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1914 Brunswick Avenue #1b | Charlotte, NC 28207 | 704.910.2055

There’s a lot of buzz around yoga these days.  So what’s the big deal? I think part of what has made yoga so popular is that it is more than just a workout.  It is also a mindfulness practice, which offers benefits for mind and body.  As a therapist, I want to share some of the mental health benefits I have seen (and experienced) in yoga and why I recommend it to so many clients.

  1. Yoga connects you to your breathing. I once met a yoga teacher who would say “If you’re breathing, you’re doing yoga.” The core of yoga is your breath. And breathing is powerful in any environment.  As a therapist, breathing exercises are the simplest and most accessible tools I teach to manage stress and anxiety.  Breathing has immediate effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.  Therefore, yoga’s focus on the breath makes it a wonderful practice for emotional balance and stress management.

  2. Yoga teaches you to keep breathing through the discomfort. When something gets difficult or uncomfortable, our automatic response is typically to hold our breath, grip, tense, and muscle through.  Yoga, however, teaches you to keep breathing, find ease, and release tension, even in the midst of difficulty.  Whether it’s a difficult emotion, mental stress, or muscle fatigue, continuing to breathe and finding ease in the discomfort is such a powerful skill for building resilience.

  3. Yoga connects your mind and body. Many of us live in our heads, generally unaware of the signals and sensations of our bodies.  But your body has so much to tell you.  I often tell clients that we call emotions “feelings” because we literally feel them in our bodies.  Emotional awareness and intelligence starts with your body.  In fact, your body is constantly sending you signals about what you need: when you are hungry and full, when you need rest, when something is wrong, when you need comfort, what is important.  Your body is the source of your intuition (there’s a reason they call it a “gut feeling”).  Yoga teaches you to tune into your body, notice sensations, and trust the signals your body is sending.

  4. Yoga connects you to others. Within the yoga space, connection is fostered through the shared experience of the practice.  For many, it is even a spiritual practice. But it doesn’t stop there.  When you are more fully connected and attuned to yourself, you can more authentically connect with others.  You can share your feelings and experiences. You can ask for what you need.  We are psychologically wired for connection.  It is foundational to our mental health, and our overall health.

If you’ve been on the fence about trying yoga, I encourage you to give it a chance.  If you are in the Charlotte area, consider checking out Isaiah Counseling and Wellness. We offer yoga in a small, intimate, judgement-free environment for any skill level.  You don’t have to be flexible or have fancy yoga pants. We’ll even provide you with a mat!