Science Explains How Yoga Can Make You Happier: Using Yoga for Mental and Physical Wellbeing

by Ane Krstevska

Science Explains How Yoga Can Make You Happier: Using Yoga for Mental and Physical Wellbeing

Personal power may be unlocked with the adoption of some powerful body postures. The results were varying, and according to the claiming of reports, the positions utilized by several politicians and other people with power may be hard to replicate. But, according to one study from recently, we might just have the ability to draw several insights from the research on the psychological benefits of Yoga.

The psychological benefits of yoga.

In the same study, several participants were asked to perform two simple yoga poses for only two minutes, while the other set of participants were asked to perform ‘power poses’ for two minutes. The results have concluded that those participants that performed the yoga pose had improved their subjective feelings of energy, self-esteem, and sense of power than the ones that performed power poses.

There were also some questions regarding what might have been the main reason standing behind the boost. One part of the theory says that the psychological benefits of yoga may be connected with the functioning of the vagus nerves. This is, in fact, the longest nerve in the nervous system and it is responsible for the unconscious functioning of the body, i.e., breathing circulation, and also digestion.

The functioning was also connected with social competence, and beneficial emotional regulation.

The use of yoga for physical and mental wellbeing.

In traditional terms, this practice is the one of non-competitive and physical exercise, involving held poses which were combined with regulated breathing and meditation techniques too. Over the past years, the yoga practice in the west has increased substantially. Some researchers suggested that in the US, more than 31 million adults practiced yoga at a certain point in their life.

Yoga has a lot of positive benefits. It has the ability to alleviate chronic pain and manage coronary artery disease, diabetes, asthma, lymphoma, and even breast cancer. Yoga is beneficial for those that suffer from mental diseases like anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even schizophrenia or a lot of others.

Not just that benefits, but yoga has numerous other positive effects on the life of a person like satisfaction with life, psychological wellbeing, performance anxiety reduction, self-esteem, and stress reduction. In turn, it is about alleviating the positive effects and the feeling of being energized too.

How can yoga improve self-esteem?

The study which was conducted by theconversation.com has been quite different from some other research as the study only investigated the asana aspect of yoga in order to find its effect on self-esteem.

Some studies from previously only focused on the benefits of meditation and breathing, while the review of 465 papers showed that just 169 papers focused on the physical aspects of asana and only two of them focus on the psychological effects of yoga poses.

In the same study, the research team of the theconversation.com compared the effects of tadasana urdhva hastasana, and garudasana yoga poses with two high power and two low power poses.

They have found that the participants that performed yoga pose felt energized, empowered, and also in control than the other group and that in turn, they affected their self-satisfaction and confidence, no matter of their initial level of self-esteem.

They also imply that it could be as of the effect which had less to do with the dominance of poses, and more to do with the feedback which the poses provide to the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of which it is responsible for the unconscious actions of the body. Although the higher power poses were quite more dominant, they were also less responsive to improving the self-esteem of the participants.

But, they also state that their study cannot be the direct answer, but their interpretations and their implications are simply based on the existing literature.

What effect yoga poses have on our body?

There is definitely a common mechanism which explains the dispersed effects of yoga practice: how vagus nerve functions to control the brain to our body. The vagus nerve connects our brain stems to facial muscles, lungs, heart, digestive tract, reproductive organs, and kidneys.

It also has a vital role in the operation of the nervous system. This is said to be responsible for feed-and-breed, rest-and-digest processes, promoting calm and soothing states, and regulation the rate of the heart. Moreover, it is important for the neural regulation of parts of the body necessary for communication, as the larynx, inner ears, eyes, facial muscles, and a lot of others.

Caring behavior is regulated by the parasympathetic nervous system. So, in that way, we may conclude that “well-functioning vagus nerve leads us to feel relaxed, calm, and also safe about other people. Furthermore, this goes both ways: feeling relaxed, calm and safe will improve the vagus nerve, meaning that we can start on a positive upward journey of wellbeing with the improvement of our state of body or state of mind.

The finding of the theconversation.com was also related to that short practice of yoga poses positively affects vagal tone, in that way a person will feel happy and satisfied.

Add a pump of colour to your yoga mats with this Mandala Yoga Mat Towel. The special diamond matrix provides a great non-slip grip to keep it in place while absorbing excess sweat that could make your mat slippery. The high heat printing and dyeing locks the vibrant colors to prevent fading even with machine wash. Great with other indoor or outdoor yoga sessions.

Ane Krstevska



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