Mental Health and Awareness in Application of Yogasanas

Mental health is a concept that refers to the psychological and emotional well-being of a person. Being inwardly healthy is more than just the absence of mental illness, it is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being. Lots of things can adversely affect our mental, health, including negative experiences in our family, at work, in relationships and past trauma. On the basis of different researches in the field of yoga, we can say that yoga can be significant tool/technique for achieving mental health. There are numerous types of Yoga (Patanjali,  Iyengar, Sivananda,  etc.). Each having its emphasis regarding the physical postures and exercises( asanas), breathing techniques ( pranayama), and meditation practices.

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Photo Credit: yogamypassion. co.uk

” The application of Yoga as a therapeutic intervention began early in the twentieth century. The physical exercises (asanas) may increase subject’s physical flexibility and strength. While the breathing practices and meditation may calm and focus the mind to develop greater awareness. As it will diminish anxiety, and thus result in higher quality of life. One investigation showed as many as 65% of individuals who practiced Yoga for three months reported improvements in their mental health and general well-being. Another study showed that after three months of Yoga, study participants reported their depression improved by 50% and their anxiety improved by 30% .”

Awareness in Yogasanas

Yoga as a traditional form of ‘exercise’ has captured the imagination of the world as a panacea for all evils. Anything with a prefix or suffix ‘Yoga’ sells. The essence of Yoga lies in the central idea that we can just focus on the physical practice of asana. Include the first two steps Yamas and Niyamas, which tell us that the methods and forms are not goals in themselves but the vehicles for getting to the essence of who we are. Individual transformation can thus help lead to social change.

Awareness of Yama:

  1. Not being violent towards oneself.
  2. Pushing hard to get into a pose, the body tense.
  3. Breathing erratic and mind agitated.
  4. Assessing self honestly to work according to one’s capacity.
  5. Awareness that each pose will give a sense of abundance.
  6. Encouraging lifting the pelvic energy towards the heart center and explaining this conserves the life force.
  7. Help to realize that we no longer feel the need to covet what someone else is.

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Photo Credit: en.Wikipedia.com

Awareness of Niyamas:

  1. That cleanliness is next to Godliness.
  2. Ensuring and protecting the sanctity of energy around us.
  3. Contentment, not working excessively hard. Force and feeling cannot coexist.
  4. Regular practice to build up the willpower
  5. Developing more skill in handling, containing, and redirecting previously self-destructive tendencies.
  6. Adopting an attitude of self- surrender, letting go

One may judge the progress made by questioning as follows: With yogic practice, are we moving to greater kindness, patience or tolerance towards others? Are we able to remain calm even when others around us become agitated and angry.? How we speak, how we treat other, is a testament to our progress, allowing for individual transformation to take place.

Harinder

Former Sailing Sea Captain at V.Ships, Miami, FL, USA (retired in 2009). Studied BA (Sophomore) at The Principia, now lives in Jaipur, India

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