4 Effective Yoga Asanas To Improve Mental Health September 7, 2016

Yoga has many health benefits: from removing constipation to relieving neurological disorders. You probably knew that yoga can help you calm the mind, but did you know that yoga can also improve your mental health? Amazed? Well, you should be! Read this post and find out how yoga can help boost your mental well-being and help you overcome anxiety and stress.

Stress and anxiety are the main reasons behind many kinds of disorders affecting your mental health and you need some remedy that can help you rid yourself of these unwanted conditions.

Yoga is a great stress reliever and it has been shown to ease anxiety and depression as well. When you shift focus from the body to your breath, yoga helps relieve anxiety and also eases physical tension.

According to ViraYoga founder Elena Brower, yoga helps slow the system down and promotes healing processes and eases the stressors of daily life.

Poses To Improve Mental Health:

Some poses that help improve mental health and provide other health benefits include:

1. Balasana Or Child’s Pose:

Balasana Or Child's Pose

Image: Shutterstock

Balasana or the child’s pose offers many health benefits; it helps curb constipation, promotes digestive processes and helps lower bloating. Balasana also helps you keep your abs toned. Most importantly, balasana stimulates your nervous system and helps reenergize your body.

Steps To Balasana:

  1. Get down on your knees and keep your spine erect
  2. Now, begin bending forward so that your thighs touch your chest and your forehead touches the ground beyond your knees.
  3. Straighten your arms by the sides of the body
  4. Your palms should face the floor.
  5. Retain the pose for around 20-25 seconds (1).

Other Benefits Of Balasana:

Balasana has many benefits, with the major one being improving your mental health. Some other benefits include:

  • Helps develop strong hips, ankles and thighs
  • Helps you overcome fatigue and stress.
  • Balasana improves your blood circulation.
  • It also helps reduce back pain

Cautions:

Balasana is a simple pose to perform, but keep in mind:

  • Use pillows instead of resting your head on the sweaty yoga mat or floor.
  • Don’t perform this pose if you suffer from diarrhea, hypertension, heart problems or a knee injury.

2. Viparita Karani:

Viparita Karani

Image: Shutterstock

Viparita Karani is a brilliant pose for improving blood circulation in your body. It has other effects like stimulating the nervous system, helping relax your mind and others. People with joint pains perform this asana quite regularly.

Steps To Viparita Karani:

  1. Begin by lying on the floor with your face facing the celing. Place your hands beneath your body, palms facing upwards.
  2. Holding your hips, and balancing your body on your arms and elbows, slowly raise your legs and your body.
  3. Your legs should be at a right angle to your torso
  4. Bring your arms to the side of the body.
  5. You can also add cushions under pressure points like the neck and back.
  6. Remain in the pose for around 10-15 minutes (2).

Benefits:

Apart from boosting mental health, Viparita Karani has other benefits like:

  • Regulates blood flow
  • Relieves menstrual cramps
  • Reduces swelling in ankles
  • Calms anxiety
  • Rejuvenates the body
  • Treats depression and insomnia
  • Overcomes symptoms of Lupus, Arthritis and Sciatica

3. Standing Forward Bend Pose Or Uttanasana:

Standing Forward Bend Pose Or Uttanasana

Image: Shutterstock

This is another great pose for improving your mental health and treating symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Steps To Uttanasana:

  1. Begin by standing straight.
  2. Keep your hands on your hips and inhale.
  3. Extend your hands out above you and while you exhale bend your torso forward.
  4. Keep going until your hands come to rest on the ground next to your feet.
  5. If you find this too difficult to do, you can alternatively hold onto the elbows.
  6. You have to ensure that your knees remain straight at all times.
  7. Hold this pose for around 10-15 seconds and release.
  8. Use your abs to exit this position (3).

Benefits:

There are many health benefits of the Standing Forward Bend Pose, apart from promoting mental health. Some of these benefits include:

  • Stronger calves, hamstrings and hips
  • Stronger knees and thighs
  • Stimulates digestion by massaging your organs
  • Helps push mucous from the lungs
  • Helps relax your central nervous system and calms the mind.
  • Reduces and relieves stress effectively
  • Also helps reduce insomnia, fatigue and headache
  • Helps remove menopause symptoms
  • Is therapeutic

4. Corpse Pose Or Shavasana:

Corpse Pose Or Shavasana

Image: Shutterstock

This pose is used to end almost all yoga routines and is an excellent pose for meditation. It helps boost your mental health by helping you meditate and eases your body. Savasana is an excellent way to relax the body.

Steps To Shavasana:

  1. Lie down on your back and keep your body straight.
  2. Your hands should be at the body’s sides
  3. Keeping your palms pointed upwards and close your eyes
  4. You can consider counting your breaths.
  5. Hold the position for a minimum of 5 minutes (4).

Benefits:

Apart from offering an excellent relaxation period and being an excellent restorative for energy, Shavasana has many health benefits, which include:

  • It helps curb the spread of indigestion, constipation, diabetes and asthma as well.
  • The asana not only improves concentration, but also boosts mental well-being, while relaxing your body.
  • The asana helps stimulate blood circulation.

Tips:

Shavasana is a zero-impact exercise which can easily be performed by people from all age groups. Even pregnant women can practice this asana without any hesitation. You should consider these simple tips when you perform the Shavasana:

  • Try breathing faster or deeper if you feel sleepy
  • Begin your yoga session with this pose and aim to wind up with the same pose.
  • The best thing about this pose is that you can perform this asana from the comfort of your bed.

So, practice these poses and boost your mental well-being. Yoga is one of the best tools for improving mental health and these poses will help you relax, focus better and overcome problems like insomnia and depression.

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