Mental Benefits Of Yoga | Rocky Mountain Health Plans Blog



How a Regular Yoga Practice Can Improve Your Mental Well-Being

Yoga is a great way to release tension in the body. Yoga stretches and poses are also perfect for warming up for some of your favorite outdoor activities on the Western Slope, like stand up paddleboarding. 

The benefits of yoga aren’t just physical, though. There are many mental health benefits to practicing yoga, ranging from reduced anxiety to increased mindfulness. Exploring some of these benefits help to inspire you to add more yoga to your life. 

Yoga reduces stress, anxiety, and depression

One of the most significant benefits of a yoga practice is a reduction in symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. This article from the American Psychological Association explores several research studies that found lower depressive symptoms amongst yoga-practicing participants. 

Yoga has even been proven effective for people suffering from chronic, treatment-resistant depression. However, it’s important to remember that yoga is most effective as a complementary approach to other therapies. 

Lindsey Hopkins, PhD, of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, notes, “at this time, we can only recommend yoga as a complementary approach, likely most effective in conjunction with standard approaches delivered by a licensed therapist. Clearly, yoga is not a cure-all. However, based on empirical evidence, there seems to be a lot of potential.” 

Yoga makes it easier to reach a state of mindfulness

Mindfulness means being present in the current moment, and it can be a surprisingly difficult state to achieve. If your mind tends to run a mile a minute and you feel like your thoughts can’t be controlled, give yoga a try. 

The concept of focusing on the ‘now’ is central to yoga. As you increase your frequency of yoga practice, you’ll soon find that mindfulness is more achievable. 

Practicing yoga improves focus

Practicing yoga for only 20 minutes can give your brain a boost. 

One study followed 30 female undergraduate students that completed a 20-minute yoga session and 20 minutes of aerobic exercise on a treadmill. While the treadmill session resulted in no significant memory improvements, the yoga session led to improved performance on speed and accuracy tests. 

Finding a yoga studio on the Western Slope 

There’s no shortage of local yoga studios in towns around the Western Slope. If you have a gym membership, yoga classes may even be included with your membership. 

If you don’t have a studio or class in mind, a quick online search for yoga studios in your town is a good place to start your search. Websites like Yoga Finder are another useful resource. Many studios offer a free trial class or a free week, so you can take classes until you find a yoga community that makes you feel inspired and supported.