It has been a very challenging few months recently MoonBabes. I have been faced with a family member suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety. I was constantly confused and emotionally exhausted. I found myself hearing people suggest that they 'just get over it" and had to repeat a million times that it is not a choice, that they do not want to feel the way they do. My precious family member described it as being stuck on an island in a storm with no shelter, no help and no hope. I started researching ways to help care for them and found so many suggestions pointing to yoga and meditation.
I did not write the below blog but I'm praying that it may be helpful to anyone who is maybe stuck on their own island. Whatever your challenge is, challenge it back. Own the emotions, hold them captive and know that you are so, very loved.
HOW YOGA CAN HELP YOUR MIND
It’s no secret that yoga, like any other form of exercise, is good for your physical health, but did you know about all its mental health benefits, too? Well, we’re here to share to the news, so check out out these 5 ways yoga can keep you mentally strong.
1. Physical exercise improves your mood
Just the fact that yoga is a physical activity means that it will enhance your emotional wellbeing. The evidence is definitive that physical exercise is a mood-enhancer so if you’re feeling down, can’t sleep, or have low energy, whether mild or severe, transient or chronic, being active is a key component to improving mood, sleep and motivation.
2. Yoga is a form of moving mindful meditation
The main elements of yoga are movement, breathing and meditation, emphasising the importance of being in the present moment, or being ‘mindful’, and maintaining focus and attention. With that in mind, the benefits of mindfulness practices are well-researched and now form part of many psychological treatments for anxiety, depression and problem behaviours.
3. Yoga can help you with goal-setting and improve productivity
Most yoga classes begin with the act of setting a positive intention. Blogger and practicing yogi Claire Bowles is a project manager who studied how mindfulness meditation practices can enhance emotional intelligence levels in managers. She believes that there is an ever-growing awareness and understanding of the benefits of yoga and how it can help to overcome stress. Claire says that, “No matter what your personal intention is – the act of setting it starts a positive habit that can improve your focus and productivity”.
4. Yoga is a great way to spend time with your friends
It can be daunting going to a yoga class by yourself, especially if you are a beginner. So why not make it a social occasion! Get your crew together for an hour of Downward Dogs and Sun Salutations, have a laugh as you master the technique, and then go out afterwards for a well-deserved juice break.
5. Yoga highlights the mind-body connection
Yoga is a holistic practice that acknowledges the importance of the mind-body connection and helps people recognise this connection within themselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s research on power posing has shown that you can use your body to shape your mind to behave more confidently and perform more effectively. While stretching the limits of your body you will notice how your posture and position positively affects your sense of self and your state of mind.
Written by Dr Lillian Nejad - a Melbourne-based clinical psychologist who specialises in helping people achieve long-term improvements in mental health, quality of life and overall well-being.