While in the West, yoga is typically thought of as a form of exercise, its roots are actually much deeper than that. Yoga is an ancient system meant to heal the mind, body, and soul. In Sanskrit, yoga actually means “to unite” the individual with that of the “Universal Consciousness.”
What is Yoga?
Yoga includes a series of stretches, physical poses, and movement, along with breathing exercises, chanting, mindfulness and meditation. Since it’s a gentle practice and easily tailored to your ability level, anyone can do it, regardless of fitness, mobility, or age (Lululemon leggings not required).
How Yoga & Meditation Can Help
Yoga and meditation have many positive effects on your physical and mental health.
The key component of these practices is in their combination of physical movement —whether that’s a specific posture or even just an increased focus on the breath— paired with intentional mental focus.
Yoga & Meditation can help with the following conditions:
- Poor blood circulation
- High blood pressure
- Limited mobility
- Lower back pain
- Trouble breathing
- Tension or stress
Yoga & Meditation can help you develop positive outcomes:
- Increase your concentration
- Reduce your risk for injury
- Gain strength and stamina
- Reduce stress
- Improve posture
- Understand the mind and body connection
- Improve balance and stability
- Develop body awareness
How Yoga & Meditation Benefit Sleep
If you suffer from sleep issues like insomnia, or even if you have trouble getting good quality sleep, yoga and meditation can help. They are all natural and medication-free ways to increase your sleep quality.
Yoga and meditation help you sleep better by reducing brain arousal before bed. Studies show that adding meditation to other forms of sleep therapy like CBT works better than just using other sleep therapies by themselves.
The Science Behind Yoga & Meditation
Because yoga and meditation have been around for a long time, scientists have put these practices to the test.
Surprise—they’ve passed with flying colors.
Yoga postures (asanas) provide a natural relief from the impact of stress responses in the mind and body. Along with meditation, the self-soothing elements of physical yoga helps curb the effects of anxiety and depression without medication. Yoga and meditation work by reducing physiological arousal—they lower blood pressure and reduce your heart rate. They make it easier for you to breathe, and all of these positive outcomes combined provide health benefits that last a long time.
Another way in which these practices provide health benefits is by reducing inflammation in your body. When you’re stressed, inflammation affects your physiology and internal organs, making us more susceptible to diseases such as autoimmune conditions, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Yoga has been shown to reduce inflammation. In other words, a regular yoga practice can help you prevent and manage chronic diseases.
Studies also show that yoga changes your response to pain. A University of Utah study tested the pain tolerance of yoga practitioners along with other individuals. Yoga practitioners had the highest pain tolerance and lowest pain-related brain activity during the MRI. The study underscores the value of techniques, such as yoga, that can help a person regulate their stress and, therefore, pain responses.
Use Yoga & Meditation to Optimize Work Performance
If you’re a busy executive, yoga and meditation can help you upgrade the quality of your work, and help you to feel more centered and refreshed throughout your day.
Work & Stress
Working long hours with many deadlines and ongoing projects can take a toll. It’s not easy to maintain that lifestyle, and without a mindfulness practice you can burn out too soon. Also, continued forms of stress can lead to long-term physical issues like gastrointestinal disorders and other health issues. The sooner you begin finding effective, holistic ways to address work-related stress, the better you’ll be able to manage your high-pressure work environment.
How Yoga Can Elevate Performance
Holistic therapies can help you achieve a sense of wholeness that you will infuse life back into your work environment. Yoga and meditation provide you with practical techniques that regulate your nervous system, keep you centered, and elevate your performance. You’ll enjoy a better sleep schedule, better physical health, and a heightened ability to focus, all of which will translate well at home and at the office.
Here at Pacific Integrative Psychiatry, we look at mental health issues through a holistic lens. Cultivating a regular practice of yoga and meditation has the potential to bring about sustainable and lasting change.
Call us today to set up a consultation where we can talk about your needs in specific detail and create a plan that’s right for you.
Take The First Step On Your
Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make a decision to become a patient. Our patient coordinator is standing by, happy to answer any questions you have to determine if Pacific Integrative Psychiatry is right for you.