Featured 1Mental Health

My Journey with Yoga for Mental Health

close-up of hands to heart center pose in cross leg position

Yoga for mental health might be one of the most underrated forms of clarity. We live in a world where mental health is finally being addressed, but it’s been an issue for far longer than we have recognized it. Staying on top of your mental health is extremely important. It’s been one of the most challenging things to admit publicly, but I struggle with depression and anxiety. From the countless steps I’ve taken to control these aspects of my life, one of the most essential steps is commenting to myself and my mind. Starting my yoga journey has assisted in that in ways nearly indescribable.

I am not a fitness buff, nor do I consider myself any good at my practice. However, the most essential part of my journey with yoga for mental health is showing up. Even deciding to dedicate just a few moments to me to begin my practice is a massive step for mental health. Finally, you get the feeling of accomplishment and that tiny element of self-care that those struggling with similar mental health issues might find rewarding. That “I did it” feeling is one of the best to carry with you throughout the day. It’s that extra self-confidence boost that anyone could use.

Feeling Good While Practicing Yoga for Mental Health

Yoga for mental health is more about feeling good than changing the physical aspects of your body. That means the stress of having to do the perfect pose is thrown out the window while you kindly acknowledge that the attempt is good enough. Gradually practicing will make those difficult moves much more manageable. However, when mental heal is involved, I find that taking each moment step by step Is the best approach. Understand that it’s not your job to crank forward for results but rather exist, practice, and learn. I know that I am not the best at what I do when I am doing it and always acknowledge that it is not my intention to be the best. However, setting my intention at simply showing up and tapping into those self-care moments is precisely the intention I am trying to fulfill.

It’s too easy to get wrapped up in what we “should” be doing. In fact, the simple word “Should” has always been one of my leading causes for anxiety and depression both. If there is something I “should” be doing, I’ve chosen not to do it, resulting in a steamroll of guilt that feeds those negative thoughts. However, with the start of my yoga for mental health journey, I’ve realized that “should” is a big problem. So, while practicing, I keep that in the back of my mind knowing that showing up for my practice isn’t something I “should” do but rather something I want to do.

On top of that, there is not just one way to enjoy a yoga practice. It is for everyone; each individual has different intentions. Everyone who decides to join takes the time to truly understand themselves.

A Step in Self Confidence

One of my favorite ways to practice has been preparing myself to feel great while starting my journey. Like I said before, I am no expert. In fact, I only began my practices result and have yet to truly accomplish the simplest poeses. But that doesn’t stop me from recognizing the importance of yoga for mental health. It also stop me from continuing to take those steps forward.

One of my favorite ways to prepare for practice is dressing the part. I recently got to try a plant-based workout set from Reprise Activewear that leaves me feeling great about myself. Wearing the right outfit to enjoy my practice has become a staple in getting me to the right mindset. I must remember why I’ve shown up to the mat in the first place. Reprise Activewear is a fantastic brand that I am very proud to have worked. Their workout sets go above and beyond in quality and comfort. They feel like a second skin which sets the stage for great practice.

In addition to wearing something that really feels extra special, I also set a mood in my workout space. Dimming the lights, eliminating extra noise, and existing in silence for a few moments helps me calm the noise in my head. If you experience anxiety, you most likely know those chattering thoughts in your head that steal attention from what you are trying to accomplish. Once I feel great and take a moment to push those chattering thoughts aside, I start my practice. It starts with dedicating the time to address my mental health through movements that also feel physically rewarding.

What Happens After a Practice of Yoga for Mental Health?

When I do a yoga practice, I usually follow a guide on YouTube. Being unfamiliar with all the movements makes it difficult to develop a helpful routine on my own. One of my favorite video sets is yoga with Adrian on YouTube. She puts on a 3-day challenge that will keep you wanting to come back to the mat every day with her gentle encouragement. While watching a guide remember your intention might not be the same as everyone else’s, so choose a video set that works well with your mindset.

After practicing yoga for mental health, I think clearly, and the little thoughts that usually race through my mind calm. I also notice physical sensations that feel rewarding. My muscles will feel stronger, I may even feel more flexible. On top of all those glorious physical sensations, the most essential feeling is pride in myself for doing something for me. As someone with anxiety and depression, I realize that taking time for myself is something I often neglect. Whether I do it intentionally or not, it’s just a bad habit that yoga does help me break. By no means do I feel yoga for mental health is a cure-all as my struggles do continue. However, bringing that awareness with me and acknowledging that this practice is to help with those issues that are harder to directly address is one step closer to a calmer and happier life.

The photos in this post feature the Reprise Activewear Ice Melt set. They include the Aspen Leggings and Aspen Sports Bra in the color ‘Ice Melt’.