How Yoga Can Contribute To Our Mental Health
People come to therapy for many different reasons. Regardless of their reasons, there are some fundamental concepts and skills that I discuss with each of my clients. Through both personal and professional experience, I have learned that life unfolds with much less struggle as these concepts become operational in our lives.
Among these are:
- The hazards of comparing ourselves to others
- The problems with expectations
- The benefits of being in the moment
- Being with discomfort
- Living in non-judgment and compassion
Megan Bruneau, a mental health therapist from Vancouver, Canada does a nice job of presenting these concepts as they relate to our personal yoga and mental health practices in a post on MindBodyGreen. com.
From the safety of our yoga mats, we have the opportunity to observe how these things play out for us. If our tendency is toward comparing our own yoga practice as it unfolds on our mats with those around us, there’s a pretty good chance that we compare ourselves to others out in the world at-large. If we’re invested in our expectation that our yoga practice is going to look or feel a particular way, maybe we allow ourselves to move into disappointment when other people or situations don’t behave or unfold in ways that we think they should. How we react when facing a challenging pose might tip us off as to how we deal with discomfort, in general.
An opportunity to observe
Yoga gives us the opportunity to develop the important skill of witnessing. Becoming an observer of our own behavior and reactions is the first step in making changes that we consider to be valuable. It gives us the opportunity to replace reaction with mindful response.
I recommend yoga to all of my clients. I have found nothing else that gives us the same opportunities to explore our relationships with ourselves. Inviting yoga into my life has been the single most important action that I have taken toward increasing my own sense of peace and “okayness” in my life. I hope you will give it a chance.