In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, The Gentle Practice is opening its yoga practice to the public, with sessions that provide relief for those struggling with mental health.
The month of May raises awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma so many experience. Hospitals and health systems play an important role in providing behavioral health care and helping patients find resources available in their community. The Gentle Practice, alongside our healthcare professionals, create unique partnerships to address behavioral health issues in non-traditional ways.
Not a healthcare professional, but experiencing high levels of stress and looking for relief from your struggle with mental health? I invite you to join one of our virtual sessions, alongside our healthcare clients who are here to support your mental health needs.
In 2018, I developed a specialized yoga approach called The Gentle Practice, tailored to the physical, mental and emotional needs of healthcare workers. With its emphasis on breathing practices and meditation, both of which help calm and center the mind, yoga also brings mental benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression. Researchers compared brain imaging and chemical measurements in people who do yoga for 45 minutes to others who practiced a sedentary form of relaxation like listening to music or reading. The levels of good brain chemicals are higher in those who practiced yoga.
As a form of low-impact exercise, yoga has been shown to lower stress hormones in our bodies while simultaneously increasing beneficial brain chemicals like endorphins and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). These feel-good chemicals help decrease anxiety and improve mood. Another benefit, the practice of yoga has been shown to slow the natural aging process. Making yoga a part of our lives can help protect against the effects of aging on our memory and cognition.
An added benefit to The Gentle Practice sessions is that it allows a “Safe Space” for in-group talk therapy for those experiencing increased stress, isolation, depression and all that effects our mental health, especially coming out of a pandemic and dealing with today’s challenging times.
Never practiced yoga before? Not a problem. For people who are starting out, the first step is learning how to focus on just the feeling of breath going in and out of the body,. If you are in tune and focused on that, you're not worried about anybody else's opinions, judgments or other stressors and pressures. Unlike so many physical activities that become more difficult with age, yoga is a lifelong, non-competitive form of exercise that allows you to connect with a supportive community — even a virtual one.
It can also be a solo practice, part of a dedicated time to step away from the stress of the day and focus on yourself. That’s why The Gentle Practice not only offers group sessions, but also private one-on-one sessions by appointment.
Ready to start your mental health relief journey? I’m here to help. Book your session online now. First time with The Gentle Practice? Your first class is free. Simply email me that you are interested in joining a session, and I’ll send you a personal code to join me on a date/time that works for you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practicing yoga is a journey toward improvement. It begins with accepting yourself at all levels, and then experiencing the physical and mental benefits that naturally follow. Make mental health a priority, and allow yourself to live the healthy, happy life you deserve.
by Deanna Cahill, E-RYT 200 - Yoga Alliance Expert Level Teacher
Visit or click www.thegentlepractice.com to join a class, book a private session, or secure a monthly membership.