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15 Best Types of Yoga for Mental Health

Written by Samantha Carter

Yoga has long been celebrated for its physical benefits, but its positive impact on mental health is equally profound. Many people are turning to yoga as a holistic approach to mental wellness. From trauma release to gentle relaxation, various types of yoga practices can cater to different mental health needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore why and how yoga is so impactful to mental health, as well as the 15 best types of yoga to support mental wellness.

The Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health

People began studying yoga’s impact on mental health in the early 20th century. Since then, a growing body of research has indicated yoga’s profound benefits for mental health. Yoga continues to emerge as a valuable tool for promoting emotional wellbeing and managing mental health conditions. It’s clear to understand why by exploring the following advantages.

Stress Reduction and Relaxation

One of the most well-documented benefits of yoga for mental health is its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Studies have shown that regular yoga practice can lower levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, and induce a state of physiological and psychological calmness.

Anxiety and Depression Management

Yoga has also been shown to be effective in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially in women. One study found that depression, anxiety, and stress decreased significantly for women who underwent twelve sessions of regular hatha yoga. The research concluded that yoga may serve as a valuable adjunctive treatment for individuals with anxiety and depression, offering a safe and accessible means of improving mood and emotional wellbeing.

Improved Mood and Emotional Regulation

Regular yoga practice has been linked to improved mood regulation and emotional resilience. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford found that participants who practised yoga reported greater emotional stability, enhanced self-awareness, and increased feelings of happiness and contentment. The findings suggest that yoga may help individuals develop greater emotional intelligence and coping skills, thereby reducing the risk of mood disorders and enhancing overall mental wellbeing.

Enhanced Mindfulness and Self-Awareness

Yoga encourages mindfulness, the practice of being fully present and attentive to the present moment. By focusing on breath awareness, body sensations, and movement, yoga cultivates a heightened sense of self-awareness and inner peace. Research has found that yoga interventions are associated with improvements in mindfulness and self-compassion, as well as reductions in rumination and negative thought patterns. These findings suggest that yoga may offer valuable tools for cultivating greater resilience and well-being in the face of stress and adversity.

Promotion of Sleep Quality

Sleep disturbances are common among individuals with mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Yoga has been shown to promote better sleep quality and alleviate insomnia symptoms. Research findings suggest that yoga may serve as a non-pharmacological approach to improving sleep patterns and promoting overall mental wellness.

Clearly, yoga offers a wealth of benefits to individuals seeking to improve their mental well-being and overall quality of life. Still, it’s important to understand the different kinds of yoga in order to choose the practice that will be most beneficial to you. Below we’ve listed 15 of the best types of yoga practices for mental health so that you can better understand where to start.

1. Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga, also known as gentle yoga, is a beginner-friendly practice that focuses on physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama). It promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and increases body awareness, making it an excellent choice for those seeking mental calmness and clarity.

Suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels, gentle yoga is an ideal choice for those seeking a nurturing and supportive approach to their practice. The emphasis is on relaxation, stress reduction, and gentle stretching, rather than strenuous physical exertion or fitness.

2. Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic and fluid practice that synchronises movement with breath. It offers a cardiovascular workout while also calming the mind through continuous flow and mindful breathing. Vinyasa yoga can help reduce anxiety, improve focus, and enhance overall mental wellbeing.

3. Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga involves passive, supported poses that are held for extended periods of time, allowing the body and mind to deeply relax and unwind. It promotes stress relief, emotional healing, and a sense of inner calm, making it ideal for those dealing with anxiety, depression, or trauma. In restorative yoga classes, practitioners use props such as bolsters, blankets, and blocks to support the body in gentle, comfortable poses, allowing the body to release tension and fully unwind.

4. Yin Yoga

Yin yoga focuses on deep stretching and long-held poses targeting the connective tissues and joints. It encourages surrender and acceptance, helping release tension, increase flexibility, and cultivate mindfulness. Yin yoga can be particularly beneficial for easing symptoms of anxiety and promoting emotional balance.

5. Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga combines dynamic movements, breathwork, chanting, and meditation to awaken the Kundalini energy which is associated with the base of the spine. It promotes spiritual growth, emotional healing, and stress reduction, offering a powerful tool for managing mood disorders and improving mental resilience.

6. Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga consists of a sequence of 26 postures practised in a heated room, promoting detoxification, flexibility, and mental focus. The intense physical practice can help alleviate symptoms of depression, boost mood, and increase self-confidence.

7. Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga emphasises proper alignment, precision, and props to support proper posture and body mechanics. It promotes stability, balance, and concentration, making it beneficial for reducing anxiety, improving concentration, and enhancing body awareness.

8. Trauma-Informed Yoga

Trauma-informed yoga integrates mindfulness, breathwork, and gentle movement to create a safe and supportive environment for individuals with trauma histories. It focuses on empowerment, self-regulation, and healing, providing tools for managing PTSD symptoms and promoting resilience.

9. Somatic Yoga

Somatic yoga emphasises internal awareness and sensory exploration to release tension and restore balance in the body and mind. It combines gentle movements, breath awareness, and mindfulness practices to foster relaxation, emotional integration, and stress relief, focusing on self-discovery, rather than achieving external poses or postures. Somatic yoga can offer a range of benefits for mental health, including stress relief, emotional integration, body awareness, trauma healing, and more.

10. Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a guided relaxation practice that induces a state of deep relaxation and conscious awareness. It promotes restful sleep, stress reduction, and emotional healing, making it an effective tool for managing anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

11. Chair Yoga

Chair yoga adapts traditional yoga poses for individuals with mobility issues or limited range of motion. It improves flexibility, strength, and relaxation, offering accessible mental health benefits for people of all ages and abilities.

12. Power Yoga

Power yoga is a vigorous and dynamic practice that builds strength, endurance, and mental resilience through fast-paced sequences and challenging poses. It boosts mood, increases energy levels, and enhances mental focus, making it an effective tool for managing stress and promoting overall wellbeing.

13. Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga follows a specific sequence of postures linked together with breath, providing a structured and disciplined practice. It builds physical strength, mental discipline, and emotional resilience, offering a transformative experience for those seeking self-awareness and personal growth.

14. Acro Yoga

Acro yoga combines acrobatics, yoga, and Thai massage to promote trust, communication, and connection with others. It fosters teamwork, community, and joy, offering a unique opportunity for social support and emotional wellbeing.

15. Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga combines laughter exercises, yogic breathing, and playful movement to cultivate joy, laughter, and positivity. It reduces stress, boosts mood, and strengthens the immune system, providing a fun and uplifting way to improve mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Yoga as Holistic Mental Healthcare

Yoga is just one holistic approach to mental healthcare, complementing traditional treatments such as therapy, psychiatry, and lifestyle changes. Other alternative therapies can also play a vital role in supporting mental health and wellbeing.

Alternative Holistic Approaches to Mental Healthcare

Below are just a few of the many different types of alternative mental health approaches you can try under the guidance of a trained professional.

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS)

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) is a non-invasive brain therapy that has been shown to effectively treat depression and other mood disorders. Research indicates that dTMS may induce changes in neural circuits associated with mood regulation, leading to sustained improvements in depressive symptoms. Additionally, the treatment is generally well-tolerated with minimal side effects.

Ketamine-Assisted Healing

Ketamine-assisted therapy is gaining attention as a promising treatment for depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. Ketamine-assisted therapy involves controlled administration of low-dose ketamine in company with a licensed mental health professional and is known to result in rapid alleviation of depressive symptoms, causing positive changes in neurochemistry, increased neuroplasticity, and enhanced mood regulation.

Nutritional Therapy

Nutrition plays a crucial role in mental health, allowing individuals to optimise their diet and lifestyle to support their mental wellbeing.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can promote relaxation, reduce stress, and alleviate physical tension, supporting overall mental and emotional wellbeing.

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and other mindfulness practices can help individuals cultivate present-moment awareness and reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.

By integrating these holistic approaches into a mental health care routine, individuals can better support their overall wellbeing to cultivate greater resilience, balance, and vitality in their lives.

Say Yes to Yoga

Whether you’re looking to reduce stress, manage anxiety, or cultivate emotional wellness, there’s a yoga practice to suit your needs. Start with a free at-home class on YouTube or check out an in-person session you’d like to try. By incorporating yoga into your routine and exploring different styles, you can tap into the transformative power of this ancient practice and experience the profound benefits it can have on your mental health and wellbeing.

Yoga, Traditional & Alternative Therapies at All Points North London

If you were hoping for a magical place where you could work on all these aspects of your mental health in congruence, you’re in luck with All Points North London! Not only do they offer all the different types of alternative and traditional mental health therapies mentioned in this article, but they also offer yoga classes for mental wellbeing. If you’re interested in learning more about All Points North and their mental health services call 0203 984 7699 or complete the online contact form today.

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