The 6 psychological benefits of yoga
The yoga is a very old physical and mental practice that has been expanding all over the worldbecause of its benefits and to that it guarantees a firm body, a stable mind and a benevolent spirit.
It is a millenary art that has amply demonstrated that it can improve our quality of life, not only physically but also mentally and spiritually.
Psychology and yoga
It consists of postures (asanas), relaxation (savasana), meditation (dhyana), breathing (pranayama), kriyas (cleanings), mudras (energetic seals), kirtan (songs), mantra or rituals. In addition to one exercise, for many, it is a way of life that seeks well-being, inner peace and implies a lifestyle that commits to the observance of ethical guidelines , principles of life and proper nutrition.
Yoga achieves the integration of movement with breathing until they cease to be two separate entities and become one. His practice becomes an extremely powerful agent of transformation that provokes profound changes in our health . In fact, its use is seen as a preventive or rehabilitative medicine because it stimulates the metabolic and anabolic processes and improves the circulation of energy, oxygenating the body. When we talk about yoga, we can not only refer to the physiological benefits (for example, increased flexibility, decreased muscle stiffness, etc.), but we have to mention the positive consequences produced in the mind, emotional well-being and the brain.
Next, from Psychology and Mind , we present the six psychological benefits of practicing yoga.
1. Reduce stress
The lifestyle of Western societies can lead many people to suffer stress, causing psychological health problems such as depression, anxiety, etc. A study of Thirthalli and Naveen (2013) it shows that the treatment with yoga reduces cortisol levels , a hormone that is released in response to stress.
Cortisol is necessary for the body because it regulates and mobilizes energy in stressful situations, but if we have too much or it increases in situations that we do not need it, it produces many side effects. By practicing yoga we can lower the levels of this hormone, and therefore, reduce stress.
2. Improves sleep
Serotonin (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter that is derived from an amino acid called tryptophan. It sends messages within the brain and through the nervous system, and participates in many processes such as regulating mood or appetite. In addition, one of its main tasks is increase the production of melatonin , a hormone that regulates sleep cycles.
To achieve a peaceful rest, likewise, serotonin intervenes in the control of stress and body temperature . "The practice of yoga increases serotonin levels so it helps you sleep better," explains Dr. Murali Doraiswam, author of a study by Duke University that included the review of more than 100 research papers on the yoga.
3. Improves the mood
As we mentioned in the previous point, serotonin (5-HT) also regulates mood. Low levels of 5-HT are associated with depressive and obsessive behaviors. An investigation by Cabral, Meyer and Ames (2011) found that regular yoga practice produces significant improvements in patients with depression and anxiety similar to physical exercise, due to the increase in serotonin.
Another neurotransmitter that seems to influence this aspect is GABA. A recent study from Boston University and the University of Utah has shown that there is also an increase in this neurotransmitter in yoga practitioners .
4. Lengthens life and prevents degenerative diseases
American researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital have shown, after a study, that yoga and meditation increase the size of telomeres, structures that are located at the ends of chromosomes and which are directly related to aging, the development of certain pathologies and even premature death.
The study concludes that there seems to be a positive correlation between healthy and large telomeres, and the increase in longevity, the prevention of degenerative diseases and the health of people. Doing yoga only 15 minutes a day is enough to produce biochemical changes in the brain and neurons .
5. Improves concentration
Yoga practitioners they improve concentration, coordination, reaction time, memory, learning and show greater ability to solve problems According to a study by Neha Gothe, a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. According to his research, published in The Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 20 minutes of yoga a day are more beneficial cognitively than a session of intense physical activity.Related article: "9 tips to improve concentration"
6. Improves the couple's relationship and sexual relations
According to Pete McCall, exercise physiologist and personal trainer for the American Council on Exercise: "Yoga can result in better sex because it will help your flexibility and strengthen the pelvic muscles." A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that yoga can treat premature ejaculation and improve sexual satisfaction .
In addition, as other research from the University of British Columbia mentions, the reduction of stress thanks to the practice of yoga, increases libido and sexual vitality. Therefore, by improving the Sexual life in different ways, it is possible that the couple's relationship is also benefited.