Whether you define yoga and mindfulness as movements, hobbies, trends, disciplines or something else, what is irrefutable is they are about as mainstream, popular and influential as they come right now.
Everyone who practices yoga and engages in some form of mindfulness meditation is unique and will have a different outcome or goal in mind they get onto the mat or cushion. That being said, this brief article is going to specifically look at how mindfulness and yoga can have a positive impact on mental health.
While yoga and mindfulness are nothing new they both have rich and intricate histories that span thousands of years, in the past few years their popularity has skyrocketed.
Data from search giant Google suggests that searches for “mindfulness apps” and “yoga for beginners” grew by 65% year-on-year (2016 – 2017) and the volume continues to increase. On a similar note, since 2015 over 2,500 meditation apps alone have since 2015. It just goes to show how large our collective appetite for holistic wellness has become.
Now, in terms of the benefits of both practices, many studies have been conducted with a view to gauge their impact on mental health. This particular study concluded that “both yoga and mindfulness have demonstrated significant benefit in reducing the severity of depressive symptoms”.
A piece published in The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice concluded that: “There is growing research evidence supporting the use of yoga as an adjunct or combination therapy for the management of stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness has been indicated as a potential mechanism of change…”
Alongside the growing body of scientific evidence, there is also plenty of anecdotal evidence as to the effectiveness of mindfulness and yoga in positively impacting mental health.
One such example is Scott Robinson, an experienced finance professional in London who turned to yoga and meditation as a means of dealing with his stressful job. Now under the moniker of Yogibanker, he uses his yoga teacher training to help fellow professionals in high-pressure jobs deal with anxiety and stress. In an interview for the HFE blog, he says: “For me, yoga was all about creating a good ‘space’ during stressful times… I was in the City, a new institution, I was managing a team for the first time, and yoga was really there to help me get through that period. It was almost like my refuge or sanctuary which I could go to regularly – just to create a little bit of space to take the edge off the day. As a result, I’d sleep better and go back to work the next day and be in a better space mentally.”
If you’re keen to learn more about yoga and mindfulness, there is no shortage of resources and training out there. One particular place you could start, if you’re keen to help others, is by enrolling onto a yoga instructor course and becoming a fully qualified yogi. For more about the intricacies about mindfulness, right here on the Satis site would be a great place to start.