Yoga and meditation have a powerful impact on our mental wellbeing. We often think we have to be flexible to do yoga, or calm to try meditation, and I’m here to tell you that neither of these notions are true!
Yoga is about meeting your body where it is, allowing it to take up space in the moment, and providing it with slow and purposeful movement.
Mindfulness and meditation have more to do with being present, and being aware of our thoughts, rather than disregarding them. Mindfulness can help us slow down and get to a place of calm, we certainly don’t have to be calm to start!
Yoga can provide substantial support to psychotherapy clients in a multitude of ways!
1. Physical Wellness
Yoga’s focus on physical postures and exercises can help improve strength, flexibility, and overall physical health. This can help clients feel better in their bodies, which can in turn support their mental and emotional wellbeing. Moreover, research has shown that physical activity can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, complementing the work done in psychotherapy.
2. Stress Reduction
Yoga is well-known for its stress-reducing effects. Through controlled breathing exercises and mindful movements, clients can learn to manage their stress more effectively. This can be particularly beneficial for clients dealing with anxiety disorders or those who have a high-stress lifestyle.
3. Mindfulness and Focus
Yoga also cultivates mindfulness and focus, which can help clients become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment. This heightened self-awareness can facilitate the introspective work done in psychotherapy, helping clients to better understand and manage their internal experiences.
4. Emotion Regulation
The practice of yoga can also support emotion regulation, a crucial skill in managing mental health challenges. By learning to stay present and calm in difficult yoga postures or breathing exercises, clients can apply these same skills to emotional challenges, learning to tolerate distress and stay grounded in the face of strong emotions.
5. Spiritual Growth
For some, yoga can also support spiritual growth or exploration, providing a sense of purpose or meaning that complements the psychological work of therapy. This can be particularly beneficial for clients dealing with existential concerns or those seeking a more holistic approach to mental health.
6. Enhanced Therapeutic Relationship
By participating in yoga, clients may develop a stronger therapeutic alliance with their psychotherapist, especially if yoga is integrated into the therapy sessions. This shared experience can build trust and mutual understanding, contributing to a more effective therapeutic process.
Yoga can be a valuable adjunct to psychotherapy, providing physical benefits, stress reduction, increased mindfulness, improved emotion regulation, enhanced therapeutic relationships, and potential spiritual growth. By engaging in yoga, psychotherapy clients may find they are better able to engage with the therapeutic process and apply the skills and insights they gain in therapy!
Speaking of which …
Interested in learning more about how Yoga and Psychotherapy are related and trying it out for yourself? Join the Yoga for … Every Body 6 week class series!