Yoga and the Mind Body Connection

The mind body connection means that our thoughts, feelings and beliefs can affect how our bodies function. And the opposite too. Our bodies can affect our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitude.

Read more to find out exactly how our mind and bodies are connected with scientific proof.

Body Mind Connection Examples

How do you feel when you don’t get enough sleep? Are you more irritable than when you do get enough? How about when you’re under stress? Are you patient with family and friends, or is it harder to keep anger contained? Do you have any health problems from too much stress on your system? When you get that promotion, pay raise or finally complete that college degree, are you happy, sharing your smile with everyone and ready to celebrate? When you’re sick how do you feel about performing your normal, daily activities. Don’t really care if you do them or if they get done?

You really don’t have to look far to see how there is a body and mind connection, or how it impacts us.

The Science Behind It

How does the body mind connection work?

Our nervous system is an intricate pathway connecting the brain with every other part of the body like the muscles, cardiovascular and digestive tract. Stress and emotions send signals along our nervous system to areas of the body that trigger physical symptoms. Had you had butterflies in your stomach? Heart ever want to pound out of your chest in reaction to something?

Can you see the connection now?

Conventional, western medicine will treat the symptoms. High blood pressure, upset stomach, nervous disorders – each of these has a drug to treat them. And your Doctor may even tell you to cut the stress, but you need that job or you just don’t know what to do about that family member who is a stressor! Western medicine doesn’t really get to the root or cause of many of these stress related disorders.

How do I Reduce Stress?

There is a variety of mind body therapies that help your mind and thus your body. Here are a few examples of mind body therapies: acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage and reiki therapy, meditation, music therapy and so on.

And than there’s YOGA.

Yoga movements influence the chemical balance of the brain directly impacting the mental state of being. A study conducted by the University of Boston School of Medicine found that doing yoga may elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels, which is the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. This suggests that yoga may be a possible treatment for depression and anxiety, disorders associated with low GABA levels.

That means if you suffer from a disorder associated with a low amount of a chemical (GABA) yoga helps to increase that chemical giving you increased feelings of calmness and relaxation! The best and most surprising advantage of yoga is that it works for each person based on their individual needs!

Yoga movements and poses help the body direct blood supply to the areas of the body which need it most. There are few exercises as powerful as yoga. It offers you the ability to improve your physical appearance, health and improve your mind. It is truly a whole body exercise that can do more for you than you may realize.

In addition to reducing stress and promoting calmness and relaxation, yoga also :

Improves Sleep Quality

Due to the type of non-competitive movements and breathing that you do during yoga, you will start finding that you are sleeping more comfortably through the night. You might even find that you need less sleep.

Improves Posture

Yoga movements are designed to help your body remember how to stand and sit properly. The more you practice yoga, the better your posture will become because your core will be stronger.

Improves Weight Loss

Due to burning extra calories and improving your digestion, yoga will help you lose weight faster than you will without it. Having a better mind-body connection will make you more aware of what you’re eating throughout the day too.

Improves Muscle Tone

Yoga tones and improves muscles by making them longer and leaner than other forms of exercise. Many ballet dancers like to incorporate yoga so that they can have long, lean lines and toned but not bulky muscles.

Improves Mental Clarity

While you can do yoga at night for better sleep you can also start your day with yoga to improve mental clarity and increase energy. The way you’re encouraged to breathe and be mindful about your body during the practice will carry over to helping you become more focused on all your daily activities.

Improves Balance

As we age we naturally become less able to balance. Practicing yoga can help you improve your balance and keep it for many years.

Lessens Body Pain

Due to the improved muscle tone of your core, your bottom, legs and arms, you’ll experience less body pain as you age. The low-impact, stretching and slow movements you make during yoga practice are less straining than other types

Now I know you’re thinking you can’t do those twisted yoga poses and I don’t have the time! Guess what, you can do the poses that are similar to stretches. I do them a few times a week. It takes me 30 minutes, and I made time by cutting out the morning news when I wake up for work. Instead, I use that time to do yoga!

I started yoga during a time in my life when work stress was out of control. It was also the year my father died suddenly in January, and six months later my sister died suddenly too. I barely remember the rest of that year and very glad it’s behind me.

During that time of my life I was about to burst with anxiety. I found a beginner version of yoga stretches and after completing them each morning I slowly started to feel myself be able to breathe again! It literally helped me survive that year. It has been 5 years since that horror story in my life but I continue yoga because I love the way it makes me feel!!!!

Leave a comment below and let me know about your experience with yoga whether you’ve just started or are a seasoned pro. I’d love to hear about your successes.

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