Yoga & Mental Health During the Pandemic
During these uneasy times, it's easy to fall in a cycle of isolation and indulgence. However, now is the time to stay on your mat.
Yoga's Weapon Against Anxiety
This year brought an unending list of anxieties: economic, political and security.
These external factors coupled with the fact that so many of us are stuck at home means that it's hard to get out of our head.
Yoga plays a great role in shifting our mindset and bringing us to the here and now—a powerful practice in today's spinning world. It's no surprise that yoga is shown to reduce anxiety levels and show significant improvement in 16 out of 18 health and quality-of-life factors.
Yoga For PTSD in Healthcare Workers
We often think of PTSD as an outcome of combat, as in the context of the military. However, PTSD takes many forms. One population that is hit with PTSD during this pandemic are our frontline health workers. No one knows better than them the intensity of this year's outbreak.
An established yoga practice may be an effective strategy for reducing PTSD symptoms. The reasoning for this makes sense. Interoceptive, body-oriented therapies can directly confront a core clinical issue in PTSD: traumatized individuals are prone to experience the present with physical sensations and emotions associated with the past.
As yoga practitioners, it might be useful to focus on the patient’s physical self-experience and increase their self awareness, rather than focusing exclusively on the meaning that people make of their experience—their narrative of the past. If past experience is embodied in current physiological states and action tendencies and the trauma is reenacted in breath, gestures, sensory perceptions, movement, emotion and thought, therapy may be most effective if it facilitates self-awareness and self-regulation.
Once patients become aware of their sensations and action tendencies they can set about discovering new ways of orienting themselves to their surroundings and exploring novel ways of engaging with potential sources of mastery and pleasure.
Global Advances in Health and Medicine report that nurses who invest in self-care techniques such as reiki, yoga and meditation improves their overall wellbeing and also results in higher-quality patient care.
Support Our Students With Yoga
Another population that is internalizing the stresses of this pandemic are our students. With ever-changing routines, uncertain futures and new familial stresses—students carry a risk of internalizing the social and academic impacts of this pandemic for years to come.
Research shows that yoga reduces stress levels in students and that those who practice yoga (thereby exhibiting lower stress levels) tend to perform better academically. ISRM Pediatrics report that a multimodel behavioral program including yoga and meditation can lead to measurable benefits in children with ADHD.
Did Someone Say Free Yoga?
The benefits of yoga are clearly countless, which is why we don't want money to be a barrier to access during this crazy time.
Join Sarah Kenny (200 hour RYT) every Sunday morning at 10am EST for a free, virtual 60-minute vinyasa flow. Sign up and we'll follow up with a personalized invitation in your inbox.