During the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a 25 percent global increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression. Around 1 in every 5 American adults live with mental illness, while countless more deal with the side effects of stress, worry, and mental strain.

Nothing can fully replace medical treatment and professional support for those dealing with a mental illness. But there are some things that you can do to help better support your mind and body. Yoga classes are one simple activity that can have a big impact on your mental health.

During a yoga class at Sun Rock Yoga, you’ll practice deep, mindful breathing, meditation, and mindfulness while also challenging and stretching your body. The combined effect of this is tenfold for both your mind and your body.

Let’s take a closer look at how regular yoga classes can help support your mental health.

The Ripple Effect of Mental Illness

Mental illness, including anxiety and depression, often have a ripple effect on a person’s health, as well as on their overall well-being. The symptoms of mental illness may include excessive fear or sadness, an inability to concentrate, mood changes, tiredness, low energy, issues with understanding, and more. These symptoms make it difficult to function and may cause a ripple effect in other areas of your life. 

You may find that you no longer enjoy things that you once did, so you’ll stop them. Your mental state could leave you without the energy you need to exercise or be active, which can lead to weight gain and even less energy. It can also make it difficult to connect with or support your family as you once did, which can put a strain on your relationships.

How Yoga Classes Can Help Your Mental Health

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness or not, adding exercises and habits to your routine that can help to combat the above symptoms can help you get your energy back, improve your mood, and help reduce the ripple effect that mental illness has on your life. These exercises and habits should encourage relaxation, reflection, and rest; yoga classes tick all of those off the list.

From an AM Power Yoga class to a relaxing Restore class, different styles of yoga are designed to help you reset and challenge your mind and body, allowing you to reap a variety of benefits. 

More Relaxation 

In our fast-paced world, most of us find ourselves struggling to “power off” at the end of a long and stressful day. Rather than relaxing after work or taking a break from the demands of caring for your family, most of us spend every waking moment thinking about various responsibilities or worries, or struggling to fit in as much as possible.

But during a yoga class, you’ll slow down your mind and your body. While you’re focusing on settling into a pose or on taking deep breaths, you’ll force negative thoughts and stress out of your mind. Research has shown that over time, regular yoga practice can help you improve your mindset and sleep better. This can have a ripple effect on different areas of your life. You’ll have more energy, feel more relaxed, and may even experience improvement in other mental health symptoms.

Less Stress

Does having a mental illness cause you to stress about various aspects of your life? Or does the stress of daily life contribute to your mental illness? Whatever the case, regular yoga classes can help you to reduce stress, which can help alleviate symptoms of mental illness and allow you to relax. 

Much like sleeping more, having less stress can have an impact on many different areas of your life. You’ll sleep better, enjoy fewer mood swings, and have more energy to focus on things that you enjoy.

A Community of Support

Another side effect of regular yoga classes is that you’ll begin to develop a new community of like-minded friends. When you attend the same classes time and time again, you’ll no doubt connect with others doing the same. Even if you never meet up outside of class, having others around you who share some similar goals and beliefs can go a long way towards helping you feel supported and connected. 

Mental illness can sometimes make us feel as though we’re all alone in our struggles. The bigger your support network, the more power you’ll have over those negative thoughts!

Better Overall Health

A healthy mind and body are necessary for balanced overall wellness. Yoga has been proven to reduce risk factors for a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s also been proven to reduce back and neck pain and even aid in the management of chronic illness. When your body is healthier, your mind will be better supported as well!

Adding Yoga Classes to Your Routine

Adding regular yoga classes to your routine can help support your mental health and overall wellness. You don’t need to be an experienced yogi to reap the benefits of regular practice; with a variety of types of classes to choose from, it’s possible to integrate yoga into your routine regardless of your experience or current fitness level.

For those new to yoga, a Chair Yoga class or Restore class is a great starting point to jumpstart your journey. Those with some yoga experience may find that an AM Power Yoga class is a great way to start your day on the right foot. A Mindful Flow class is also great for focusing on your mental state and breathing while also giving your body a great stretch and working on your balance, strength, and flexibility.

Choosing the right class for your experience and fitness levels is important. So is choosing the right yoga studio. The best places to do yoga training are studios that welcome students of all ages and abilities, and that offer a variety of class types. At Sun Rock Yoga, we believe that yoga is for everybody — and every body. From beginner-friendly classes to yoga teacher training courses and everything in between, we have a class for every stage of your yoga journey. 

Click here to check out our available classes to find the right one for you!