Balancing Your Mind and Body with Yoga

By
yoga

Balancing our mind and body can be a difficult task. We may neglect our bodies, or our thoughts and emotions based on what kind of stress we experience. If you notice feeling stuck in your head and not in the present moment, this can be a sign of anxiety or stress. If you are experiencing uncomfortable body sensations such as stomach aches or headaches, this also may be a sign that we are stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. Our bodies respond to stress in ways that we may initially think is a physiological concern. But when it is not a physiological concern, you could consider utilizing other methods to ease symptoms other than medications. Yoga can be a great tool to get our mind and body back into feeling comfort and establishing equilibrium.

The movement of our bodies, the stretching of our limbs, and the breath work that we do in yoga can be rejuvenating for not just our physical health, but also our mental health. We often hear about staying present and being in the moment, but we may forget to bring our bodies with us. This is an essential part of taking care of our needs. Attending to one, and not the other, may not alleviate our stress or anxiety symptoms.

Yoga will help to center and ground you. It allows you the opportunity to attend to your mind and body more clearly. When this is possible, you may be able to tune into what you are needing to do more to bring your mind and body back into balance. Grounding and centering ourselves also allows us to stay in the present moment. Especially in today’s world with social media, busy and stressful jobs or careers, and existential worries, giving ourselves opportunities to be in the present versus the past or the future is incredibly helpful. Yoga may also be helpful to practice when you are not necessarily feeling anxious or stressed. Getting ourselves mentally and physically in a present space regularly can help us to manage and navigate any stress we experience more effectively.

There are many types of yoga that are available. Some practices are slower and allow you to sit in poses for longer periods of time. This can help bring attention back to the body or the mind, depending upon what you need. Other yoga practices, such as vinyasa or “flow”, focus on moving through poses with your breath. You get to decide what kind of practice would be best for what you are needing. You don’t need to be an expert yogi in order to experience it’s benefits. Whether you do yoga daily or twice a year, each time you practice allows you to be more present in your mind and body. You can practice at a studio or on your mat at home; you can flow for a half hour or sit in your two favorite poses for five minutes. The beauty of yoga is to take what works for you and apply it as needed.

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Alyssa Greene, LPCC has a Masters degree from University of Wisconsin in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is a licensed therapist  practicing in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Alyssa has experience in working with various populations, but most experience working with eating disorders and body image.
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