Mental Health Benefits of Yoga: Using the Eight Limbs of Yoga

Casey Connelly
6 min readDec 5, 2022

Yoga is a trifold practice. One that benefits the body, mind, and soul. However, the mental benefits of yoga are one of the most easily proven as the results can be seen almost instantly.

Studies over the past 50+ years all show that yoga reduces stress, improves mood, and increases emotional stability.

If you are suffering from common mental ailments then yoga is the best natural solution. But, just how does it work?

Read on to understand the ancient science behind yoga for mental health.

The Science of Yoga

Yoga was specially designed with autonomy, physiology, and psychology in mind. And while it was first described in an ancient Hindu text, specifically, the Rig Vedas, it may have been practiced for thousands of years prior to its transcription.

Several hundred years after the Vedas, an entire book about the practice of yoga called the Yoga Sutra was written by Patanjali, a sage from India. In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali lists the eight limbs of yoga and their purpose.

The mental health benefits of yoga are revealed in the practice of these eight limbs of yoga as you will see below.

Moral Code (Yama)

One of the benefits of studying and practicing yoga is its strong moral code. These are called Yamas of which there are five.

  1. Aparigraha- the ability of non-desire, including non-hoarding and exclusion of greed
  2. Asteya- the understanding that stealing is not right
  3. Satya- the willingness to speak the truth at any cost
  4. Ahimsa- the compassion to use non-violence and non-harm either in action or words
  5. Brahmacharya- the control of sexual energy either through celibacy or tantric practices

When these Yamas are part of your yoga practice you gain the benefit of mental health as you become a more authentic, emphatic, and fulfilled embodiment of your higher self.

Self-discipline (Niyama)

In addition to a moral code, yoga for mental health also refers to self-care through certain…

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Casey Connelly

I love questioning the world we live in through experience. Nothing exists unless you have experienced it. My writing is personal and filled with discovery.