The Focus On You

Self-Care Is A Lifestyle

Tag: yoga (page 1 of 2)

Yoga, Mental Health and Healing: An Interview With A Yoga Instructor

Sometimes the things that look so simple, bring the most benefits to our lives. If you have been curious about yoga and wonder why people get hooked on it, this article can definitely help!

When we’re looking at restructuring our overall wellness, there are many healing activities that can incorporate your mind and body. I sat with a fellow mental health therapist, blogger, Podcaster and registered yoga teacher, Davia Roberts, and asked her to help us understand how yoga can change lives.

Davia was first introduced to yoga in her teens and she practiced it on and off throughout college. Fast forward a few years and in 2017 she decided to take the leap and become a registered yoga teacher. She spent three weeks in Costa Rica in September 2017 and acquired 200 hours of hatha yoga training.

Here are some highlights of our discussion:

“What surprises did you learn about yourself after the training program and what changes have you made since then?

Davia states that she learned how much of an introvert she really is. She realized how sensitive she is to people’s energy. As a therapist she listens to, and sometimes carries, other people’s wounds. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with this baggage. A fellow student in her training was impressed at how Davia was able to separate herself from uncomfortable energy. Davia realized how confident she really is because of this.

In yoga practice, there isn’t a focus on poses. The focus is on the feeling. Pinpointing where in your body you feel tension and discomfort. Davia can now pinpoint where she holds certain feelings and is more conscious about what she does with that energy. She is now changing how she handles stress, is open to asking for help from her “team” and prioritizing more quiet time to help her recharge. She emphasized that she is now more “proactive” instead of “reactive.”

Sidenote: If you’re a beginner to yoga but are serious about reducing your trauma or mental health symptoms, you don’t have to become an instructor to enjoy these benefits. Personally, I use yoga to help with fibromyalgia and as a stress reliever. Despite my aches and pains, I walk away from an hour-long session feeling like I got a massage. It loosens my tight, anxious and under used muscles and gives me one hour where I’m not thinking about anything but breathing and keeping my balance.

“Therapeutically, what benefits does yoga provide?”

Although yoga isn’t a cure-all for everything, it can provide relief from symptoms of anxiety. She added that anxiety can be wrapped up in many other diagnoses or ailments and having healthy anxiety reduction skills is crucial. Yoga can help you slow down and be present, regulate your breathing, slow your heart rate and quiet racing thoughts. Becoming more aware of your body can help you before your next anxiety attack. You understand how to ask yourself, “How can I slow down so I don’t have an attack.”

In addition, research now shows that certain yoga poses can help with depression. It helps reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to chronic pain issues. She also mentioned that for trauma sufferers, it is important to tell your yoga instructor that you don’t like to be touched. I have personally been in classes where an instructor may come by and assist you with stretches or correct your form. This isn’t always the case, but it’s worth noting.

Davia says she will soon begin yoga classes in collaboration with a mindfulness teacher in the women’s correctional system. Yoga stretches and breathing exercises are low maintenance and easily accessible tools for healing trauma and managing stress.

  “How does healing the body relate to healing the mind?”

Davia shared that therapy is now treating trauma as a physiological issue, and not just a mental health issue. Research is now showing how trauma gets “stuck” in our bodies and many people don’t know how to let go of it. Certain yoga poses have been shown to help with depression and stimulate parts of the body that may have trapped energy.

She emphasized that someone with trauma and/or mental health issues shouldn’t get forced into thinking their only solution is psychotropic medications or talk therapy. Therapists are moving away from traditional treatments and can now use free tools like yoga and mindfulness to help people manage their symptoms.

For further resources on mental health and wellness, check out Davia’s website, Redefine Enough. She hosts a biweekly podcast called Affirm (you can find me chatting on Episode 18 about Domestic Violence and Relationships) and will be hosting a webinar on February 15th called, Mental Health Maintenance For Creatives. Register here

How are you incorporating overall wellness into your routine this year? How could yoga help you or a loved one?

3 Ways I Diffuse My Anger

In my 2 years of blogging, this is the first time I feel it’s appropriate to talk about anger. With a new political climate and new year, our anger has been activated in a way we’re unfamiliar with.

I don’t handle my anger well and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have never directed any anger physically towards anyone and I have no arrest history related to anger and harm. On the contrary, I’m pretty non-confrontational. I get mad at dumb drivers like anyone else but this post isn’t talking about road rage. This is about the side-eye that turns ugly.

The side-eye that poisons your energy.

The side-eye that makes you distrust EVERYONE.

The side-eye that makes you difficult to be around and bleeds into your home.

In the midst of an angry and distrustful society, let’s look at 3 healthy ways I reset my mood. I will also include additional resources at the end!

STEP OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

Thank God for the delete function! How many times have you wrote a post (or text) and furiously deleted it after? GUILTY!! Let me save your reputation, social media footprint and your JOB by asking you to slowly step off social media. Trust me, sometimes my Twitter fingers want to get the best of me. Here’s how you can prevent writing that angry post or comment: email it to yourself. Whether you write it on paper or email yourself, please use this blogger’s favorite tool and EDIT. Write it down and look at it again in 60 minutes. Thank me later.

MOVE IT MOVE IT!

Did you know that physical movement is healing? Bi-lateral movements that use both sides of your body (walking, boxing, running, stair climbing, basketball) are healing to parts of your brain affected by trauma. Any kind of energy that gets trapped in your body is damaging. Shaking out your hands or doing jumping jacks are a good way to refocus your energy. I hold anger in my shoulders and neck. The downward dog position helps me stretch out those knots. Use loud breaths or sighs while pushing further in this pose. If work is the source of your frustration, get up and move around during your breaks. If you’re lucky enough to have privacy during a conference call, do jumping jacks or squats in your office. Additional tip: Walking my dog does wonders for my spirit. When I disconnect from the indoors and watch my beagle do her cute little strut, I can’t even remember what I was pissed about.

 

anger

 

GRAB THE MIC

If you follow my antics on Snapchat then you have seen my morning wake up calls. I play a motivating song to get my day going. Mind you, I’m not angry in the morning but I like setting my tone for the day with a song to get me hype. If music helps improve your mood, think about the feeling you DESIRE instead of being angry. If your anger needs to inspire healthy action (making positive changes, standing up for yourself) then choose songs with those messages. If your anger is unhealthy to your spirit or energy find songs or melodies that bring about peace, calm or humility. Stevie Wonder always resets my spiritual thermostat. When I feel anxious or scared I crave classic R&B (think Otis Redding & Sam Cooke). Make sure you have a Spotify or Pandora playlist that you can instantly turn to in case of emergency! Don’t forget instrumental music or sounds of nature to tune out bad vibes! In honor of my word of the year (bravery) I created an Apple Music playlist called “2017 Power List.” What will you call your playlist?

This weekend’s march utilized all of these suggestions above. I moved, I chanted and I somewhat disconnected

Managing your anger in healthy ways doesn’t mean you magically forget what made you angry. Resetting your mood helps you stay grounded so you can think & react clearly. Click To Tweet None of us want to say or do something we’ll regret. If you can’t seem to shake off your anger, seek out professional or spiritual help.

Additional resources:

Grief related anger: http://whatsyourgrief.com

Professional articles on anger for kids and adults: http://psychcentral.com

Healing Through Movement: Getting Back Up After A Broken Heart by Dr. Crista Gambrell

How do you effectively deal with anger??

Older posts

© 2018 The Focus On You

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: