I’ve suffered from mental health problems since 2012. I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder, which has really put me through some hard times.
There has been so many people who have given me different suggestions on what I could do to keep my mind occupied, from jogging to taking up a hobby such as painting, or even just reading more books. I just struggled to find the right thing.
It wasn’t until around the end of February this year that someone suggested Yoga classes to me. I laughed a little. I’m not exactly the slimmest of people, so I was instantly put off. I looked on Instagram at a few Yoga accounts and after a while I started to notice that Yoga is actually for everyone, no matter what your fitness level or body type. I began researching some local beginners classes just so I felt comfortable with learning the basics. I started off with one class a week and before I knew it, I was frantically Googling as many Yoga classes as I could. I was hooked.
I started to look at different Yoga styles, including HotPod yoga, where you work out for an hour in a Giant inflatable pod heated at around 38° (I literally sweated from places I didn’t even know was possible). I tried other styles including Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and classes that included mediation at the end. Before I knew it, I was attending anything from two to five classes a week depending on my schedule.
So, how has it helped my mental health?
Well, for a start, you are surrounded by like-minded people who are all there for one thing. Their well-being. This in itself made me feel more comfortable, knowing that everyone in the class is there for themselves and themselves only. No judgement, no criticism. Absolutely no one in a Yoga class compares themselves to others. You can easily sit a posture out if it’s a little to much, and no one will bat an eyelid. It makes me feel so comfortable and I feel like I can go into my own little bubble for an hour or so.
You’re completely focused on your breathing, which blocks out so many stressful thoughts you may have been thinking about before you started. Yoga increases my body awareness, reduces muscle tension and calms the nervous system. I also find it sharpens my attention and concentration. Yoga has already helped me reduce stress levels throughout everyday life and increases my motivation when carrying out day-to-day tasks.
If you’re new to Yoga or would like to start, I would advise trying out some beginners classes. This way, you get a feel for the kind of postures you will be working on and you’ll learn some of the basic terms. I am still a beginner myself and I found this a really helpful way to start. I can’t wait to improve my postures, concentration and strength more in the process.
Some easy poses to research:
- Downward Facing Dog – This pose stretches and strengthens most of the body and reduces tiredness.
- Warrior I Pose – Strengthens the legs and core whilst easing anxiety.
- Child’s Pose – Stretches out the back and hips whilst helping the body recover from any pain or stress.
- Savasana – Savasana relaxes every muscle you’ve used during a Yoga session.
Have any questions for me? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure to get back to you.
Peace & Love