Mental Health Aware Yoga – A Compassionate and Embodied Approach to Healing
Challenges with mental health are a common experience. Research shows that nearly half of the people (45%) in Australia have experienced a diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives. (* Ref #1) This percentage doesn't include those who are feeling low, who are struggling, or who don't ask for help, so it is likely that the rate of individuals experiencing mental health challenges is considerably higher.
With yoga gaining increasing popularity in the west, significant numbers of people are coming to yoga to support their mental health. In response to the needs in the community, Skylight is now offering a Mental Health Aware Yoga program.
How does yoga help with mental health?
- Connection with self and others
- Self-regulation (being able to regulate our internal experience)
- Embodiment (being present and at home in our body)
- Mindfulness (bringing awareness to the present moment, your body, your thoughts and feelings)
- Self-knowledge and Acceptance (getting to know and accept ourselves just as we are)
- Self-care, Compassion and Kindness (the act of doing something for ourselves helps with mental health)
- Exercise (moving the body)
What do you experience in a Mental Health Aware Yoga class / program?
In Kate's Mental Health Aware Yoga programs, she offers an invitation to engage within mindful movements, breathing practices and a guided relaxation that support students to move and be present in their bodies and to connect with others. Kate offers an environment that is safe and supportive for all participants where they are accepted just as they are, including those experiencing mental health challenges.
At the beginning of a class, participants will be invited to engage within a breath and body awareness visualisation, followed by an invitation to engage with safe movement and stretching for every BODY, then ending with a guided muscle tensing relaxation and gratitude practice. The practice is wrapped up with an opportunity for sharing and discussion.
You do not need any previous experience to join and the program is open to all genders and physical abilities.
Skylight offers Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and Mental Health Aware Yoga. What's the difference?
The Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TSY) offered at Skylight is an evidence-based treatment method to support people living with the effects of trauma. TSY does not incorporate silent meditation, visualization, or breathing practices, as this may sometimes feel overwhelming or dissociative to trauma survivors. The focus is on making choices about how you would like to inhabit each yoga form, to check in with how it feels, and to adjust based on what you're feeling if you so desire.
Mental Health Aware Yoga is more broadly focused on supporting people experiencing all sorts of mental health difficulties. Movement, breathing, relaxation and gratitude practices can all help alleviate symptoms and feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. Mental Health Aware Yoga will always meet an individual with acceptance and compassion. For those who have experienced trauma and would prefer classes with more variation, Mental Health Aware Yoga will also offer a therapeutic calming space for participants to feel safe.
If you would like more information about Mental Health Aware Yoga, please visit www.mentalhealthawareyoga.com.
Mental Health Aware Yoga Programs at Skylight Mental Health are facilitated by Kate, who is an experienced and qualified Yoga Teacher and has completed the Mental Health Aware Yoga training with Clinical Psychologist and Senior Yoga Teacher, Dr Lauren Tober.
Attending Mental Health Aware Yoga
This group runs for 6 weeks on Wednesday evenings at Skylight Wayville and Friday afternoons at Skylight Parnangga
Reference #1 – Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2007). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, Australia, 2007. ABS cat. No. 4326.0. Canberra: ABS.