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How Yoga Philosophy Can Improve Mental Health

August 26, 2020 Heidi Green, Psy.D.

Have you ever wondered about the mental health benefits of the yoga philosophy? I always felt emotionally refreshed after a yoga class and recently I began yoga teacher training. I've been so fascinated by everything I am learning about the philosophy of yoga. Read on if you, too, are interested in understanding how yoga philosophy can improve your mental health.

Yoga Philosophy Goes Beyond the Yoga Class

Yoga philosophy goes well beyond asana, or the poses we do in a yoga class. It includes breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness. Yoga philosophy also embodies a way of being and includes guidance for how to treat oneself and others.

My teacher said something that resonated with me and I've been holding onto it ever since. She said,

"We are all divine beings having a human experience."

I keep coming back to it when I have a painful, emotional experience. When that happens, I say to myself,

"I am a divine being having a human experience."

When I say this to myself, it helps me release my inner critic and remember:

  1. I am innately as good, valuable, and worthy as all other humans.
  2. I struggle with my emotions and my self-concept because it is part of the human experience.
  3. Being a human can be hard, but I’m not alone. We are all in this experience together.

Yoga Philosophy Encourages Self-Reflection

I haven't kept a journal in a long time, but an important part of being a yogi is engaging in svadhyaya, or self-reflection. I've been journaling again and have found it a wonderful way to connect to myself. Here are some of the journal prompts I found most helpful:

  1. What emotions am I feeling?
  2. What do I feel in my body?
  3. How do I feel spiritually?
  4. What does my self-talk sound like?
  5. What's going well?
  6. Where do I feel gratitude for myself?

I like these prompts because they encourage me to notice what feels good, not-so-good, and neutral in my life. This way I maintain balance in my thoughts and don't just focus on the negative.

How would yoga philosophy improve your mental health? Share your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
Green, H. (2020, August 26). How Yoga Philosophy Can Improve Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, January 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2020/8/how-yoga-philosophy-can-improve-mental-health



Author: Heidi Green, Psy.D.

Heidi Green is a clinical psychologist and self-love aficionado. She lives her blissful life in Arizona where she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and snuggling her rescue pups. Find Heidi on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and her blog.

Please note: Dr. Green shares her personal opinions and experiences and nothing written by her should be considered professional or personal services or advice.

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