top of page

Yoga And Your Brain - How do they relate, and how can Yoga help your mental health?

"Yoga" is not a foreign concept these days. It has been on the rise for years now, and we all have a friend or coworker who we lovingly refer to as a 'yogi', who probably is very zen and healthy, and who's entire existence revolves around making sure they get their meditation time in every day.

Often times, it's sort of been brushed off as a 'hippy' activity - namely because in the early 1960's, Americans like Richard Hittleman and Lilias Folan (the "First Lady of Yoga") began to televise a more approachable (and do-able) version of yoga to a much wider audience. That, added with the uptick in peace, love, and happiness, and we saw yoga really starting to taking off.

But what is yoga?

Yoga, in it's origination, is a Hindu spiritual discipline. It includes aspects of breath control and meditation while posing your body in very specific postures. The entire purpose is to align body and mind, providing harmony to a person's life. A connection between mind and body, and body and earth - the origination of the word 'yoga' comes from Sanskrit root 'yuj', which means 'union' or 'connection', and the affects that it can have on your mental health prove it's original intention still holds true today.

Yoga can have a lot of positive effects on a person's wellbeing. Take the body positioning for example - practicing yoga helps with blood flow, muscle strength, and flexibility. Better blood flow and strength means that everything works better! When your body is healthy, your brain reflects that health. Doing yoga creates new connections between the cells in your brain, which can improve your cognitive functions like memory, attention, and learning. Looking at the meditation and breath work aspects as well, it is easy to see the correlation between yoga and mental health.

Remember when you were a kid, and you'd get really upset at something and your mom would tell you to just "take a deep breath"? There's a reaso