Yoga for Mental Health

Last Updated On July 29, 2021

Mental health concerns such as anxiety and sadness are becoming more widely recognized. Preventive methods and non-medicated treatments are all recommended by therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists before attempting the medication.


  1. How Does Yoga Benefit Mental Health?
  2. 10 Effective Yoga Poses to Improve Your Mental Health

How Does Yoga Benefit Mental Health?

Taking up yoga is one of the most effective lifestyle improvements you can make. Doctors usually recommend that you should try to engage in physical activity. They also encourage you to take part in meditation and dietary changes. Yoga combines two of the above three recommendations in a single move. Here are some of the numerous mental health benefits of yoga.

1. Calms the Mind

One important reason for recommending yoga by doctors is yoga poses involve sophisticated postures and breathing techniques to help calm your body as well as your mind. Most common mental problems like panic attacks and anxiety attacks can be prevented by practicing yoga poses.

2. Helps Focus

Those who have disorders like ADHD are often asked to try yoga because it helps to relax and centre the body while helping the mind focus. ADHD is a disorder that directly affects focus and attention retention, doing poses that incorporate breathing techniques and promote focus can help.

3. Improves Your Mood

Physical exercises release healthy brain chemicals like endorphins and dopamine. This helps balance your mood and combat common mental health issues like depression. Therapists recommend yoga for mental peace and concentration and to improve your mood. This is an effective way to help manage bipolar disorder which pushes your mood to extremes.

4. Helps Build Confidence

Yoga can help those suffering from self-esteem issues, a loss in confidence or self-esteem is often considered a cause for depression and anxiety. Performing yoga regularly helps centre your body and develop it slowly. It improves your confidence. The breathing in yoga also helps rid your mind of self-doubt.

5. Improves Patience

A common side-effect of disorders like anxiety, depression and bipolar is a lack of patience. This leads to uncontrolled angry outbursts. Yoga incorporates numerous breathing activities known as pranayama which help clear your body and mind. Doing these exercises will improve your patience and sense of inner balance and help prevent angry outbursts.

10 Effective Yoga Poses to Improve Your Mental Health

Performing yoga poses with no focus on mental health will not help you, it is crucial to do the poses that are focused around the issues you have, here are 10 yoga asanas for mental health.

1. Anjaneyasana

This pose is also known as “the high lunge”. Doing the crescent variation of this exercise is known to help improve your blood flow, calm your mind.

How to practice Anjaneyasana:

While standing, lunge one leg forward. Bend the front knee, make sure your knee is in line with your ankle, stretch your back leg. Press your ankle flat against the ground on both ankles. Raise your arms to the sky and connect your palms. Breathe in deeply and breathe out in an even flow. Repeat 5 times per leg.

2. Garudasana

This pose is known commonly as The Eagle Pose. This pose requires you to breathe while holding your body in balance. It helps prevent anxiety attacks while improving your focus.

How to practice Garudasana:

Breathe in deep, shift the weight of your body onto one leg. Slowly wrap one leg around the other. Sink your hips and gently bend your knees. Keep your ankle flat on the ground. Keep your breathing even and slow. Wrap one arm around the other at the elbows and wrists.

3. Natarajasana

Commonly referred to as “The Dancer’s Pose”, this asana is great for mood balancing. It can be beneficial for those who are fighting depression and anxiety.

How to practice Natarajasana:

With both legs planted on the ground, bend one knee back; using your arm, grip the ankle. Slowly keeping a steady posture, lean forward and lift your ankle towards the sky. Extend your free hand in front of you. Take 5 deep and even breaths.

4. Virabhadrasana

Commonly referred to as “The Warrior Pose”, there are numerous variations to this exercise, all of which require focus and steady breathing. We are covering the basic warrior pose.

How to Virabhadrasana:

While on two feet, spread your legs wide, turn your hips to one side, turn your ankles to the side you are facing. Bend the front leg to a 90-degree angle. Stretch your arms to your sides and breathe in deeply and evenly for 10 seconds.

5. Adho Mukha Vrksasana

This is not a pose for beginners, this asana is a basic handstand.

How to practice Adho Mukha Vrksasana;

While standing with your ankles flat on the ground, bend forward to place your palms to the ground. Ensure your back is straight as are your knees. Begin to gently shift your weight onto your arms. Slowly begin to lift one leg straight up above your hips. Then brace your weight and do it for the second leg.

6. Vajrasana

This is a meditative pose that is known to improve focus, calmness and digestion.

How to practice Vajrasana:

Slowly, begin by sitting on your knees, stretch your ankles outward, bring your thighs and calves together. Then place your palms on your knees. Breathe in and out deeply for 30 seconds to a minute.

7. Padmasana

Another basic yoga pose, possibly the hardest one. This helps your digestion, spinal strength and improves calmness of the mind and also your mood. It helps keep your anxiety and depression at bay.

How to practice Padmasana:

While sitting cross-legged, gently lift one ankle above your opposite thigh. Place it as close to the hip as possible, do the same with the other ankle. Place your palms on your knees, keep your back straight. Breathe evenly for 30 seconds.

8. Vriksasana

Commonly known as “the tree pose”, this asana is very basic and helps improve your sense of self and centres your body and mind.

How to practice Vriksasana:

While standing straight with ankles flat on the ground, lift one leg and place the ankle on the inner part of your opposite thigh. This will bend your knee outward. Balance and stretch your arms skyward and connect your palms.

9. Savasana

Known as “The Dead Body Pose”, this asana is similar to lying down to take a nap. It is extremely easy to do.

How to practice Savasana:

Lay flat on the ground, stretch your legs out. Stretch your arms beside you and let your palms face skyward. Close your eyes, maintain even breathing while your focus wanders around you. Listen to the sounds and continue breathing for 5 minutes.

10. Chakrasana

Known as the Circle Pose, this is a bit of a tricky asana but it helps your calmness and focus.

How to practice Chakrasana:

While standing, place your arms high above your head. Keeping your back straight, bend backwards. Do this slowly and till your palms reach the floor behind you. Keep your ankles firmly on the ground.

Yoga is a great way to help manage mental health, it shouldn’t be considered a solution for mental health issues. Use yoga as a supplement to therapy and if required, then medication is the best course of action. Consult your therapist for the best mental health treatment plan for you.

Photo by Elina Fairytale from Pexels

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