People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years to help bring harmony to their bodies and minds. It’s said to have originated in India, but is now enjoyed throughout the U.S. and around the world for both physical and spiritual growth.
There are several types of yoga, but most styles incorporate a variety of physical postures, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques. Some of the most common types of yoga today include:
Hatha yoga is often recommended for beginners because it’s a slower paced practice that focuses on the basics. It’s a great opportunity to learn about breathwork, meditation, and supportive posture.
Offered at most yoga studios, vinyasa invites people to flow from one pose to the next. Vinyasa prioritizes breathing control and tends to move at a quicker pace than some other types of yoga.
Kundalini is a more spiritual—less physical—form of yoga that is ideal for anyone who is looking to reconnect with their inner self. It incorporates meditation, dynamic breathing, and chanting.
Mental health benefits of yoga
Regularly practicing yoga has been shown to reduce symptoms of certain mental health conditions. Some of the leading benefits of yoga are that it helps:
- Promote relaxation
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Improve emotional regulation
- Increase mental clarity and self-awareness
- Improve sleep
Mindfulness is defined as the ability to be fully present in the current moment. When a person practices mindfulness, they focus solely on what they’re doing without distraction or self-judgment.
Mindfulness is considered to be a popular form of meditation because it helps people to remain in the present moment in any situation. With mindfulness, you gain the ability to sit with your thoughts, emotions, and feelings and then let them pass without judgment.
Mental health benefits of mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness are similar to other types of meditation. Mindfulness helps people to:
- Be fully present in the moment
- Reduce stress
- Increase focus, awareness, and clarity
- Gain insight
- Show more compassion for others
- Manage urges and cravings
Meditation is another technique that’s been used for centuries to help people find a sense of calm, connection, and inner peace. Today, it’s largely seen as a tool for relaxation and stress relief.
There are different types of meditation, but most techniques encourage a person to relax their breathing, focus their attention, and maintain an open mind. Meditation can occur in group settings or it can be done alone—allowing each person to practice how they want, when they want, and where they want.
There are multiple types of meditation, but some of the most common techniques today include:
- Guided meditation
Sometimes called visualization, this type of meditation invites people to create mental images of places or situations that they find relaxing. It’s often led by a guide, and relies on sights, smells, sounds, and textures.
- Mantra meditation
Mantra meditation utilizes repetition to clear the mind and ward off distracting thoughts. With this technique, a person will repeat a calming word, phrase, or sound (like “om”) to experience a deeper level of awareness. This tends to be a good method for people who find it easier to focus on a word than on their breathwork.
- Transcendental meditation
Commonly known as TM, this is considered to be an approachable form of meditation that uses mantras but requires less concentration or effort. Most people practice TM twice per day—once around breakfast and then around dinner—for 15-20 minutes each.
Mental health benefits of meditation
Some of the leading benefits of meditation are that it helps people to:
- Manage stress and anxiety
- Increase self-awareness
- Focus on the present
- Improve concentration
- Reduce negative emotions
- Increase patience and understanding
- Lower resting heart rate and resting blood pressure
Giving wellness practices a chance
Wellness techniques like yoga and meditation likely won’t replace psychotherapy or medication, but they can certainly complement these more traditional forms of treatment. Practicing yoga or meditation prepares people to better cope with current mental health problems, as well prevent more serious complications in the future.
Although effective, these techniques do require concentration and repetition which can be challenging—especially at first. If you’re considering adding a wellness technique to your treatment plan, speak with your therapist for advice on how to make the process as easy as possible. Certain techniques work better for certain people, so set yourself up for success by having the knowledge and resources to begin this leg of your healing journey.
Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation at Charlie Health
Charlie Health is committed to creating an unparalleled, multi-pronged approach to care for teens and their families. If you think that you might benefit from an individualized mental health treatment plan, reach out to learn more today.