Yoga Therapy for Mental Wellness
About 1 in 10 people experience severe anxiety in the form of an anxiety disorder. I am repeatedly blown away by the prevalence of mental illness Western society today. It raises many questions for me. What has changed to create these health conditions? Are the numbers actually rising this steeply or are we just putting a name to a problem that has always existed? What can we do to decrease the suffering of people with mental illness? Why does nothing seem to be working?
Mental illness is a very broad term and includes many different types of conditions such as anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and the list goes on.
Yoga has been helping people balance their physical and mental states for thousands of years. This problem of “imbalance” is not new and over many generations the yogis found some techniques that work by integrating your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. Yoga postures, meditation and chanting help regulate the way your brain works and can make navigating life easier for you. Imagine if you actually lived your life as an adventure to experience rather than something that causes fear/stress/anxiety/depression!
I started a daily Yoga Nidra meditation practice last Fall. After a couple of months I was wondering why isn’t this working? Why am I not having those big amazing meditation experiences where where the skies open up and the birds sing and my heart is filled with joy etc, etc. What am I doing wrong? Then a couple of weeks later after continuing my daily practice I realized that everything else in my life isn’t so difficult any more. The “daily struggle” just isn’t a struggle now. Things that I had to force myself to do (even though I knew I should) weren’t so daunting. It was like I didn’t have to fight any more. The battle was over and living life – loving life – can go on.
Different approaches work for different people – maybe a more active, strong yoga practice is best for you or maybe a slow and gentle approach is what you need. Maybe a meditation or chanting practice is something you’d like to try. A Yoga Therapist helps educate and guide you to the best practices to help YOU achieve your wellness goals.
I know that life brings constant challenges and at this moment I know that I will face challenging times again. The difference is that this time I have the tools that work for me to change it back.