Yoga for Mental Health

I encountered traumatic situations working as a nurse in the clinical setting. During those stressful years I witnessed and experienced nurse burn-out. Whenever I had a day or weekend off, it was spent vegging out or going to a continuing education program.  I took up running in my 30’s which helped to increase my physical stamina and clear my mind but I could not take a 5 minute break during a shift to go out and run.  Thinking back on those stressful years, Yoga would have been my best therapeutic self-healing intervention.  Just a 5-minute meditation in a Yoga pose would be all that I needed to clear my mind and reset my emotional state.

I have found Yoga to be excellent mental health therapy as a stress reliever and it is now the focus of my nursing interventions.  Over the years it has proven to be effective for all levels of stress including PTSD.

Today, Yoga is recognized as the go-to remedy for trauma induced stress.  In fact, Yoga is more effective than medication to address the effects of trauma induced stress upon the mind and body according to Bessell Van der Kolk, M.D.  Dr. Van der Kolk is the leading psychiatrist in the treatment of trauma and the author of the New York Times best seller “The Body Keeps the Score”.

The body holds onto the stress way after a traumatic event happens. Restorative Child’s pose in particularly gives the body a deep release of the muscles and deep connective tissue in the pelvic girdle.  After all, this is the area where we hold onto our emotions and where we can use the most support for our Root and Sacral Chakras.  Resting the head on a block while in supported child’s pose aligns the vertebrae in the neck where the pathway for the cranial nerves which include the Vegus nerve pass through from the from the brain stem.      

Overwhelming thoughts and emotions affect the ability to make decisions.  Mind clearing techniques such as meditation enables balance between the two sides of the brain. The late B.K.S. Iyanger identifies the “Mind is exactly in the middle of the two hemispheres of the brain.  If one starts seeing from this center then the two hemispheres of the brain come under control” (Yoga Rahasya; Vol. 21 No. 1 2014).   A simple self-mind clearing technique while sitting on a bolster in sukhasana balances the energy flow in the head and brain and promotes relaxation.  Self-Mind Clearing is an Energy Medicine technique that I learned from the Healing Touch Program. Subscribe to my You Tube Channel to learn about how to do the self-healing Mind Clearing Technique.

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