More and more people nowadays are struggling with mental illness. In fact, the situation has become so severe that almost 50 million people go through mental health-related trials and tribulations every day in America alone. Add up the numbers from the rest of the world and the stats are grimmer than ever before.
For someone dealing with any of the stages of schizophrenia, or with major clinical depression or any other type of disorder of the mind, all hope might seem lost. Fortunately, not only has Western medicine progressed tremendously but now we also have holistic therapies.
The Benefits of Yoga
One important such therapy is yoga in all its forms, be it Asanas, Bhakti, or any other of the many limbs. There is a difference in approach with each of these. Some are more traditional, while others embrace freedom of form. Some are better performed in hot rooms, while others promote the healing powers of the great outdoors.
To sum it up, yoga comes in many shapes and sizes. This means that you will certainly find a style that is just right for you. And now, recent studies show that yoga has five important benefits for people who suffer from mental illness. They are as follows:
• Increased awareness. People that take up yoga long-term become more aware of their self, as well as that of others and their general surroundings. This is beneficial for patients trying to combat mental disorders because it keeps them grounded and helps them not lose track of themselves.
• A sense of security. By practicing yoga regularly, together with your doctor prescribed medication and therapies, you will regain your strength. By surrendering yourself completely to a higher being such as in the practice of Bhakti yoga, you can anchor yourself back into reality and become powerful again.
• Better focus. Mentally-ill patients usually have trouble adapting back to their daily lives due to difficulties with attention. Yoga improves your focus, which will make it easier for you to cope with everyday tasks.
• Acceptance. To successfully transition from therapy back ‘real’ life, you will need to learn acceptance in order to overcome the limitations imposed by your illness. This comes in many forms, and fortunately, the entire philosophy of yoga is heavily centered around acceptance.
• A sense of Calmness. Types of practices such as Asanas or breathing techniques promote calmness and help induce relaxation in agitated patients. This is especially useful for those struggling with ailments of the mind because it allows them to regain composure and clarity of thought.
How to Use It
According to TIME Magazine, a study conducted at Duke University has uncovered evidence that yoga has positive effects not only on milder disorders such as insomnia or mild depression, but also for more serious illnesses such as schizophrenia, PTSD, and ADHD. Still, there’s a catch: it has to be used together with appropriate medication and other forms of licensed medical therapy.
This means that a doctor’s supervision is crucial. While some might believe that this takes the joy out of the practice, that isn’t necessarily true if you have the right outlook. Of course, there is a lot of freedom in doing things your way. But to reap the full aforementioned benefits, you will require medical assistance. Remember not to see this as something restrictive, but rather as a step towards absolute liberation.
When you suffer from any form of mental illness, it’s important to do things you are comfortable with, but also once that are right for you. And in the case of any health concern, the best person to advise you is a licensed physician. Thus, don’t be afraid to inform your doctor of your intention to practice yoga, but make sure to lend an ear to what he or she has to say about it.
Yoga and modern medicine need to work together for you to achieve the best possible results. Combining their powers can liberate you from the shackles of your disease and allow you to live freely to the best of your ability.
Although alternative therapies have been overlooked in the treatment of mental disorders for the longest time, now people are starting to embrace their curative abilities. One of the best and most appreciated holistic approaches to treating the mind is yoga in all its forms.
The essential thing to remember is that the best way to go about this is in combination with a doctor prescribed routine that may involve medicine and/or counseling. If you are considering yoga in your quest to overcome the limitations imposed in your life by your illness, make sure to check in with your physician first.
About the Author:
Alex Moore has a minor in psychology and a major interest in the power of Yoga, as a means of healing and improving. If you’re interested in more of his works, whether we’re talking about meditation or mental illness, you’ll find him writing for www.schizlife.com