We wish we could bottle up that after yoga feeling, you know the one where you feel like you're floating on the cloud, and you're mind is so present you really could be a true 'zen master'?
Well do you ever wonder what that feeling is and why yoga seems to have the magic key to unlocking it?
Ahead of World Mental Health day on the 10th of October, we have five reasons why yoga helps your mind, including the science behind it...
1. You're body moves from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system You might have heard your yoga teacher say this in class, especially in poses like forward folds, or longer hold poses. It helps our body move from fight or flight to rest and digest, which is where there's typically less anxiety and more relaxation. As soon as you tap into your breath and slow down you can enter this state of your nervous system. Meaning hello feelings of zen!
2. Yoga brings you into the present Throughout our yoga practice, whatever style of yoga you try or enjoy, a major focus of a the practise is to be in the exact moment that you're in. This is achieved by the combination of yoga poses with breathing and focusing your drishti - your gaze. In yoga you will also be encouraged to engage the bandhas, different parts of your body to support the poses, all of these aspects to focus on will bring your mind completely into the moment.
Genesis Karlet on our Wuufly Ocean Dream vegan yoga mat in support of Sea Shepherd UK
3. Yoga helps you to build a relationship with yourself You know those poses where your mind says 'I can't' or you feel uncomfortable, yoga helps you to sit and soothe yourself through these times, connecting with your breath and calmly approaching the challenge. These are skills you can apply to your every day life.
4. Yoga and compassion go hand in hand In yoga whilst it is an individual practise, it is also a connective practise not just to yourself but to those around you. These feelings of togetherness and connection can help to strengthen compassion. Which is a level of sympathy for others and their suffering, which may influence your behaviour in helping someone or someone helping you.
5. Yoga can help us become aware of our 'shadow' qualities The joining of light and dark in yoga can help us to recognise qualities or feelings in ourself that we are not aware of, inspiring more mindfulness in our daily life. Practises in yoga like looking at where we are holding tension, tightness or knots can help us to connect our physical feelings to our emotional ones, working from the outside in. Physical postures/ asana can help us to work emotionally, such as poses like pigeon for our hips or backbends for our heart.
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Namaste from our Cat Love Pro yoga mat