So why am I, a psychologist, writing about yoga? Because it works to heal anxiety and depression.
Have you ever observed a baby holding his feet up in the air while lying on his back? That’s yoga. “Happy Baby Pose”
Have you ever seen a baby lying in a crib face down with his legs curled up underneath him? That’s yoga. “Child’s Pose.”
Have you ever seen a child doing a shoulder stand, holding his legs up in the air? That’s yoga. “Shoulder Stand Pose.”
When we are born, our muscles and ligaments and organs are loose and free. As we age, with stress, we learn to hold our bodies rigidly. We tighten up which makes us more vulnerable to injuries and pain.
YOGA means “union of mind and body.” It is an ancient practice of stretching, twisting, turning, resting, breathing, and holding positions. This creates balance, strength, toning, and elongation of the spine.
Yoga requires that we stay present in the moment. We must pay attention to the positions of our arms and legs and feet and shoulders at all times. We must also pay attention to our breath as we move in and out of poses.
More men are learning the benefits of yoga. There are many men in the yoga studio where I go, 3-4 times a week. And men who weight train (which causes tightening of the muscles) practice yoga to elongate and relax their muscles. Most of the men in my classes are very muscular, as are the yoga teachers. It is a soothing, calming, centering form of exercise that fights depression and anxiety, all at the same time.
Try it? Start with Restorative or Gentle Yoga. Don’t compare and judge yourself. Move at your own pace. No pain. Then you can progress to Power Yoga or Hot Yoga if you want to more vigorous workout.
LIFE GOES ON©
Kathleen Cairns, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in West Hartford, Connecticut. She works with adults, adolescents, and couples. You may call her at 860-236-5555 to make an appointment. She is the author of “The Psychotherapy Workbook.” You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will try to answer as many of your questions as possible.
Life goes on… and every day matters…