Mental Health Self Care

These are difficult times

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious, leading to negative feelings and thoughts, stress and depression.

With a mental health crisis in Australia, getting an appointment with a mental health professional is very difficult, if not impossible (at least within the short term).

Something that you can do for yourself – today – is a yoga class.

Research has shown that the mental health problems of anxiety, stress, insomnia and depression are among the most common reasons people seek out treatment with complementary therapies such as yoga.

Benefits of Yoga on Mental Health

Yoga encourages one to relax, focusing on the present and slowing the breath. The relaxation state helps balance the sympathetic nervous system and the flight-or-fight response to the parasympathetic system. The latter relaxes the breathing rate, decreases blood pressure, lowers cortisol levels and increases blood flow to the vital organs. Thus, creating a calming and restorative sensation.

One of the main goals of yoga is to achieve a sense of well-being, improved self-confidence and attentiveness. This calming effect lowers your heart rate and anxiety including cardiac output and blood pressure. Additionally, strengthening the immune system and decreasing tendencies of aggression and rage due to improved responses to stressful situations.

Ongoing yoga practices will improve flexibility, back issues and a better night’s sleep. The practice can also lead to increased serotonin levels, helping improve depression.

The referenced author of this piece initiated yoga 10 years ago due to severe osteoarthritis L3-L5. While this has not gone away, the issues associated with it certainly have.

(Woodyard, 2011)

Where to go? Is it difficult?

At last count, there are at least 6 establishments in Murwillumbah alone where you can take a yoga class, with many offering very generous initial trial runs of a week or two.

Each of these establishments offer a various range of classes from restorative (light) to ashtanga/power (strong) yoga.

The classes are held in a non-exclusive, non-intimidating and welcoming atmosphere where all levels of fitness and ability are catered for. Mats are often provided or you can get one for under $20 from a number of places.

All you need is a water bottle and a desire for a new you.

Updated: 7th April 2022