So far we’ve covered deep breathing, using a mantra, and meditation. Today we are talking about one of my favorites, yoga.
Yoga can help us with depression, mood, and feelings of self-worth. It offers us these benefits because it teaches us how to self-soothe, to start by taking smaller steps, to feel good in our skin, and to find support through community, especially if you are practicing in a studio (which isn’t necessary if you don’t want to!).
In classes such as restorative yoga we use poses that allow our bodies to settle in and our minds to relax. There are poses found across all types of yoga, such as child’s pose or pigeon where we are essentially folded in on ourselves that provide similar benefits, allowing us to invite in a sense of quiet and a space to focus on our breathing (are you starting to see how all of these tools and topics are related?). But you don’t always have to practice restorative yoga or specific poses to find these benefits. They can also be found in poses where our bodies may feel more sensation, whether it’s due to tightness or using more effort. Everyone enjoys, wants and even needs different styles of yoga and this can vary based on the day, our current mood, how our bodies are feeling and much more.
No matter what type of yoga or poses you choose to explore or use, remember, yoga is a PRACTICE. You are constantly building it, which can translate to building self-confidence. It’s all about progress, not perfection, and making progress allows us to settle in to poses and try new things as we open up to the experience. As a practice, it teaches us that everybody and every body is uniquely different. That in essence (unless you are doing something that could injure you), there is no right or wrong. It can also help to reinforce the fact that we not only look different in our poses but are also special in our own ways and have our own unique traits and things to offer.
Day 4 To-Do: So where do you start with a yoga practice? One option is to start at a yoga studio. The studio and teachers will help you to find a class that works for you and will help to guide you through your classes and poses. Not comfortable going to a studio? No worries, I wasn’t either when I first started. When I began my journey, I committed to 30 days of home practice using a course I found online. Between the paid and free resources and classes available online, you’ll have plenty of options available. In fact, a quick search will probably yield hundreds, if not thousands of results, so pick one that feels right.
Your goal today is to find a class, online or in a studio, and commit to at least 15 minutes of practice. Know that if you go to a studio, your class will likely be at least 60 minutes long. And if you can’t find anything online or the options feel too overwhelming today, use the poses in my other post (A Restorative Yoga Practice for Surrendering this Holiday Season) to get you started.