The purpose of yoga has always been to connect the mind to the body. That is what the Buddhists had in mind thousands of years ago. Even then, it was clear that when the mind and body work as one, the self becomes healthier, more aware, and is able function at a higher level.
But how exactly are the mind and body connected? People who are aware of their thoughts and feelings are better able to cope with stress and life’s adversities. They form better and healthier relationships. Ultimately, they believe in their ability to succeed.
We all face setbacks. It’s how we handle them that makes the difference.
Emotional wellbeing is rarely a constant, however. Unexpected events can lead to depression, anxiety, stress, and confusion.
Losing a job, physical injury, the death or injury of someone we love, or the end of a relationship can cause emotional upheaval. Even good events, such as a new home, marriage, or new job can cause anxiety as we face the unknown.
When our mind experiences turmoil, the body immediately responds. As if you needed a reminder, the body is there to tell you that all is not well. The body does that in a number of ways, such as developing high blood pressure, an ulcer, insomnia, etc. These symptoms are all physical manifestations of an anxious mind. Whether we realize it or not, the mind and body work as a team.
So, where does yoga come into play?
As yoga increases our mental awareness, we become more aware of underlying emotions and thoughts. That allows us to express and acknowledge them rather than keeping them buried and allowing them to fester. Appropriately expressing negative emotions allows us to deal with them and put them behind us.
When we deal effectively with negativity, we are able to acknowledge the more positive aspects of our lives. Sometimes, we can become so overwhelmed, we no longer see anything good or positive, even if it is all around us. Yoga provides that necessarybalance. Yes, work can be stressful, but we see that there is more to our lives than that. This is a healthy outlook that boosts the overall quality of our life when we need it.
A healthy mind/body connection provides us with the ability to cope with adversity as we become more resilient. Resilience is a skill that can be learned and developed. It prevents us from being victims of circumstances and gives us greater control over our lives. We can strengthen our resilience through relaxation and developing a calmer outlook.
Both yoga and meditation are invaluable tools for taking greater control over our thoughts, feelings, and our life in general. When we are in control, we sleep better, eat healthier, and connect with others on a higher level.
Our emotional health invariably affects our immune system, as we will see in another chapter. A weakened immune system can leave the body vulnerable to colds, inflammations, and infections.
The myriad of ways that the mind impacts the body became clearer during the 20th century, when repeated studies reveal how stress and emotions can become inevitably linked and connected. Thankfully, modern physicians are taking a more integrated approach to their patients’ health. More are recommending yoga and meditation not only for stress, but for cardiovascular diseases, all well.
Discuss the overall benefits of yoga with your doctor. Whenever the state of your mental and physical health, it can always be enhanced.