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How Yoga For Mental Health Can Transform Your Wellbeing

Written by Nishant Garund
Medically Reviewed by Dr.Varuni Agarwal

Dr. Varuni Agarwal is an esteemed Ayurvedic physician specializing in
diagnosing diseases through Ayurvedic dosha imbalances and providing personalized treatments. She focuses on ahara (diet) and vihara (lifestyle) to manage and heal various ailments.

How Yoga For Mental Health Can Transform Your Wellbeing

Feeling overwhelmed by the daily grind? Like stress, depression, and anxiety are your unwanted roommates? You’re not alone. In our fast-paced world, mental health takes a beating. But what if there was a natural way to hit the reset button, ditch the pills, and find peace within yourself?

‘Yoga for mental health’, yes you read that right! It’s more than just fancy poses on a mat. Yoga is a powerful tool for realigning your mind, body, and spirit. In this post, we’ll explore how yoga can become your ultimate self-care buddy, boosting both your mental and physical health. We’ll uncover specific exercises for common mental health concerns, and unveil the amazing benefits you can reap from a regular practice.

How Yoga Benefits Your Mind and Body: Importance of Yoga For Mental and Physical Health 

Forget the latest workout trends– yoga has been a “secret key” to well-being for centuries. But why? It’s all about connection. Yoga unites your mind, body, and spirit, fostering a sense of focus and control over your entire being. It’s a one-stop shop for holistic health, addressing your mental, physical, and even spiritual needs.

Mental Benefits: Daily yoga practice can be your gateway to inner peace. Studies show it enhances mental clarity and calmness, and boosts awareness and concentration, while effectively relieving chronic stress and anxiety. Think of it as a detox – yoga for mental health helps you manage your thoughts, preventing overthinking and the worries that keep you up at night. It’s a natural mood booster, acting as an anti-depressant and anxiety reliever. Plus, yoga stimulates brain function and promotes better sleep, allowing you to truly recharge.

Physical Benefits: Don’t be fooled by the serene poses – yoga can be just as rigorous as your gym routine, but with the added benefit of relaxation. The calming techniques employed in yoga help reduce muscle tension, headaches, back pain, and even nerve pain. It acts as a natural pain reliever and can even regulate blood pressure, potentially correcting insomnia. Think long-term health too – yoga helps prevent heart disease by managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also aids in weight loss through different physical poses. It also improves your flexibility, balance, and mobility, making you feel more limber and agile. And let’s not forget strength! Yoga builds muscle strength while reducing chronic pain. Finally, yogic breathing, or pranayama, improves your respiratory system by teaching you to control your breaths, increasing your lung capacity.

Yoga For Physical Health


Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health 

With over 300 million practitioners worldwide, yoga isn’t just a trend – it’s a time-tested practice for uniting mind and body. Many seek yoga for its profound impact on mental well-being. Here’s how yoga can benefit you:

  • Boost Happiness: Yoga elevates your heart rate and stimulates brain function, promoting the release of mood-lifting chemicals. It’s a natural mood booster!
  • Combat Depression: Studies suggest yoga can be as effective as some therapies in managing depression. It acts as a natural anti-depressant, helping regulate your mood.
  • Sleep Soundly: Yoga promotes relaxation and stress reduction, paving the way for better sleep.
  • Embrace Healthy Habits: Yoga fosters a holistic lifestyle, encouraging healthy habits that benefit both mind and body.

Yoga Poses For Mental Health 

While yoga offers a variety of physical benefits, specific poses can target mental well-being. Gentle forward bends, like a child’s pose (balasana), encourage relaxation and release tension. Invigorating inversions, like downward-facing dogs (adho mukha svanasana), can boost mood and energy. Breathwork, incorporated into every pose, focuses the mind and promotes calmness. Regularly practising these poses can become a powerful tool for managing stress, anxiety, and even depression.

Yoga Poses To Combat Stress: Mental Health Yoga Poses For Stress Relief 

Stress can creep into our lives in many ways, beyond just sweaty palms and a racing heart. It can disrupt our daily routines, make us susceptible to illness, and take a toll on our overall well-being. This feeling often arises from uncertainty. When we dwell on uncontrollable consequences, it can lead to overwhelming emotions. While stress may not be eliminated, it can be effectively managed through yoga.

Similar to other forms of exercise, yoga promotes the production of endorphins – hormones crucial for happiness, health, and a sense of calm. Endorphins, released during any form of exercise, play a key role in managing physical pain and negative emotions.

Here are some beginner-friendly yoga poses to help you combat stress:

1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana) with Optional Forward Fold:

This simple pose is perfect for both beginners and seasoned practitioners. Sukhasana is a therapeutic posture that calms the mind and reduces anxiety.

How To Do It?

  •      Sit comfortably on your mat with your legs crossed, and right shin/foot resting in front of the left.
  •     After a few moments, slowly bend forward as far as feels comfortable, extending your arms out in front of you. 
  •      Hold the forward fold for five breaths before returning to the starting position.
  •     Switch legs and repeat.
Sukhasana Pose For Mental Health Wellbeing


2. Child’s Pose (Balasana):

A child’s pose is ideal for quieting a cluttered mind and promoting relaxation in the adrenal glands, located above the kidneys. Excessive stress can put a strain on these glands, leading to burnout. This pose allows you to reconnect with your inner child, hence its name.

How To Do It?

  •      Begin on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels with your hands extended in front of you.
  •      Gently fold forward until your forehead rests on the mat.
  •      Bring your big toes together and adjust your knees for comfort, whether together or separately.
  •    Traditionally, your arms rest alongside your body. However, you can stack your hands and rest your head on your forearms, or extend your arms forward.
  •      Hold this pose for at least ten breaths.

By incorporating these poses into your routine, you can harness the power of yoga to manage stress and cultivate a sense of peace within yourself.

Balasana Pose For Mental Health Wellbeing


3. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana):

This pose fosters tranquillity and balances your nervous system. It lengthens the hamstrings, calves, hips, and back, alleviating stress and fatigue. It even stimulates the liver and kidneys, potentially reducing headaches and insomnia.

How To Do It? 

  •     Begin standing tall. Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward from your hips, reaching your hands towards the floor in front of your feet. Engage your core and exhale as you fold. 
  •     Shift your weight onto the balls of your feet for better balance. If your hamstrings feel tight, keep a slight bend in your knees to avoid straining your lower back. Otherwise, lengthen through your spine as much as feels comfortable, keeping your weight on the balls of your feet.
  •     Gently clasp your elbows with opposite hands. Soften your jaw, neck, and around your eyes. Clear your mind and focus on your breath. 
  •     Hold for 5 breaths, then slowly return to standing.
Uttasana Pose For Mental Health Wellbeing


4. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana):

Cat Pose, also known as Marjaryasana, is another excellent stress reliever. It enhances spinal flexibility and mobility while promoting emotional balance.

How To Do It?

  •      Start on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart. 
  •     As you exhale, arch your back towards the ceiling, drawing your navel inwards. Tuck your chin towards your chest and gaze upwards. Imagine lengthening your spine. 
  •      Inhale and return to a neutral spine position, looking forward with a relaxed neck. 
  •      Repeat this movement for 10 repetitions, flowing with your breath. 
Marjyasana Pose For Mental Health Wellbeing


5. Corpse Pose (Savasana):

Corpse Pose, or Savasana is often the final pose in a yoga sequence. It’s considered the most restorative part of the practice. This pose fosters a sense of physical and emotional grounding, promoting deep relaxation throughout the body.

How To Do It?

  •      Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides with palms facing upwards.
  •     Close your eyes, soften your face, and focus on deep, even breaths.
  •     Allow your mind to become still. Imagine releasing tension from each part of your body, starting from the top of your head and working your way down to your toes. 
  •     Hold for 3-5 minutes, allowing yourself to completely surrender to relaxation.

By incorporating these poses into your practice, you can harness the power of yoga for mental health to combat stress and cultivate inner peace.

Savasana Pose For Mental Health Wellbeing


Mental Health Yoga For Depression 

Yoga for mental health has become a powerful tool for managing symptoms of depression.  This practice offers a holistic approach, combining physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation to promote relaxation and emotional well-being.  Specific yoga poses can target areas of tension that often arise with depression, such as Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) which fosters strength and stability or the energizing backbends of Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana).  Regular yoga practice can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and increase feelings of self-compassion, making it a valuable addition to a comprehensive treatment plan for depression.


Yoga for mental health offers a wealth of benefits, from stress reduction to improved mood and emotional regulation. By incorporating these practices into your routine, you can cultivate a sense of inner peace and well-being. Remember, yoga is a journey, not a destination. Be patient with yourself, listen to your body, and enjoy the process of connecting your mind and body through movement and breath. With consistent practice, you’ll discover the transformative power of yoga for mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q.1 Why yoga is good for mental health? 

Yoga not only helps in reducing and managing stress but also helps in releasing ‘feel good’ hormones in the body that help in uplifting your mental health. 

Q.2 How to do yoga for mental health? 

Yoga for mental health can be a very powerful tool and it can only show results when done consistently. Starting with gentle poses, focusing on breathing, and incorporating relaxation poses can help in releasing tension. 

Q.3 Which yoga is good for mental health?

Several yoga styles are particularly well-suited for mental health. Basic postures or asanas, breathing techniques or pranayama can help in providing you relaxation. 

Q.4 How is yoga beneficial for mental health? 

Regular yoga can help in providing mental clarity, and calmness, increase body awareness and help in incorporating healthy habits, along with focusing concentration.