Call Us Message Us

Therapeutic Yoga

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice rooted in Indian philosophy at least 3,000 years old. From the root word “yuj” in Sanskrit, Yoga means unity or “to unite.” Ancient Hindu texts mention yoga as a practice to control the body and, thereby, the mind, and this is part of the union which is being referred to. The unity between mind and body and man’s harmony with his fellows, nature, and all of creation. For our purposes, yoga is a handy tool for healing.

The benefits of yoga have been thoroughly researched and well documented. As an evidence-based therapeutic activity, it is part of The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center’s wellness-centered curriculum. At its core, yoga consists of exercises and positions for stretching and strengthening the body, improving circulation and muscle tone, and even stimulating the production of hormones and endorphins. There is much more to yoga than simply the exercises, but we will focus on the physical aspects of our program.

>What Is Yoga?

Therapeutic Yoga Is an Evidence-Based Practice

Yoga has long been recognized as beneficial to physical health, but it has also been shown to improve mental health and contribute to a sense of balance and well-being. It delivers a combination of benefits that perhaps no other single exercise can. It fits wonderfully into a mental health treatment environment because it provides gentle but effective exercise accessible to almost anyone of any age or level of physical ability. More than that, it is calming and centering, which is especially helpful to people receiving treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.

Therapeutic yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety, one of the most common symptoms faced by people with either mental health or substance use disorders. The breathing exercises in therapeutic yoga, such as pranayama, have clear benefits for relaxation. Yoga philosophy teaches that the body’s physical age is tied to the spine’s flexibility, and scientific evidence supports this notion. Yoga is as safe and low-impact as it gets, but it can also be strenuous enough to be all the exercise a person needs. A look at the physique of any serious, long-time yoga practitioner will tell you that before you even have had a chance to review the stacks of empirical data on the subject.


Specific Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress hormones like cortisol and even increase GABA levels naturally, contributing to calm and well-being. The American Psychological Association has recognized it as a sound, evidence-based practice. Practicing yoga outside of a treatment setting is often a communal classroom activity that offers opportunities to meet other wellness-minded individuals to help build a healthy social circle. As a hobby or devotion, yoga seems uniquely suited to people focused on healing the body or the mind (or both). There’s no wonder why it is so heartily recommended by doctors and therapists across the country and around the world.

Yoga improves physical health by:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing stress-related muscle tension
  • Improving digestion and elimination
  • Relieving chronic pain
  • Improving sleep

Yoga improves mental health by:

  • Producing GABA, which enhances calm and relaxation
  • Improving the mind-body connection
  • Raising awareness of body position and posture
  • Improving focus and consciousness
  • Improving sleep health
  • Reducing anxiety
>Specific Benefits of Yoga

Chronic Pain Is Helped By Therapeutic Yoga

Another benefit of therapeutic yoga is that it is helpful in pain management. A 2020 report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality evaluated ten studies of therapeutic yoga for back pain (involving 1,520 total participants) and found that yoga reduced pain and function in both the short-term (1 to 6 months) and intermediate-term (6 to 12 months).

The effects of therapeutic yoga were similar to those of exercise. Therapeutic yoga has also reduced chronic or episodic headaches, neck pain, and even osteoarthritis. Not only do the health benefits help reduce inflammation and chronic pain, but reducing chronic pain provides obvious benefits to mental health.


Mental Health

Get Help Today

Substance Abuse

Get Help Today

Recent Posts

Mental Health Getting Infusion of State Funds

Read More

How To Tell Your Employer You Need Time Off For Detox Treatment

Read More

Election Time Disorder – What Campaigns Can Do for, and To, You

Read More

Monitoring Candidates on Mental Health Access is Taking a Bit of Juggling

Read More