Mental Health Awareness Month

Betty Boop in lotus pose

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I feel like more and more we are seeing things about mental health in the news, and it is so important, both individually and collectively. Life offers so many challenges, and so many distractions, that it is very easy to neglect self-care and one’s own needs. Nurturing your mind and emotions is just as important as eating right and exercise are for your body. Luckily, yoga offers amazing tools to do just that.

Taking a moment to “Pause, Breathe, Feel” as you have probably often heard me say in class is so key to processing the many experiences we have each day. There is healing power in slowing down. “Scientists have measured the amount of data that enter the brain and found that an average person living today processes as much as 74 GB in information a day (that is as much as watching 16 movies), through TV, computers, cell phones, tablets, billboards, and many other gadgets. Every year it is about 5% more than the previous year. [Bohn, R., and Short, J. 2012. Measuring consumer information. Int. J. Comm. 6:980–1000] Only 500 years ago, 74 GB of information would be what a highly educated person consumed in a lifetime, through books and stories.” [Frontiers for Young Minds]

With all of this information coming in, how do we know when to put on the brakes? Yoga, meditation, and chanting are all ways to help calm the nervous system and settle the mind. It is in those moments of quiet that we can have true breakthroughs within awareness. We can cultivate clarity in our lives and the direction we want to take. Clarity of purpose reduces mental strain significantly. Believe me, I know. It was in a state of helplessness in my early 20s that put me on my own path to practicing yoga. Plus, practicing yoga is fun. It is even more fun practicing yoga with friends. This month, take some time for yourself, whether it is doing yoga or some other contemplative activity like walking in nature, meditating, or listening to uplifting music. You will not regret it.

If you are interested in some immediate, at home support, the Yoga For Healing Series offers six short videos on relieving anxiety, supporting restful sleep, and cultivating a sense of empowerment. Three steps to feeling your best. Find the online course here.