Yoga and Mental Health with South Texas Yogi, Saralee

Sarelee in a Yoga Pose, Source: Patreon

My cousin Saralee and I talked about how she discovered yoga and how quickly she felt yoga’s beneficial impacts on her, physically and psychologically. I watched Saralee transform her practice from Bikram Yoga to Vinyasa Yoga. She found such a love for yoga and its rewarding benefits that she needed to introduce it to others in her community in Laredo, TX. Saralee is on a journey where she continues to grow as a yogi and now as an instructor. You can find her on Instagram (@south_texas_yogi) and her Patreon Page.

Zoom Video Discussion with Elda and Saralee, Source: YouTube

In an article titled “Top 10 Mental Health Benefits of Yoga” on calmsage.com, the author explains that there are 60+ benefits of yoga that are both physical and mental. I’d like to highlight the mental health benefits.

  • Reduces Stress – this is an immediate benefit for most, and it has a lot to do with breathing techniques involved in yoga. The stretching in yoga also helps relieve stress in the body, such as muscle aches by lengthening and contracting.
  • Relieves Anxiety – another immediate benefit for most and also has a lot to do with breathing techniques. Introversion is highly promoted in yoga, redirecting the mind to some aspect of the body or, for others, the environment.
  • Improves Quality of Life – reducing stress and anxiety will already enhance one’s quality of life. Reduction in these areas allows room for mental clarity, which may promote creativity and better problem-solving.
  • Fights Depression – because of the breathing techniques in yoga and the body’s physical movement, this promotes the production of serotonin. Serotonin is involved in mood, happiness, and many other processes in the body and brain.
  • Promotes Introspection – introspection is looking inward. Yoga promotes introspection in many ways, such as listening to your breath, head-to-toe body scans, and giving yourself positive affirmations or setting goals.
  • Promotes Sleep Quality – yoga can transform the body in just one session if the person can fully immerse themselves. Imagine how well you might sleep with less stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as feel good about yourself and have set new goals. Then imagine doing that experience over and over with each yoga practice. Sounds pretty awesome.
  • Increases Mental Strength – with each practice comes new challenges, whether trying to go upside-down, holding a pose for much longer than before, or just feeling like the practice is difficult. You still get through it! What the body feels, the mind also feels, and vice versa. So when the body gets more robust, the mind does too.
  • Introduces Positivity – Positivity isn’t just being happy, super agreeable, and smiling all the time. It’s optimism, yet realism. It’s less neuroticism, more balance. It’s acknowledging challenges and working through them so they don’t rest heavily on your shoulders. It’s having hobbies and being creative. It’s being able to be in the driver’s seat of your emotions.

Have feedback, thoughts, or want to share how exercise affects your mental health, let me know in the comments below!

Per this blog’s disclaimer, statements made here are not for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All the information contained in this blog is for educational and informational use only.

Published by coachelda

Hi, I’m Elda! Personal Trainer, Powerlifting Coach, Full-Time Psychology Student...when my head is not in books, I will use this blog to share my love of exercise, exploring positive mental health practices, and other favorites with you.

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