It is no secret that exercise benefits both your physical and mental health. Even a small amount can significantly increase your alertness, boost your mood and re-energise your body. While sports and intense gym regimes aren’t for everyone, more gentle mind and body workouts still offer huge improvements to your wellbeing. That’s why, at Breathe, we focus on the results you can achieve by practising yoga, Pilates and meditation.
The Link Between Yoga And Mental Health
One of the key aspects of yoga, which sets it apart from gym, sports or athletics, is self-awareness. Many who suffer from poor mental health find that mind and body practices can help enormously, and many of the techniques recommended to those with anxiety and depression are also found in yoga, such as breath work.
In a study published in April in JAMA Psychology, researchers found that performing only half the recommended amount of exercise lowered the risk of depression by 18% compared to those who didn’t exercise at all. Furthermore, one of the largest studies to explore the connection between exercise and mental health found that more than 50% of those with depression noticed a significant improvement in their symptoms after starting weekly yoga lessons.
Yoga as a form of treatment for depression is something that continues to be studied in great detail, as the positive impact that it, and similar practices, have on your mind and body are undeniable.
Let’s explore them a little further:
Types Of Mind And Body Exercise
Yoga is the complete science of life which originated in India many thousands of years ago. It is the oldest known system of personal development and encompasses body, mind and spirit.
Many people are first drawn to yoga as a way to keep their body fit, strong and supple and help relax their mind. With regular practice you notice subtle changes in your approach to, and experience of, life. Using yoga postures to increase body awareness allows the mind to be still and develops a profound sense of inner peace.
Because yoga is a personal journey, to really enjoy your practice it’s important that you feel totally comfortable with your teacher. Working 1-to-1, or in a small group, allows the teacher to personalise the class to your specific needs.
Meditation is a calming practice designed to increase present moment awareness. We focus our attention on a single object, perhaps a sound, breathing, or sensations in the body, and eventually a mood or mental state. Because our attention inevitably wanders, we use meditation to cultivate stillness, and to connect rather than escape. Meditation helps us face our experiences, suffering, and reactivity in a friendly way and can therefore help us become more resilient to stress.
The aim of Pilates is to restore the natural strength and structure of your body and allow it to work to its full potential with the least amount of effort. Drawing inspiration from both Eastern and Western exercise regimes, it works muscles on a focused, deep level to help develop correct postural alignment, enhance flexibility, stabilise the spine and support the back. While this type of exercise offers clear physical improvements, it will inevitably have a positive impact on your mental health too.
Connect With A Teacher
It goes without saying that when you feel healthier, you feel happier. In fact, research shows that those with long-term physical health concerns also suffer from mental health struggles. For many, this may impact their ability to immerse themselves in certain activities, but one of the great things about mind and body exercises is that they are extremely accessible. So at Breathe, our goal is to make yoga, Pilates and meditation accessible for everyone, regardless of ability, age, location, experience or confidence level. We offer private lessons in person in London and online anywhere else in the world, with each session designed specifically for you by one of our highly experienced hand-picked instructors.
Take your first step towards better mental health and allow us to pair you with the perfect teacher. Just call +44 20 8452 8322, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our contact form to start your journey towards improved mental and physical wellbeing.