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What Are the Benefits of Yoga for Mental Illness Recovery?

Posted on February 19, 2018

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Yoga and mental illness recovery can go hand in hand — it  is an incredible and powerful tool for recovery. The resources to overcome and aid mental illness are abundant. What works for one person is not necessarily going to work for another. Keeping an open mind and trying different things is extremely important while on this journey. I believe that a combination of a variety of different mental health tools is one of the best approaches. Yoga is one of the tools I use on a regular basis, and yoga can help you with depression, anxiety and stress, too. 

Why Yoga for Mental Illness Recovery?

Yoga is a relaxation tool and anxiety reduction technique that is extremely helpful through mental illness recovery for a variety of reasons. The first is that it forces you to get out of your mind and into your body. The focus on breathing through your practice and matching your movement to your breath is important. This focus puts your mind on something other than your mental illness. Breathing in the yoga manner also calms down your mind and your body. Yoga also eliminates all other distractions. It is just you, your body, your breath, and your thoughts. It is a form of moving meditation. It allows you to be with yourself and turn within, an important practice for any human, especially those suffering from mental illness.

More Benefits of Yoga for Mental Illness Recovery

The yoga community is also a benefit for recovering from mental illness. The instructors, the other classmates, going to a studio, the entire atmosphere is positive and calming. Yoga instructors usually set an intention and share spiritual guidance during class and their words can be insightful and helpful for mental illness recovery. Going somewhere where there are other people, all practicing yoga together, all in one place for the same reason, to better themselves, is also inspiring and can put you in a positive mindset.

When you practice yoga you are not doing it for anyone else. It is solely for you. In those moments during class, you are improving your physical and mental strength, reflection and balance. Attending yoga classes consistently allows you to track and watch your improvement in the various postures. It gives you something to work towards consistently and notice yourself getting better.

Yoga Is a Good Fit for Mental Illness Recovery

Yoga is not for everyone, and I’m not saying practice yoga and your mental illness will go away. But it could be a great tool in addition to your current mental illness self-help practices. My suggestion for you is to try it out a few times, with different instructors and different studios before you make a final decision, you may find it to be a positive benefit in your life.

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Author: Nancy Zacharakis

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2 comments for “What Are the Benefits of Yoga for Mental Illness Recovery?

  1. Tim
    February 19, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    I find Yoga improves my Anxiety/depression. Daily practice is a hassle and needs dedication but makes me feel great.

    • Vectorman
      March 13, 2018 at 12:45 am

      Does it make you feel less drowsy too? as I’m always feeling totally knackered lol. Could do with something to perk me up

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