Mental Health, Nature and Yoga !
Mental Awareness Week 2021 is great as it highlights the importance of self-care. However, it is key to attend to our “mental garden” on a daily and weekly basis.
If you plant a seed in a garden, it will only blossom if you lovingly attend to it regularly with love and the right nutrients. It is the same for our mind and body.
There’s no better time to look at the link between mental health and wellbeing. Research from the Mental Health Foundation revealed that going outside in nature for walks was one of our top coping strategies amid recent events. As a mindfulness practitioner, I would recommend you use some of your senses such as sight, smell, hearing and touch.
Look around you, breathe the fresh air, marvel at the beauty around, listen to the nature sounds around you. Touch or hug the trees. Feel the grass under your feet. As little as five minutes per day spent outside can improve motivation and wellbeing. As I went on a quiet meditative walk recently, I found a magic wall carpet full of gorgeous vibrant spring flowers. It literally took my breath away. Wow! More on this with images and a short video on my Yoga with Belle FB page.
Social connections, as we all know, are key to us feeling good. It is a human need. During the pandemic, even if we could not connect face to face, technology assisted us to connect with one another. My students and I were able to carry on with our yoga classes online when we needed it the most. Yes, it takes a little time to adjust but that’s what life is all about. Knowing about how to adapt, being strong and yet flexible, letting go of what does not serve us, such as fear, worry… This is where yoga can really help us to stay anchored and feeling stable no matter what.
So, how about Yoga and Mental Health ? Here is an appropriate quote by Debasish Mridha: “You may not be able to control the whole world but you may learn to control your inner world through yoga”. It requires a real desire and discipline. You just need to get out of your head and change your focus. Get in your body. Shake it off. As emotions get locked into the body, movement is key.
Psychologists have long known that moderate exercise is good for depression and anxiety. Yoga promotes exercise and much more... strength, flexibility, balance, relaxation and emotional control.
The practice affects your whole self inside out. As you create space in your body, yoga promotes a certain kind of mental freedom, a feeling of mental ease you experience at the end of class.
Yoga is a very effective stress reduction and relaxation tool. The practice directs the mind to attend to the body and the breathing in the present moment. The stress response that so many anxious and depressed people experience begins with the fight or flight response, a physical preparation of the body to fight or flee any perceived danger. Chronic stress has an impact on the body in the form of chronic muscle tension and stiffness creating "dis-ease" in mind and body.
Learn to breathe! You will literally change your energy. Of course, we all breathe automatically but how well do you breathe ? How well does it serve you ? Did you know you could learn how to breathe properly ? In our yoga classes, we use breath techniques to learn to quieten the mind, control our energies and feelings. If you are feeling anxious or worried, we can choose a particular breath and practice to let go and release. We can also choose a breath to energise ourselves or cool ourselves in the summer when it is hot ! This is called “Pranayama” or breath control.
Know also that the past does not define your future. You are in control. Reframe and surround yourself with positive energy. Where your attention goes, your energy goes. Change your thoughts. Think positive. Yoga works on your mental and physical wellbeing. It literally shifts your energy, as we breath and move in a certain way. It acts on our nervous system and has positive benefits throughout our whole body and mind. Find a teacher to guide you and support you.
You can join us online and move as I gently guide you through your yoga class. Feel the magic happens. Feel the transformation. The body benefits from movement and the mind from stillness. You will reset your nervous system, improve your breathing, lower your stress level and boost your immune system to name just a few of the benefits. All in one hour, and the best bit is that your 1st online group class is complimentary. Wow !!! This is a gift from me to you.
For weekly online classes, check my website. In the summer, I offer outdoor yoga classes. Yoga and nature all in one, simply the best. If interested, in either, please just contact me.
As Indra Devi said: “Yoga is a way to freedom. By its constant practice, we can free ourselves from fear, anguish and loneliness “. Lesson in French & English. You will feel amazing, both in body and mind . I offer beginners yoga, dynamic yoga and relaxation yoga with somatics. Choose what suits you best. Ideally, you want to mix an active practice with a more relaxing one during your week. To find out more, visit www.yogawithbelle.co.uk
To book, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your Zoom link 24hrs prior to class. You can sign up for the newsletter to be kept informed of our yoga classes and workshops and follow me on Instagram or Facebook for yoga tips, fun and wisdom.