On 10th October every year, we observe World Mental Health Day; the aim being to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize our support efforts. With statistics showing that almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime in the USA alone, raising awareness is vital.
During peri/menopause, our mental wellbeing can also take a nose dive as we battle to cope with the myriad of changes, both mentally and physically, set against a backdrop of our changing role in the family and the workplace. Rather than turn to medications, there's a pressing need to highlight the holistic solutions that are available and that can help boost our mental wellbeing such as yoga.
For many people, their only knowledge of yoga are the pretty pictures that they see on Instagram. However, yoga is so much more than this. Essentially, it’s a mind-body-spiritual practice that combines physical poses with controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation to provide a number of benefits. Let’s take a closer look at how it impacts our mental wellbeing:
Reduces muscle tension: Through an intelligent sequence of physical poses, we can relax our whole body. Certain postures can also have a deeply calming effect on the mind such as forward bends and inversions.
Relaxes the mind: Meditation is known for relaxing and slowing down the mind. Once we become aware of our breath, everything begins to slow down; helping to lower our stress and anxiety levels.
Builds self-acceptance: Through meditation, yoga helps to build self-awareness and cultivates positive thinking. By being an inner observer of our thought processes, we can begin to to accept ourselves without judgement.
Lowers blood pressure: Studies show that yoga helps lower both our blood pressure and heart rate. As soon as we slow down our breathing, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system which enables us to relax and reduce anxiety.
Releases negative emotions: It may seem hard to believe but our bodies can carry past traumas and emotional blockages such as fear, anger and guilt for years. Through yoga, we can release unwanted tension and emotions; leaving us feeling lighter and calmer.
Just as it’s impossible to eliminate stress completely from our lives, we can’t rely on yoga and meditation entirely when chronic anxiety or depression prevails. However, by introducing a regular practice, we can learn how to relax our bodies and calm our minds so that when life throws us stressful challenges, we are better able to manage them.
If you are going through peri/menopause and would like to know how yoga can help, click the link below to obtain a copy of my FREE e-book . This demonstrates a selection of yoga poses that bring relief to menopausal symptoms. Whilst some are restorative, others are energy boosting or focus specifically on symptoms such as hot flashes. https://www.yourselfyoga.com/free-resources
You can also join our Facebook group 'Yoga for Peri/Menopause' and enjoy free tips, advice, yoga sequences, classes and meet other like-minded women who are undergoing the same challenges.
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