Yoga is a practice of poses and breathing techniques designed to strengthen and balance the body and the mind.
We have previously identified that yoga boasts numerous physical benefits including increased strength and flexibility. Yoga is also fantastic for helping your mental health, as you zone in on the present and focus on your breathing.
Yoga for depression
If you are someone who suffers from depression you may struggle to focus, taking away the things that you love and making you feel lonely. You may go around and round in your head, getting stuck in your own thoughts. Yoga teaches you to focus on the here and now, hold your posture and breathe deeply. It helps you release spirit and takes you to a quiet paradise where your mind and body are relaxed.
Yoga for anxiety
There are many symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety including feelings of tightness, tension and pain sensitivity. Yoga asanas (postures) help to ease the physical discomfort that may be caused by anxiety by stretching, lengthening and strengthening the muscles. The asana’s help to release built-up muscle tension and stiffness throughout the body. Yoga can also help with anxious thoughts. Meditation, visualisation and focusing on your breathing can help with letting go of worry and fear. The overall practice of yoga promotes relaxation, allowing the body and mind to develop a sense of calm and ease.
Yoga for your self esteem
Through practicing yoga, you get to know yourself. You start to believe you are worthy of ‘me-time’, thus eating healthier and exercising more. Those with low self-esteem are often isolated, and that is where yoga can help. Although you stand alone on your mat, you are surrounded by other yogis and yoginis, who will show you love, support and accept you for you!
Yoga and mindfulness
Mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness and being in the now. You observe the situation you are in, without judgement, and understand that it will soon end. Regular practice of yoga can help develop your ability to engage in mindfulness, as most positions allow you to focus on the here and now. You remind yourself not to get caught up in your own story and in the midst of feeling irritated when you start to ache, you will start to appreciate that you have this time to yourself.
After only a few sessions of yoga you will begin to experience the positive benefits on your mind and body. If you’re looking to start yoga, Tranquillité Retreats Yoga instructor, Maria Kelly, holds regular classes in Altrincham and Hale. Visit http://www.mariayoga.co.uk/ for a full class timetable. Alternatively, join us on our one of our yoga retreats in the UK and France.