practices, yoga isn’t done primarily to increase fitness or attractiveness - it’s actually been shown to promote positive body image as you’re focused more on what your body can do as opposed to what it looks like.
What a wonderful tool yoga is for both your body and your mind! Next we’ll check out why yoga is also very healing for your soul...