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Yoga for Mental Wellbeing

Guest Post By Claire Nettley – President of Yoga Australia 

Yoga has a history of over 5,000 years claiming to promote physical and mental health, and spiritual growth. It’s no wonder that everyone is getting hooked!

President of Yoga Australia, Claire Nettley says, “There are currently thirty million people worldwide practising yoga. At Yoga Australia we have approximately 2,500 registered teachers and research would suggest there are approximately 300,000 people practicing in Australia.”

Yoga is about harmonising and unifying your body, mind and breath. It incorporates physical postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation, philosophy and much more to cultivate both physical and mental health, as well as a greater sense of self- awareness.
Regular Yoga practice can have a profound affect on your physical, emotional and mental health.

Yoga has been proven to help with anxiety and depression. Research shows that yoga and meditation can help manage the body’s stress response, as it lowers blood pressure, slows breathing and your heart rate. Through various breathing practices, yoga can also improve the respiratory system, making you feel calmer and in-turn better equipping you to deal with external stresses.

Yoga also stimulates the brain and nervous system, which helps improve memory and concentration level. Through the integration of breath, movement and other exercises such as chanting, the mind becomes more focused. We also become more centered, self-aware and neuromuscular function can be improved.

To see the mental health benefits of yoga for yourself, try these poses in the comfort of your own home:

• Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani) – Great for grounding and centering. Simply lie on one side in the fetal position with your bottom to the wall, then roll onto your back and extend your legs,
place a pillow under your lower back and relax your arms to either

• Child’s pose (Balasana) – Useful for calming and nurturing. Start by
sitting on your heels, lower your chest and bring your forehead to the floor (or on top of a blanket or your fists if your head doesn’t reach the floor). You can outstretch your arms in front of you with palms on the floor or bring your arms to your sides with palms facing up. If your bottom doesn’t reach your heels, place a blanket or two in between for extra support.

• Corpse pose (Savasana) – To relax and restore. A simple one, but no yoga session is complete without this final pose. Lie on your back and let the feet fall out to either side, place the arms alongside the body with palms facing up, relax your whole body including the face and let the body feel heavy and allow your breathing to occur naturally. You can always place a bolster or rolled up blanket under the knees of the lower back is a bit tender.

This Sunday, 21st June, yogis from around the nation will come together to celebrate the first annual United Nations Yoga Day. Yoga Australia will be part of this celebration at the official UN World Yoga Day event at Bondi Pavilion. The official event program includes: yoga classes, meditation sessions, wellbeing workshops, panel discussions, a colourful marketplace and delicious food. To get tickets to the official event go to: http://worldyogaday.com.au

Yoga Australia will also be hosting events across the nation to mark this significant occasion in the yoga calendar. For more details on local events near you, go to: http://bit.ly/1FEoIKE

June 23, 2015