Yoga and Mental Health Benefits

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Yoga has existed for thousands of years but only became popular in this country in the previous century. Some people mistake it for just a pastime or a way of getting low-impact exercise. Actually, yoga has benefits far beyond this because it can be used as part of an overall program to help treat a variety of mental health disorders. Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson understands the connection between yoga and mental health for a diverse population of people. For this reason, we include it as part of our treatment options in our residential program.

What is Yoga?

Yoga came into practice about 5,000 years ago in India. People in the U.S. were introduced to yoga in the early 20th century, and its popularity exploded in the 1980s. Today, approximately 34 million Americans practice yoga each year. In this country, yoga involves using physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. This helps people achieve balance in their physical health and mental well-being. Many different yoga styles exist and many disciplines within each type. People can participate by taking a class or practicing it on their own. 

Yoga practitioners believe in chakras, which are center points of energy, feelings, thoughts, and the body. When a chakra is blocked, it negatively impacts a person’s emotions, reactions, and self-confidence. It can also trigger negative physical symptoms. Using yoga helps to unblock these chakras and allows for the free flow of energy and a rebalancing of a person’s entire being. While many people begin doing yoga for the physical benefits, there is a tie between yoga and mental health.  

What are the Mental Health Benefits of Yoga? 

Using yoga for mental health benefits can be a highly productive addition to a program for treating mental illness. People who practice yoga gain physical benefits, including better muscle strength and flexibility. Often, the act of moving and engaging in exercise helps improve mental health disorders. Doing yoga regularly can also help improve a person’s sleep pattern, which leads to feeling better mentally and emotionally. Yoga also teaches people to concentrate on their breathing while they practice their poses. Often, shallow or rapid breathing shows up as a symptom of illnesses like anxiety and PTSD. Learning breathwork helps reduce those symptoms, which gives the individual the ability to feel calm more easily.

A report by Harvard Medical School stated that yoga helps strengthen parts of the brain that affect a person’s thoughts, awareness, memory, attention, and language. Just as going to the gym helps make you physically stronger, yoga helps improve a person’s ability to think and act in certain ways. Their brain cells develop new connections that aid in developing improved cognitive skills. In addition, yoga helps increase the production of endorphins, which naturally help a person feel good. It can contribute to a person enjoying better moods and a decrease in anxiety and depression. All of this proves beneficial for people who have any number of different types of mental health disorders. 

More and more treatment facilities have made the connection between yoga and mental health. As a result, they offer yoga as part of their holistic therapy program. People seeking treatment can take part in both traditional talk therapies and yoga. This increases their ability to minimize their symptoms of poor mental health and enjoy a balance of both good physical and mental health. 

Types of Mental Health Disorders Yoga Has Shown to Help With 

When it comes to yoga and mental health, people who live with a variety of symptoms of poor mental health can reap rewards from practicing this ancient art. Yoga has proven helpful for people who have anxiety disorders, which cause shallow breathing and panicky responses. It also teaches breathwork, which helps people gain control of anxiety when it occurs or prevents it from developing. Yoga also helps people who have depression because it helps release endorphins that naturally improve a person’s mood. In fact, many different mental illnesses include symptoms of anxiety,  depressive moods, difficulty regulating a person’s moods, and poor sleep patterns. These include:


Yoga helps reduce the symptoms that arise with these illnesses. Also, many people in recovery from addiction find that practicing yoga alongside using traditional therapies helps them become better equipped to avoid the temptation to relapse.  

Contact Us About Our Mental Health Programs

Have you heard about yoga but have never tried it? Maybe you took a yoga class but didn’t stick with it. The good news is this activity is about way more than just physical fitness. In fact, yoga and mental health often go hand-in-hand when it comes to successful treatment methods. Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson believes in using an approach to healing mental health that combines traditional and holistic therapies. Our residential program includes yoga classes that help people achieve balance emotionally, mentally, and physically. Used in conjunction with talk therapies, many people find that yoga offers them a leg up on healing they haven’t experienced before. 

For more information about how we can help you move in a positive direction in your life, contact us today. We are ready to talk to you about the ways you can improve your mental health.