In recent decades, people have begun paying more attention to behaviors that promote their mental health. With hectic personal lives, busy careers, and everyday pressures, it is not a surprise that we often feel overwhelmed and fatigued.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression, making this mental health disorder one of the leading causes of disability today. At the same time, the bipolar affective disorder affects 60 million people globally.
A lot of people rely on self-help techniques to cope with stress and boost their mental health. Some of these methods include relaxation techniques, yoga, and mindful meditation. Depending on the type and severity of your symptoms, you may be able to help yourself cope with mental health challenges and improve your mental well-being.
So, how can you use your body and mind to improve your mental health and combat stress?
It is no secret that yoga is a great way of using our body to promote mental health and overall well-being. Yoga is an exceptionally effective way to rest and regain a balance in our life. Different yoga poses can help you start and end your day positively.
If you spend the most of your day sitting at the office desk, this pose can help you fight the lower back pain you might be experiencing. Don’t worry if you feel a bit stiff in the beginning. As you begin to relax, your muscles will follow and become more flexible. However, keep this pose steady and slow and use only the pelvic tilts to move your lower back of the floor.
The cat-cow stretches come as a natural next step after the floor pelvic tilts. It is actually the extension of the same stretch to include the more parts of your back. Your hands and knees movements in this yoga pose will help stretch the spine, activate your muscles and help relax your body and mind.
To maximize the positive effect of this yoga position, it is very important to focus on your breathing – breathe in as you bend your back and breathe out as you stretch.
Downward Facing Dog
Extend the cat-cow stretches to downward facing dog position by simply raising one leg and then the other. Stay in the pose by keeping your arms straight and your head down. This pose is good for the whole body. It also helps mindfully relax your mind. Once in this position, hold it for five to ten breaths. Repeat the pose as many time as it suits you.
Lunge and Stretch
Lunge and stretch pose is an excellent balance exercise. In addition, it is a good practice of staying focused, as it keeps you concentrated by looking straight ahead and focusing on your movements. This yoga pose helps stretch your back and legs and energizes the whole body.
Straight Leg Lunge
This is an extension of the previous pose, but instead, now we keep our leg straight. This might cause slight discomfort at the start as our body enters a position it isn’t used to.
Raising Arms and Mountain Pose
This move helps stretch the entire back and create balance in your body and mind. Moreover, the “raising arms and mountain” pose helps you feel the flow of energy through the whole body.
Standing Forward Bend
This yoga position is a natural transition from the raising arms and mountain pose and helps you rest after standing up straight and still. Allow yourself 30 seconds to a minute rest between stretching your lower back.
Pigeon yoga pose may be a little challenging for the beginners. However, this pose helps stretch your back and your legs and let the energy flow through your body.
Yogi’s Choice – Freestyle
This section of your yoga allows you to choose the pose you feel most comfortable with, so listen to your body and your mind and go with that feeling. At this stage, you can either repeat one of the previous poses or try something completely new.
Savasana – The Resting Corpse!
The last yoga pose is meant for total relaxation. Take a few moments to breathe deep and slowly, close your eyes, and rest.
In addition, take this time to mindfully reflect on your yoga exercise and what you have achieved. Feel every single muscle and sense the energy flow through your body.
Yoga is a great way to relax, focus, and synchronize your mind and body. It provides a peaceful break from your hectic routine and a significant improvement in your lifestyle.
In short, using your body through yoga practice helps calm your mind, supports relaxation and promotes good spirits.