We are living in extraordinary, unnatural times, separated from those we love, those who make us laugh, and those who inspire us. Human beings are pack animals – isolation has long been used as a form of punishment in prisons – and being alone for too long has a damaging effect on our mental health. Add to this reduced income, fear for vulnerable relatives and the pressure to be super-productive at home and it’s not surprising that more people than ever are suffering. And while lockdown restrictions are starting to ease in some ways, the knock-on emotional and economic effects will linger for months, if not years.
For Mental Health Awareness Week, Blessed Yoga is launching a new, online course exploring how yoga techniques and philosophy can help us manage and alleviate anxiety and depression.
While it is easy to focus on the negative, there have undoubtedly been some positive changes, mainly in the natural world but also for humans. We’ve all heard people vowing to maintain some of the changes – a slower pace of life, cycling rather than driving, spending more time with family.
With more time and less freedom, people are looking for ways to take care of their mental as well as their physical health. Yoga, which attracted over 14 million people in 2018, has become more important than ever.
One of our Blessed Yoga team, Anna Rowe, specialises in teaching those suffering from anxiety and depression. Anna said, ‘I’ve seen yoga make such an amazing difference in people’s lives, including my own – it is THE reason I teach. ‘Ultimately, the point of yoga is not just physical fitness – although toned arms and a nice bum are a welcome side effect! Rather the point of yoga is ‘the practice of the stillness of the mind’ (Patanjali, The Yoga Sutras).
‘The physical practice (Asana/ postures), the breathing practice, (Pranyama), the philosophical and meditative practices of yoga are essential tools in your mental health and wellbeing kit.