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  • 24Nov

    What are the benefits of yoga for people with mental disorders?

    It is well established that any form of physical exercise improves the quality of life. This is attained through better physical performance, improved mental health and reduced morbidity. The positive effects of exercise on body systems like heart and blood vessels result in an improvement in perfusion. A better oxygen and nutrient delivery to all parts of body including brain occurs. The immune system and musculoskeletal systems also become stronger, thereby improving any physical performance. The concept of sound mind in sound body is well established. 


    Yoga is an ancient practice involving physical, mental and spiritual activities with the aim of achieving mental peace. The physical postures of yoga help in prevention or cure of certain illnesses. They help in maintaining muscle and bone strength along with joint mobility. The stretching and breathing exercises improve circulation of blood. The asanas or postures improve the function of digestive system, respiratory system and other important organs like heart, liver and kidneys. Meditation keeps the mind at peace and harmony with the world or results in a balance between the internal and external environment. The stress of urban life is well relieved with yoga.

    Yoga benefits

    Yoga therapy is part of mind-body interventions. Yoga exercises have been shown to improve depression, anxiety, and stress. There is an improvement in cognitive functions which include the ability to learn and understand. An improvement in self-esteem is seen in people who regularly practice yoga.

    Yoga is an ancient practice involving physical, mental and spiritual activities.

    Yoga is an ancient practice involving physical, mental and spiritual activities.

    The beneficial effects of yoga are due to secretion of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Some of these neurotransmitters include serotonin, adrenaline and endogenous opioids. A weight loss due to yoga also improves social activities, improves mobility and increases recreational gratification. It strengthens the resolve to keep healthy and happy.

    Yoga for mental disorders

    Scientific studies have shown that the psychotic symptoms reduce in patients suffering from schizophrenia.

    Meditation results in anti-anxiety effects as it tends to slow heart rate, improves neuromuscular stability and improves peripheral circulation. Yoga is used to reduce stress and to treat high blood pressure and musculoskeletal conditions.

    Yoga exercise offers many benefits to people with serious mental illness because they are at higher risk of other diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension as a result of the inability to look after themselves. Many of them have a sedentary lifestyle and resort to alcohol and smoking. Many antipsychotic medications are associated with weight gain. Studies have shown that yoga helps in reduction of body mass index, improves aerobic capabilities and reduces the psychiatric symptoms.

    How to start yoga

    Yoga follows the lines of self-discipline. Initially one should join a yoga club and learn the postures, breathing exercises and exercises under supervision of a teacher. Thereafter one can continue individually. The art of meditation should also be learnt to appreciate and practice properly.

    Best place to practice yoga 

    Yoga should be performed at a peaceful place away from noise and pollution, preferably in a natural environment. If the weather is not conducive, yoga may be practiced indoors. There should be no suffocation and the area should be well ventilated. Any comfortable dress is fine. Accessories and loose hanging articles should not be worn as they get stuck or hurt during exercises.

    Though yoga is underused, it has a great potential as a therapeutic intervention for the treatment of mental disorders. A half hour morning and evening sessions are very effective in improving mood and depression. Studies have proved its benefits for depression as well.

    Anna L.

    It’s all about health!
    I have academic background in drugs related Chemical Technology, as well as extensive professional experience in pharma and medical companies. My main area of interest is everyday life medicine. The goal of my articles is to give people informative answers to the questions that bother them, to dispel doubts and some common misbeliefs and also to inspire everyone to keep healthy lifestyle.

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