After reviewing the many benefits that yoga has on our body at the physical level, we set out to summarize the advantages that the usual practice generally involves at the mental level. Below we review some of the benefits generally agreed upon among the scientific community.
Increases the feeling of happiness and motivation
As with other physical activities, science has shown that yoga helps to release endorphins, hormones that make us feel better. In this sense, some research has shown that the regular practice of yoga helps patients with clinical depression to significantly reduce their episodes of anxiety and depression.
When we practice yoga, the dopamine and oxytocin levels rise, substances directly involved in our sense of happiness, which in turn helps us feel more relaxed and prepared to better manage any stressful situation that comes our way.
The synchronization of asanas with breathing and the exercises of pranayama and meditation contribute to increase the capacity for concentration and mental agility, according to studies based on the execution of mental challenges after the practice of yoga.
Already discussed in the post dedicated to physical benefits, it is worthwhile to highlight the intimate relationship that exists between the practice of yoga and the reduction of cortisol in our brain, a hormone linked to stress and nervous states. Even after a single yoga session, samples have been taken that show a reduction in cortisol levels.
Increases memory and learning ability
Some research argue that after a sustained practice for months the density of gray matter in the hippocampus of the brain increases, a tissue associated with the processing of information, that is, with the function of reasoning.
In the opinion of the researchers, the density of this part of the mind leads to increase our awareness and improve both our memory and the ability to learn.
It pushes us to be more aware
This is surely the decisive and most important benefit of the practice of yoga and that what makes this discipline a science of life that goes far beyond physical activity. Unquestionably, many centers sell yoga as a consumer product that will give us attributes that we lack to be happier: health, strength, flexibility, balance, physical attractiveness, fame, invulnerability, efficiency, safety and a long etcetera.
However, and although it is true that yoga provides or awakens many new virtues, we prefer to focus on an approach that looks towards self-knowledge, towards connection with oneself and, finally, towards the acceptance of life as it is.
Thus, you can also see yoga as a practice that will take things away or that will make you discover many things for yourself. For example, it can help you discover that perhaps you have never really looked inside and that maybe you do not like what you see the first time you do. That you strive to achieve things that you may have never even considered you needed, that there are questions you are afraid to ask, that perhaps you are much more vulnerable than you would like, that you have weak points that you keep hiding without it being necessary, that compassion is the only true form of love that exists or that you can find absolute fulfillment in the simple fact of existing.