Remember that old song called “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes? You know the one: a fella decides he’s “tired of [his] lady” and decides to answer a personal ad in the newspaper. (Listen, online dating might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure is a heck of a lot less time-consuming than sending in ads to your local paper!)
The ad he reads lists a bunch of requirements:
If you like piña coladas
And gettin’ caught in the rain
If you’re not into yoga
If you have half a brain
If you like makin’ love at midnight
In the dunes on the cape
Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for
Write to me and escape
Most of the characteristics the writer is looking for in a lover involve things the other person likes—drinking fruity rum-based drinks, getting drenched due to a lack of an umbrella, and making love at midnight in a sandy location.
But there is one no-no on the list. If you want to get in touch with the writer of this personal ad, you can’t be into yoga. In fact, the song strongly implies that if you are into yoga, you might have less than half a brain.
We would argue that the composer of the personal ad (who, as you might recall, will turn out to be the singer’s “own lovely lady”) has it all wrong. Getting into yoga is smart because it is good for your brain—and your body, too. Put more simply: Yoga is good for your mental health.
Posing a Question About All the Posing
Maybe you are like the person in song: skeptical about yoga. You might wonder what all the posing could possibly be about. What possible benefit could there be to bending your body in all sorts of unusual ways?
It’s a fair question—and the answer has to do with the interconnectedness of your breath, your body, and your brain. Each yoga pose is intended to encourage you to stay grounded in the present moment rather than thinking about the past or the future. As you move from pose to pose, you stay in the moment rather than flashing on an argument from earlier in the day or worrying about a meeting coming up tomorrow. You are just there, breathing and posing and staying focused on the now.
If you are familiar with mindfulness practice, this might all sound pretty familiar. Mindfulness is also all about staying present and minimizing our tendency to ruminate about the past or worry about the future. The obvious difference, of course, is that mindfulness practice is generally passive while yoga practice is active.
Both yoga and mindfulness can help reduce levels of stress, which is good for your mental health. The physical nature of yoga means that it also benefits your physical health. Because our physical health is intertwined with our mental health, yoga is an excellent activity for giving both a boost.
An Additional Benefit of Yoga
Yoga has been shown to support your neuroplasticity—an important and amazing characteristic of your brain. When we repeat a behavior over and over, neural pathways are forged in our brains. Neuroplasticity provides the opportunity to change those pathways. That ability is, for example, of particular importance to someone struggling with a substance use disorder who needs to make significant changes in their life (and who, we should note, should also avoid piña coladas).
Maintaining your neuroplasticity means maintaining your ability to make positive, lasting change in your life—and practicing yoga can keep that ability strong.
Getting Into Yoga is Easy
One of the great things about yoga is that it is pretty easy to get started. You need a yoga mat and some clothes that allow you to move through the poses without restriction. Without too much effort, you can find in-person classes (likely at varying price points) or you can tune into videos or online guides. Once you get started, you may well find that you enjoy the activity—and the benefits it provides to your physical and mental health.
We’re Into Helping You Improve Your Mental Health
Peak View Behavioral Health in Colorado Springs is in the business of helping individuals improve their overall mental health and maintain that improvement over time. We understand that each person we serve is a unique individual, so we personalize treatment programs to ensure your specific needs are being met. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, a trauma-induced condition, or another mental health disorder, we can help. If you are struggling, don’t twist yourself into knots with worry. Instead, reach out to us so we can help.