Author: Randeep Singh / go to all articles on Yoga cure
Yoga for Enhanced Happiness, Asanas that Help Boost mood
Yoga for Happiness or Mood Elevation:
Mood is temporary state, disposition of the mind, the feeling called mood differs from happiness, emotions, or feeling which are comparatively more long lasting.
In general mood is viewed as having only two major variants: good mood, or bad mood. Yoga for happiness boosts the good mood of the individual.
All the other shades as more sensitive minds can delineate fall under either of these two categories. Elevated mood comes under good mood’s category and calls for some study as it can affect one’s health positively, from yoga’s angle one must understand the hormonal and physiological aspect of it.
Chemically explained mood is the state of mind which comes into existence due to the production of certain chemicals (hormones) within the body (mind) under certain circumstances. In fact the chemicals responsible for triggering a certain type of mood can be divided into neurotransmitters, and hormones.
The part of the brain which is responsible for controlling mood is known as the limbic system which is physically expressed as hippocampus, amygdala, and to some extent even hypothalamus all situated in the actual center of the brain.
Hippocampus is the center for storing memories bound to certain smells, or taste in particular. It is easy to recall certain memories associated with certain smells, tastes more easily and such memories stay for long in the hippocampus as they are tied down there by the sense of smell.
When a good memory, triggered by the associated smell, or taste, is drawn out from the hippocampus the mood gets elevated automatically. On the other hand the binding agent for the memories to amygdala is emotion, and not the senses as was the case with hippocampus. Memories associated with more intense emotions are recalled easily from this part of the brain than the ones which are tied to weaker emotions.
Memories bound to strong emotions like receiving and award, or appreciation stay embedded within the amygdala for long than the one associated with something like a routine boring event that had happened in the past. A plethora of chemical reactions is involved in the background of these seemingly simple reactions which originate within these sections of the limbic system.
When the situation ( as described above), within the limbic system is conducive to generating good mood a neurotransmitter called serotonin is released which interacts with certain sections, neurons, of the brain to elevate the mood of the individual. Tryptophan, available in certain dietary products, is the raw material from which serotonin is produced.
The amount of serotonin produced in the brain is linked to the type of mood it will generate: more serotonin is equal to good mood, less serotonin equals bad mood, or low mood. Another of the hormones famous for producing the fight-or-flight response in the body, cortisol, produce different responses in the body depending upon the type of stress that has triggered its production.
Good stress directs cortisol to produce vigor, alertness , and determination in the mind; whereas bad stress triggers uneasiness, tension, and even anxiety in preparation for countering the effect of the stressor. Yoga for happiness produces good stress which triggers positive reactions within the mind, or elevate the mood.
Another hormone called oxytocin is also known as love hormone as its presence in the blood triggers the feelings of love and trust in the brain. Asana that boost mood work by stimulating the production of oxytocin within the body.
Get in Good Mood with Yoga
Mood boosting yoga can instantaneously change the chemistry of the brain which support generation of positive feelings. This happens because with yoga the levels of gamma aminobutyric, a neurotransmitter like serotonin, gets spiked leading to a uplifted mood.
Rise in the amount of this chemical helps lower the feelings of depression and anxiety within the brain. Moreover the yoga poses that elevate your mood alleviate anger, and fatigue, thus elevating the feelings of happiness within the brain. Breath awareness while one practices mood boosting yoga is essential to extracting the maximum benefit from a particular yoga technique, keeping the mind on the breath while practicing yoga helps keeps the mind in the present. Emergence of happiness is incidental to keeping the keeping the mind in present.
One’s posture is directly linked to one’s mood; one tends to slouch and slump while in a bad mood; good mood straightens the posture on its own. Thus yoga asana that boost good mood work by rectifying postural defects in case any are present, and may be pressing the mood downward.
Yoga for happiness tones the extensor muscles of the spine, the tone of the spine extensors is directly linked to the limbic system, and frontal cortex of the brain. Well-toned extensors positively impact these two mood regulating centers of the brain.
Backward bending asana opens the heart by stretching the chest outwards, an open heart is filled with positive emotions which help elevate the mood. Another muscle which is known to regulate one’s mood is the iliopsoas muscle present in the pelvic region. Yoga poses that elevate your mood stretch and release any stress form this muscle imparting buoyancy to the mood.
Yoga for Happiness
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