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Yoga for Mental Wellness

1 out of every 3 Canadians will be affected by anxiety and/or mood disorders. Child and adolescent incidents are on the rise.

The growing number of peer reviewed research is evidence showing that yoga can really help people living with anxiety and mood disorders. Dr. Kelly McGonigal, PhD Stanford University health psychologist and yoga instructor says ?yoga changes people at every level”

2012??Western and Eastern medicine complement one another [and] yoga is known to improve stress-related nervous system imbalances,? said Chris Streeter, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center ?This paper provides a theory, based on neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, to understand how?yoga helps patients feel better by relieving symptoms in many common disorders.? Streeter CC, et. El. 2012 May

2010?yoga poses are associated with greater improvements in mood and anxiety than a metabolically matched walking exercise. Streeter CC, et el. 2010 Nov

2009?Harvard Mental Health Reports Yoga Helps: Bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia, Depressions, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

2007?Canada, Researchers found, yoga helps Schizophrenia, anxiety, and other serious mood disorders. For a five year period, data was collected weekly with the following results: 85% of the participants reported a decrease in symptoms, pain, and felt less sleepy. 90% reported felt good, 98% reported they were looking forward to returning to yoga the following week.

2005?participants diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, all registered positive results in favour of yoga.

Yoga helps with Mental Wellness by focusing on:

1.?Breathing😕By filling the body up with oxygen and completely exhaling, we kick in the relaxation response which?reduces anxiety, muscle tension and symptoms related to various mood disorders. By learning to breath in slowly for the count of four we can begin to slow the heart rate, the adrenal gland produces less cortisol and the immune system begins to improve too.

?2.?Focusing the Mind: At the beginning of yoga, we give ourselves permission to let go of all the ?Chitta?/chatter inside the mind. Giving ourselves a mini vacation.

3.??Moving?the ?Body:?Physical postures ?focus on stretching, strengthening, balancing and coordination. When done correctly by an experienced instructor, the physical results are astounding. ?Try restorative yoga or gentle yoga poses that help ground you like restorative savasana, supported resting child, leg?s up the wall pose? -all these allow your body to restore its homeostasis.

Rave Reviews:

?I developed and coordinated the People in Motion program with Dr. Voruganti.? Yoga was just starting to become popular when we first developed the program.? I wanted yoga in the program offerings as it was novel, trendy, and relatively low cost.? My participants had no experience with exercise and it was important for the activity to be enjoyable for them to be successful at it.? However, what I did not expect was how well it reduced their mental health symptoms.? I knew we had struck gold when one young man spontaneously reported after his first class, ?Wow! I didn?t hear one voice for the past hour and a half?.? Jayne has a passion for yoga.? She had a calm and confident?demeanour?and is able to teach anyone yoga.?? -nurse

?Yoga with Jayne has helped control my symptoms??

You have transformed my sibling?s life for the better?

?My psychiatrist recommended Restorative yoga with Jayne and it has reduced my chronic tension by 50%?

??Yoga has made a real difference in our lives?

?I have taken yoga courses over the years to deal with stress, anxiety and depression. ?Yoga was of great benefit to me. I can see the need and benefit of offering yoga to the more vulnerable members of society–i.e. those with mental health issues and financial difficulties as the two often go hand in hand. ?

Yoga is a wellness solution,?which benefits the mind, body, spirit as well as the community and society in the long run. ?It is also a relatively inexpensive?solution aside from the pay for the instructor. ?It also doesn’t require drugs or a lot of specialized equipment. “

Story from a 23 year old ?client

I have had the opportunity to be involved in yoga classes for some time, even when I was in the more acute stages of my psychosis.

Yoga classes have helped me in many ways, including the following:

  • Learning to use my breathing as a calming strategy. (I use this almost daily and probably many times in a day.)
  • Focusing myself to stay out of my thoughts.
  • Increasing my awareness of what is happening in my body and using poses to release tension.
  • Restorative yoga has helped to give my muscles a message to relax, which has decreased headaches, neck and shoulder tension and even dizziness that is created at times by the level of tension in my muscles.
  • After a yoga class the decrease in tension in my body decreases my anxiety level and this can last into the next day.
  • I am able to sleep better and am also more alert during the day.
  • Yoga provides increased motivation to be healthy.

Yoga can assist ?in coping with the symptoms of serious mental health challenges.

Testimonial from a Caregiver

Mental health challenges affect not only the person with the illness but their family as well. My daughter’s journey with schizophrenia and anxiety has meant high levels of stress which we all know creates physical symptoms as well. I feel that yoga has been part of the self care that I have needed to pay attention to so that I have the resources to be helpful to my daughter in her recovery. Parents/caregivers can get lost in the daily struggles of their ill family member and forget about their own needs.

My daughter and I have taken yoga classes together which has helped her feel comfortable going when she is anxious and fearful.

Yoga itself has helped me to relax, eased muscle tension and increased my feelings of physical well being. After a class I feel re-energized to deal with daily demands and struggles.

Upcoming Talks:

Free?Community Talk: Tuesday, May 21st?at?7pm??“Helping Anxious Children through Yoga”?Location:?Grand River branch?of Kitchener Public Library (KPL)?For more information, visit page 14 KPL’s In Touch Magazine ?http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?referral=other&refresh=Sd307J1qe19B&PBID=38576424-8e12-4a70-b067-9012a9647a90&skip


Listen on line to?YOGA-TASTIC,YogaTastic_Logo??The Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative (CSRI) has just posted a?new webinar,?“Yoga as an effective tool t enhance a child’s ability to self regulate”???You may view the latest post at?http://www.self-regulation.ca/resources/webinars/?This webinar begins with an introduction by Dr. Stuart Shanker. Followed by an overview of how yoga can assist children of all ages and abilities to STOP and listen to their bodies and minds, develop self awareness, and learn techniques on how to become more calm, alert and optimize their learning experiences inside and outside of school. This presentation was designed and delivered by Jayne Hembruff, President of Innovative Wellness and ??expert on yoga for children? for the Canadian Self Regulation Initiative.

We would like to invite educators, parents, grandparents and others working and interacting with children, youth and teens to watch this webinar. ?Our greatest hope is that you will go away from this webinar with a greater understanding and appreciation of how much yoga will do for children, youth and teens, as well as be motivated to enjoy the benefits of yoga for yourself too. Our dream is to get YOGA-TASTIC into every classroom across Canada.