There's no doubt about it: yoga has plenty of health benefits that are advantageous for the body. According to Rodale's Organic Life, yoga is not only an ancient practice, but it is one of the best things that you can do for your mind, body, and spirit. Those are three essential factors to a person's well-being; if the mind, body, or spirit is affected in any unfavorable way, it can have a deep impact on an individual's overall health.
We've covered many topics on how yoga can benefit the body. From conquering back pain to even assisting with cancer, yoga has undeniable health advantages that we're enthusiastic to share with you. However, one topic we haven't quite discussed yet is how yoga can positively alter the mind. If you want to learn more about yoga's positive benefits on the mind, pull out your yoga mat while lounging in your best complete yoga outfit, because we're about to discuss some of the many ways that yoga can transform your life in terms of the mind.
Yes – Yoga Can Change Your Brain
You probably didn't think it was true, but it turns out that it is: yoga can actually change your brain. Our thoughts can definitely impact our daily lives. For instance, if you believe something is absolutely true, even with actual evidence that it is not, that belief can alter your perception of reality. For this reason, it's absolutely critical for many of us to think as positively as possible in order to survive. According to Wanderlust, both our thoughts and actions can change the chemical composition of our brain. Once we decide to take action to think and act in a more positive way – which is accomplished by indulging in yoga – we've already altered our mind's chemistry.
Luckily, anyone who practices yoga is fortunate enough to not only cleanse their body of negativity, but also their minds. By practicing deep breathing at a slow pace, we're not only teaching ourselves to think, but to also do so in a positive manner. With deep breathing techniques coupled with positive thinking, we can easily rewire our brain to fight the hardest inner human battle of all kind: negativity.
Yoga and Its Positive Impact on the Mind
If you're interested in practicing yoga, you're more than likely aware of how it not only generates a great workout, but how it also assists with positive cognitive thinking. It's definitely a win-win for anyone seeking a thought-provoking workout routine. As we've discussed in previous blog posts, such as our post covering Anusara yoga, yoga includes some deep and powerful thinking techniques. Yoga is not only a helpful way to keep your body in shape and free of physical ailments, but it's also a lifestyle tool that assists you in adapting to the world around you.
Yoga: The Mind and Body Experience
Working out is a huge factor when it comes to the act of releasing endorphins that are inside of our brain. These endorphins, which are best known as feel-good chemicals that are released in the brain, can absolutely have a positive impact on your mood. It only makes sense then that while you work out using yoga, you're releasing endorphins while simultaneously training your mind to think more positively. With your body and mind working together in peaceful harmony, there's truly no stopping you in obtaining a happier state of mind. In this way, yoga also helps you to think more clearly, which can change your life for the better.
With a clearer mind, you'll be more prone to making healthier life decisions and to be able to stand by these decisions. This is just one of the many positive aspects of meditation.
Meditation in a Nutshell
Yoga wouldn't be yoga without meditation. Dhyana, which is yoga-speak for meditation, has been practiced by yogis and yoginis for millennia. Meditation and mindfulness are two major keywords that come along with yoga, and for a good reason.
As you're releasing endorphins while you work out, meditation will "work out" your mind. Through meditation, you can suddenly find yourself more in tune with the world around you, which is actually an essential part of yoga. There is a methodology in the yoga tradition which aims to reveal the interconnectedness of every living thing. This interconnectedness is a fundamental unity, which yogis and yoginis refer to as advaita. Through meditation, you witness this experience of unity firsthand. Meditation is not only a positive force for the mind, but it also helps you to expand and grow your knowledge of the immediate world around you!
The Yoga Sutra, which was written by an Indian author named Patanjali, is the official authoritative text regarding yoga. In it, there is instruction given on how to meditate. Meditation is said to take place when the mind is quiet. Once the mind is quiet, the nervous system is finally relaxed. In order to achieve this mental stillness, the body and mind must achieve a balance.
One of the most interesting parts about meditation – according to the Yoga Sutra – is that a quiet mind which is free from anxiety and restlessness is obtained once we realize that our never-ending material quest will never be satisfied. When we realize this, there is much less focus on the outer world and more focus on what really matters: the heart, the mind, and the soul.
Although keeping our physical bodies in shape by going to the gym and practicing our favorite asanas (which is yoga-speak for poses) on a consistent basis can improve our feelings of self-worth and confidence, so can meditation which is a fundamental aspect of practicing yoga. This ancient practice is truly a perfect balance of the mind and the body, emphasizing health for both components. If you're looking for a way to positively reinforce your life, there's no doubt that yoga is a great first step. It doesn't hurt that yoga pants are extremely comfortable to wear, either!