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The Mental and Physical Benefits of Yoga Therapy

Yoga has been practiced for centuries. Many people see yoga as a stretching exercise designed to provide strength and flexibility to the physical body. But yoga is far more than that. Developed from the Indian culture, Yoga was intended to bring together the mind and the body. The word Yoga itself means “unite,” and the movements involved in yoga are created to unite one to their inner self, providing greater clarity, self-awareness and peace.

Yoga has been recognized as a valid therapy for many physical ailments. Because intense concentration and controlled breathing are part of the practice of yoga, participants are able to regulate and alter their body temperature, blood pressure, and often even their pain thresholds. The meditative quality of yoga provides deep relaxation and has been shown to reduce symptoms of many different mental health issues as well, including anxiety, depression and stress.

The Physical Benefits of Yoga

Yoga can be performed individually or in groups. The movements of yoga are precise and require practice to master. A yoga teacher, or a guru, is a great guide to introduce you to the many different positions and disciplines of yoga. Initially, a person may only be able to accomplish the most basic yoga movements. But in time, they will develop improved flexibility and strength and will be able to incorporate more intense movements and positions.

Many physical ailments can be addressed with yoga. People who suffer from joint pain or arthritis find yoga to be very helpful because it can be done with very little impact. By holding the movements and controlling breathing, a person is able to lower their blood pressure and heart rate. This is especially effective for people with heart conditions. Because yoga increases blood circulation, it is also very helpful in reducing painful varicose veins. The stretching required from yoga has been shown to help people who suffer from back, neck or hip pain.

The Psychological Benefits of Yoga

Yoga therapy is widely recognized as an effective complementary treatment for many mental health issues. The controlled breathing and intense focus required in yoga enable someone suffering from depression to redirect their attention away from negative and harmful thoughts. It provides a sense of peace and can reduce anxious feelings that often accompany depression.

People who have post-traumatic stress symptoms have been known to experience the benefits of yoga as well. In several studies, veterans and others with PTSD have seen a significant decrease of symptoms after practicing yoga for several weeks. The calming moves cause lower amounts of cortisol to be released, thus decreasing stressful symptoms.

Many people who engage in yoga discover the root of problems that have been plaguing them for years. Yoga involves uniting the mind and body, and the inner and outer self. By embarking on this amazing journey of self-discovery, issues that have caused physical and mental distress can be revealed, opening up the path for wellness and healing.

Yoga is practiced in many different forms. It is recommended that someone work with a licensed yoga therapist when they begin their path of enlightenment through yoga.

About Author Jennifer Wilson :

Jennifer Wilson is a professional copywriter with special focus on mental health issues. You can visit her site to <a href="" target="_blank">find a therapist</a> in your area.

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Article Added on Saturday, July 9, 2011
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