Each person responds to stress in a different manner but, for the majority of us, this response is often related to a negative pattern of thought.
Exposed to different types of stress, the brain learns to always react in this manner and, thus, we end up going on a downward spiral.
The good news is that you can change your pattern of thought, especially if you engage in a practice such as yoga.
This practice will help you achieve an incredible state of relaxation and, at the same time, it will rewire your brain towards positive thinking.
The effect of yoga on the human brain
The regular practice of yoga has an amazing effect on the human brain, improving the way we respond to stress.
Moreover, when we practice yoga, we discover a state of calmness and relaxation; this practice can help us fight mental health problems, reducing the risk of anxiety, stress and depression.
Such positive changes have been confirmed through numerous studies, including one published by John Denninger, Harvard scientist and a faithful practitioner of yoga.
So, you see, yoga can be extremely beneficial for you, especially when you are going to stressful periods or you are prone to anxiety and/or depression.
How does yoga rewire the brain?
If you have attended at least one yoga session in your life, then you are probably aware of what this practice actually entails.
It teaches you to eliminate all negative thoughts and concentrate on being present in the moment; when you practice yoga, it becomes easy to stay focused and maintain a state of calmness and relaxation.
All of these benefits are gathered under the concept of mindfulness, which has been shown to have positive effects for both the physical and mental health.
This is especially important for those who are suffering from stress and anxiety; as shown in an article published in Alternative Medicine Review, the regular practice of yoga can improve the overall quality of life. It also brings the necessary relief from stress and anxiety, two of the main factors that can affect a person’s quality of life and general well-being.
The authors of the article draw attention to the fact that, in the future, yoga could be recommended as an alternative therapy to medication and other forms of treatment – this is, of course, related to the benefits it has to offer with regard to mental health.
How can you benefit from the practice of yoga?
If you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, yoga can be the answer you were looking for.
One session will be enough to convince yourself of the benefits that it has to offer; it is guaranteed you will feel more relaxed and in touch with yourself.
With regular practice, you will no longer pay attention to negative thoughts and start seeing things from a completely different perspective.
You will also discover mindfulness as a concept and learn how to stay calm and focused. As you will reduce the amount of stress in your life, you will also bring down the risk of chronic conditions and the number of visits to the doctor.
Always remember that the practice of yoga can improve the way both your brain and your body respond to stress.
As you enter into the much-desired state of relaxation, the quantity of stress hormones, such as cortisol, will be reduced. You will no longer have to battle with the symptoms of anxiety and depression, enjoying the changes in your pattern of thought.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, this practice can reduce overall anxiety, both on a short and long term basis.
The study was performed on different age groups from Japan, demonstrating that yoga can improve mental health at any age.
Similar conclusions were drawn in another study, which was published in the Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology. It was concluded that yoga is beneficial for the body, mind and spirit, allowing people to enjoy a more fulfilling life.
As you have seen for yourself, yoga has a wealth of benefits to offer, starting with the fact that it can rewire your brain and change your pattern of thought.
It is especially beneficial with regard to the stress response; as it helps you achieve a state of calmness and relaxation, it brings down the levels of cortisol and reduces the negative consequences of stress.
Yoga is easy to practice and it teaches you how to use your breathing to relax and let go of all your worries; it forces you to be present in the moment, without paying too much attention to the past or future.
It can be practiced alone or in a group, depending on your personal preferences. And, yes, it is one of the best ways to maintain an excellent state of health from a physical point of view as well.