How are you doing on World Mental Health Day?
Whatever is happening for you right now, I want to acknowledge you and your struggles. I saw a meme this week that said: “You know who’s had a tough time lately? Everyone.” That’s absolutely true. I see you and I want you to know you are not alone.
I’ve been reflecting on what we’ve all been through over the past two years. Even before COVID-19 arrived, many of us had weathered drought, bushfires and other challenges. So many of us have been traumatised by what has happened to us and the people we love.
Long term, the implications for mental health as a result of recent events are deep and wide. While borders may open as the threat of COVID is managed, what may look like ‘back to normal’ will, for some time, be masking ongoing mental health struggles.
We know that, in many places, mental health services are stretched to capacity. I have teenagers and I know that demand for psychological support amongst young people outstrips availability. I’m saying this not to be pessimistic, but to acknowledge. The problem is very real - and very personal - and acknowledging that is the first step.
My response has been to support my community with the tools that have supported me. I have been using the tools of yoga to support my own mental wellbeing for over thirty years. It was a breakdown in my mental health as a young adult that brought me to yoga in the first place. Since then I have practiced, studied and taught yoga as a way to look after my own mental and emotional health. Now, I also support others do the same thing.
The benefits of yoga for mental wellbeing are certainly subjective. I KNOW it works for me. However, there is also plenty of literature that demonstrates that yoga can relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression, panic attacks, addiction, eating disorders and other mental health issues.
If you are a yoga teacher, you have an extraordinary gift to share with your students - the gift of yoga techniques that can have a profoundly positive impact on mental wellbeing. My passion is sharing the tools that have worked for me with the wider community, especially other yoga teachers. As a yoga therapist and qualified mental health professional, I am committed to sharing yoga therapy tools with yoga teachers and clinicians so that that they in turn can share with their clients and community.
To help you care for yourself and your community, I’m sharing seven valuable yoga therapy resources - the 7 Days of Yoga Therapy for Mental Health. You can sign up for these daily emails absolutely free. You’ll discover e-books, online courses and practical yoga resources you can use right away in your practice. All for free. I hope you are able to use these resources to look after your community.
I want to encourage you to use these tools for yourself too. I’ve been training and working with yoga teachers for thirty years and I know that we are not always good at taking our own medicine. Cut yourself some slack. Do your practice. Care for and about yourself. That’s where the strength to care for others comes from.