The current world pandemic has certainly not been easy for most of us. In my case, in particular, working through a divorce and staying home with the kids really took a toll on me. I felt constantly fatigued, had terrible insomnia, and started showing signs of depression and anxiety. My emotions were all over the place for the better part of the year.
It was bad, but, in the back of my mind, I knew that I needed to turn my life around. The good thing is that mental health was given a priority that year as many people were struggling to stay sane. Information about what to do to stay healthy mentally was all over. I remember stumbling on an article about self-care and how yoga is a good practice for it. I knew I had found my answer. True to what I had read, yoga has been really helpful in keeping me balanced in the midst of all that is happening around me.
Yoga for mental health
Yoga is an all-around exercise for the mind, body, and soul. The poses and stretching have been helpful in keeping my body fit. But, the most significant change I have seen with yoga is the effect it has on my mental health. Since I started doing yoga regularly, I’ve experienced:
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1. Less negative feelings
When my stress levels hit the roof, I feel angry and worried, and my anxiety gets very bad. The good thing about yoga is that it involves a lot of breathing. I realize that when I’m able to focus on my breathing and combine that with meditation, a wave of calmness hits me almost immediately. This is because focusing on breathing lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, making the body relax and the mind calm down. This, coupled with stretching, washes away the negative feelings and raises the happiness level. We all know that exercise boosts blood circulation to the brain and promotes the production of feel-good hormones.
2. A clear mind
Another thing about yoga is that it allows a person to focus on the present. I realized that as I focus on my breathing, I become more aware of what is happening at the moment in my body. Concentrating and focusing on the present shuts off every other feeling. Nothing else matters at that time, which means that all the noises in the head stop and the mind is clear. It is actually a good boost to my motivation. I’m always able to do more and focus on my tasks after every yoga session. Something I struggled with before I started doing yoga.
3. A sharper mind
If you have ever fought mental health challenges, you can attest that solving problems, thinking straight, and even remembering things can be a struggle. I experienced that a lot, especially on days when anxiety was at its worst. However, I found a cure in yoga. Yoga is what can be termed an exercise for the brain. It strengthens the brain’s muscles just as lifting weights strengthens the muscles of the body. As a result, there is improved cognitive skills and brain function. This is to say that yoga enhances attention, memory, thought, awareness and language.
Practicing yoga at home
I began practicing yoga at a time when social distancing rules made it impossible for me to go out. I relied on online classes to learn yoga techniques. I got myself a mat and yoga clothes, and I started practicing in my living room. I would move the table to create enough room for my session. But then I realized a need for a more comfortable space. By this time, a desire to lead an active life had already grown in me, and I thought it best to create a gym at home. I did a bit of research on building a home gym, and the need for proper gym flooring stood out to me. I chose rubber tiles for the floor, which have proved a worthwhile investment over and over again. For starters, the floor beneath is protected whenever I drag equipment or drop my dumbbells, which also protects the equipment from damage. The floor is also non-slippery, which protects me from falling. Moreover, in the event of a fall, which happens a lot when learning a new yoga technique, the floor protects me from injuries.
Self-care is a very important aspect of life if anyone is to live optimally. It is a practice that lets us be in charge of our happiness and health. If you haven’t thought about self-care, it is about time that you do. I would suggest that you consider doing yoga. It is the surefire way to heal yourself through self-acceptance and self-discovery.