So how does Yoga help those suffering with mental health issues? From what I have experienced, it provides a “tool box” that can be used at any time….whether it be a physical Yoga practice to reconnect with the body and ease the tension that builds up, or whether it be the quietness of relaxation or meditation or the breath work……or indeed exploring the suggestions from the Yoga philosophy…….these are all tools that can be picked up and used.
I have also seen people receive strength from coming into a group where they feel safe and secure and part of something……for many it is the first time that they have felt part of a community. I have people in my classes that I met many years ago through my mental health work, and they are still practicing Yoga to this day.
Yoga provides us all with a system for growth and repair….simply coming onto your mat and into your body, meeting yourself without judgement or criticism…….these are such opportunities for healing on the deepest levels.
I have seen those coping with addiction, depression, phobias and other mental health conditions really benefiting from Yoga in so many ways…….many have expressed that often Yoga is the one thing that seems to make sense. Yoga is like a return journey, back to your true nature.

Ellen Lee has practiced Yoga for some 41 years, and taught for 26 years. Ellen has taught extensive Yoga for 14 years to people coping with physical and sensory disabilities, and has taught in mental health for over two decades. She also teaches general classes and Yoga Teacher Training. Ellen is the current Chair of The Independent Yoga Network
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