Yoga to Transform Your Mental Health

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Audrie and Kristina in child's pose, an easy restful yoga asana

Yoga is good for your mental health. We think this is such a great topic because many of us have anxiety, stress and low mood. Sometimes we are out of sorts and feel disconnected. There's all sorts of words that we use for not feeling very mentally well.


Yoga is such a good starting point because you don’t even have to do any thinking about the things that are causing you stress. Just move your body.


Yoga’s really good just for calming and soothing the mind. Start with a lying down position on the mat. We’d call that savasana or relaxation. It’s a good place to start. Maybe child's pose on your hands and knees with your head down and hips moving towards your heels.


When you’re holding tension in your body and the blood's not flowing very well you’re not even getting all the oxygen that we need. If we're tense and stressed hormones get released like cortisol and adrenaline and that turns into fatigue and burnout.


Our mind is perceiving threats and stress all the time. This is good to keep us safe. But if we are living in a heightened state of awareness, seeing stress in things like a video feed or on social media, our brains get hooked into a loop of all this negative stuff. So this leads to feeling our mental health getting out of balance.


So let’s get tip number one out there: Yoga is such a good practice to release the tensions in your muscles and tissues. The physical practice helps bring you into your body. It helps to relax and calm the muscles. It also relaxes and calms the thoughts.


And tip number two is about taking time out - either through yoga or alongside a meditation practice.  Withdrawing your senses from the world  and having some quiet time.  Meditation, it's just an opportunity for you to be quiet on your own without the external stimulus of the world.


Kristina does guided meditations in the morning, listening to The Course in Miracles and then the lesson for the day. Then there’s a prayer she does. Followed up with a priming video in the morning with Tony Robbins.


That’s the morning and then in the evenings she does a minimum of 11 minutes of quiet sitting. It seems that all you need is 11 minutes of silence and meditation to to get the benefit. 


We have about 70 000 thoughts running through our mind every single day. That’s a lot of thinking.  Most of our thoughts are not positive, most of them are stressful. You’re taking yourself back into reliving the stressful situations. Taking yourself back into that heightened state. Often our bodies become addicted to feeling stress and anxiety.


The practice of yoga and when you sit for meditation, you start to see those thoughts for what they are because all the other stimulus is gone. The quietness allows you to see your own thinking. And you don’t have to believe everything your mind is saying!


Audrie finds her yoga practice is quite meditative.  “Moving my body is a form of meditation for me because I’m in the moment.  The thoughts in my head are dismissed or ignored because I’m moving my body. In the evening I have a more  active meditation.”


Audrie’s been doing a gratitude practice. Each night writing 10 things to be thankful for in her day. She also uses a gratitude rock which is beside her bed. Holding the rock she reviews her day and finds the thing she is most grateful for. This makes you think back through your whole day to see what you can be most grateful for!


Sometimes she’s done a silent or a guided meditation practice as well .


So the 70 000 thoughts we have are often negatively biased.  With gratitude we’re looking for the good. Absolutely anchoring into the good. Writing 10 good things for the day plus the gratitude rock tilts your perception towards the good.


Be guided to work on gratitude alongside improving your sleep following our 28-day Yoga to Transform Sleep programme and see the results.


As one of our course members said, “I enjoy the journal writing guide, the gratitude practices and the weekly plan. I have printed these out and use them to plan my week and my days. I like the YTT team telling me what to do on which day!”


So to keep feeling well and mentally able to function do yoga asana,  sit in meditation and have a written gratitude practice: all of those things help you.


As we practice regularly we start to shift our energy towards a more positive mental state. So yoga is such a good thing to help your mental health. Namaste: go do yoga!


Audrie and Kristina xx


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