The Mind — Body Connect Will Make You Healthy
As a yoga instructor and a lifelong student of the age old system, I am always curious to examine the impacts of yoga on the mind and the body. More generally I find it fascinating how the mind and body are connected and how the health and wellbeing of one has a direct connection with the health and wellbeing of the other!
The mind–body connect is real and palpable
Can a memory give you goose bumps? Could the thought of a particularly superlative meal make your mouth water? Superficially, this is the mind impacting the body and causing it to respond in certain ways.
There are other ways the working of the mind and the body are connected to each other. Take stress for instance. Overwork and stress can have some very real, physical impacts and lead to muscle pain, indigestion, high blood pressure, headaches, hormonal changes and the physical manifestations born out of those hormonal changes.
The reverse is also true — our physical health can and does impact our moods and mental wellbeing. For instance a heart condition could make a person anxious, listless and depressed. This in turn could impact how well one manages or treats their heart condition. It is easy to see how the mind and the body are interconnected; inextricable so.
It is clear that ill health of the mind negatively impacts the health of the body and vice versa. The good news is that the reverse is true as well.
The positive impacts of the mind-body connect
I have noticed that people who have a positive world view tend to be in better health. There is research to indicate that this works at more than one level. On the face of it, a positive, constructive outlook on life could help one handle a medical condition or chronic pain better simply because they refuse to be cowed by their physical problems and are hopeful of being able to overcome these.
Additionally, research also shows that the brain produces hormones that can help to heal, reduce pain and guard against infection and disease. Specific mental states could result in the production of certain specific hormones to produce physical impacts. If doctors advise their patients to develop a positive attitude, this isn’t just about having a good bedside manner. Positivity could actually trigger the production of certain natural healing chemicals in the body. As of now we don’t even understand fully how the mind-body connect works. I suspect we will only find more evidence of this as we delve further into the subject.
This is what will make you feel good physically and emotionally
In my experience as a yogi and a teacher of yoga, yoga has positive impacts on both the mind and body. In fact yoga is the perfect example of an activity that produces positive impacts on the mind as well as the body. As the body performs specific ‘aasans’ (yogic positions or exercises) along with the correct breathing techniques, these improve the tensile strength of the muscles, correct posture, enhance body balance and also improve the working of the body’s internal organs.
The capacity of the lungs improves, the digestive system starts to function more effectively and the overall health improves because of better oxygenation of the body’s organs. As your physical health and overall strength improves this is bound to have a positive impact on your mood and mental wellbeing.
In addition is the fact that the practice of yoga is physically relaxing and can be very helpful in reducing stress. Since meditation is a significant component of yoga, one can add the benefits of meditation to the many that yoga itself is known to produce. Researchers have found that meditation can help to manage and actually reduce stress and even physical pain; hence it is often recommended for cancer patients.
Meditation is seen to improve memory, focus and concentration, which can enhance work performance and productivity; yet another way that mental wellbeing increases. There is also some evidence to suggest that meditation can make one more creative and empathetic; possibly resulting in improved interpersonal relationships. Some therapists also advise the use of meditation to overcome addictions and harmful behaviors.
Clearly the mind-body connect is real. The more we understand it, the more benefit we can derive from it.
The truth about the emotional root causes of diseases
Did you know that all common ailments have an emotional root cause? That dealing with and correcting that emotion can have a significant impact on the physical recovery?
· Aches are rooted in a deep seated longing for love and to be held.
· Anemia stems from not feeling good enough.
· Asthma rises from feeling stifled and suppressed.
· Bad breath is caused by vengeful and angry thoughts.
· Chronic cough builds up over years of being unable to express oneself freely.
There’s a wealth of information about the deep seated emotional roots of common and uncommon diseases. I’ll touch upon the topic in greater detail in my next article.
Meanwhile, you can get in touch with me via Yoga Central.