A review of studies published in Aging and Mental Health showed that of the techniques studied, yoga was one of the most effective against anxiety and depression, and was the longest lasting.
Yoga is a practice which includes breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific body postures. It has been proven to be beneficial to our physical health in a number of ways, including:
The thought of yoga is often driven by photos and images we see, which often depict highly advanced poses and positions causing some to be intimidated and fearful. At The Bridge to Recovery, our yoga practice is designed to help with trauma healing, and is inviting of every body style, shape, and practice level.
Aside from the physical benefits of yoga, there is also incredible benefit to our mental and emotional health.
Breath work, body control, and stillness allows for better relaxation, rest, and sleep.
The peace and stillness offered by yoga allows us to reach deeper parts of ourselves often shut away by the business of our lives.
Yoga stimulates the part of your brain that controls memory, awareness, thought, and language. New connections in that part of the brain are formed during yoga participation, improving cognition and memory.
The relaxation and calmness created from yoga participation decreases anxiety and depression symptoms.
Exercise in general increases endorphins which have a positive effect on your mood. Yoga has also been shown to elevate a brain chemical (GABA) associated with improved mood.
Meditation when practiced through yoga has been shown to decrease the activity in the limbic system which is the part of the brain that controls our emotions. When emotional reactivity is better controlled, we are in better shape to handle stressful situations.
The slow breathing occurring during yoga has been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is associated with a calm state, helping with relaxation.
Yoga teaches clients how to ground themselves, occupy their bodies and establish a place of safety for themselves.
Practicing yoga helps establish a non-judgmental relationship with the body, which is often difficult.
As seen above, yoga has so many benefits to our mental health. Many of these are also beneficial to trauma healing.
It does, however, help with trauma in healing in a key way: it releases traumatic energy trapped in the body through movement. When trauma occurs, our fight or flight response is impacted, and that energy has to go somewhere, often being stored in our muscles.
Yogis also trained in trauma healing can help harness the benefits of yoga to help our clients dispel the trapped energy, allowing them to experiencing relief from their trauma symptoms.
If you would like to learn more about yoga at The Bridge to Recovery, or anything else about our program in an effort to decide if our program would be beneficial to you, a friend or family member, or a client, give us a call today.
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“ Honestly the Bridge taught me something I already knew but had to remember. I am so damn special, valid, and important. Everyone in my life saw it, but me. The Bridge just showed me how to look in the mirror to see for myself. ”
- Jewel, Alumnus