© 2019 by Ivy Yoga

Through the practice of yoga we become more aware of our mental processes and adept at controlling where we place our attention. With more focused attention, our productivity can increase, our stress levels decrease, we develop an increased sense of well-being, and more fully realise our potentials.

 

YOGA FOR MENTAL WELL-BEING

Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.



How yoga can increase mental well-being 

Many of us identify with having busy minds that impair our ability to relax. It seems that we are often juggling numerous home and work commitments that pull our attention in multiple directions.

Through the practice of yoga we become more aware of our mental processes and adept at controlling where we place our attention. With more focused attention, our productivity can increase, our stress levels decrease, we develop an increased sense of well-being, and more fully realise our potentials.


Classical yoga text such as the Yoga Sutras (compiled prior to CE 400) emphasise mental practices to calm and still the mind over physical yoga postures. As yoga has changed and adapted over time the physical aspect of the practice has been emphasised. However, as our mental stressors of life are becoming increasingly more predominant a shift towards again more fully appreciating, and incorporating, the mental aspect of a yoga practice is occurring.

Starting your meditation yoga practice

An individual does not need to be an expert in stilling their mind to practice meditation. I’ve never heard of anyone starting a yoga practice with a calm equanimous mind- this comes with time and discipline. Just like you wouldn’t expect someone to be a virtuoso violin player the first time they pick up a violin. It's with patience, practice, and time, that one becomes skilled in any discipline.

I’ve also used physical fitness as an analogy for meditation practice. When we first start cardiovascular exercise, we start with short durations and it can often feel a little, or a lot, uncomfortable. Over time our fitness increases our durations increase and we start to enjoy our training. Similarly, when we first start weight training we start with lighter weights and slowly build strength and confidence, with time we find ourselves lifting heavier weights. The same is true with yoga practices that emphasise mental activity. For some, the first few practices can feel difficult and unfruitful, its with time that we become increasingly more skilled in the practice and start to notice a change and the benefits. In this vein, we often take time to train and look after the health of our bodies, yoga offers a way to do this for our mental health and well-being.

What to expect in our classes

Our classes are designed to teach yogic and psychology skills, that can bring a sense of mental stillness and awareness. We use yogic postures to promote embodiment; a sense of being present in ones body. Meditation techniques are used to deepen our connection with being in the present moment, developing our ability to feel mentally relaxed, attentive and focused. In order to further deepen the practice, homework exercises including positive psychology journalling will be offered alongside the classes.