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Region 7 Update May 22nd, 2024
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Yoga, for Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted by on May 6th, 2024 Posted in: Blog, Newsletters, NLM Resources, Public Health, Weekly Newsletter
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Yoga offers a powerful tool for enhancing mental health and supporting recovery from substance use disorders. Its holistic approach addresses the root causes of addiction while promoting self-awareness, stress reduction, and physical well-being. Before joining the NNLM Region 7, I completed my 500 hour yoga teacher training with Kripalu Institute of Yoga and Health in the Berkshires, I’m excited to share with you tools from a practice I love, with the support of MedLine Plus and my recent experiences with the NNLM.

One of the primary ways yoga boosts mental health is through stress reduction. Any meditation practice encourages individuals to focus on the present moment, alleviating worries about the past or future. I know, what you’re thinking…meditation? I thought we were talking about yoga? Well, dear reader yoga is a form of meditation, one could also say meditation is another form of yoga! Isn’t that cool?

Meditation and mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, leading to a calmer mind and improved emotional resilience. The physical benefits of yoga also play a crucial role in mental health. Regular practice improves flexibility, strength, and balance, which can boost self-esteem and support the release of endorphins during physical activity which has been show to have mood-enhancing effects

Check out these Medline Plus Links for more articles about the effects of yoga and meditation on mental health!

Yoga: What You Need To Know 

Yoga For Health: Positioning Your Body and Mind 

Meditation and Mindfulness: What You Need to Know

Okay, so maybe you knew that yoga and meditation can be good for your mental health. But, did you know that yoga can also be a valuable adjunct therapy in the context of treating substance use disorders? Research indicates that incorporating yoga into addiction treatment programs can improve treatment outcomes by reducing cravings, enhancing emotional regulation, and increasing overall well-being.

Additionally practices such as yoga foster a sense of community and support, which is essential for individuals suffering from depression and anxiety, or who are recovering from substance use disorders. Practicing yoga in a group setting encourages social connection and provides a safe space for people to share their experiences and challenges. Not only does a yoga and meditation practice create a safe space for people to connect with each other, it can also create a safe space for people to connect with themselves, building personal resiliency. Studies show that strong community connections as well as daily movement go far in terms of maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit!

Follow these links from Medline Plus to learn more!

Mindfulness Training Can Promote Healthy Choices

Mindfulness for Your Health

Talking About Complementary and Alternative Medicine With Healthcare Providers

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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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