My Yoga Journey: How Yoga Has Helped Me With My Mental Health

In the past couple of months, I have found yoga to be my solace in times when I feel lost. It helps me quiet my mind and ease my anxiety when I‘m stressed about the future. It gives me strength for the day when all I want to do is lie in bed for days. It helps me tap into a new sense of self and appreciate my own body in a way I have never before. It‘s funny because a year ago I said I didn’t understand the hype around it... but now, I get it. I finally truly do. So here’s an insight into my yoga journey.

This is an excerpt of a text I posted on Instagram along with a photo of me doing a fun yoga pose a few weeks back. And as I have received so many messages about my yoga journey, I thought I’d share a bit about what yoga means to me, how I do it and why it has helped my mental health.

My Yoga Journey

I first ventured into the world of yoga about two years ago, when I first tried the 30 days of yoga challenge on youtube. Back then, I wrote a blog post about it and it is to date still one of my most read ones, with people clicking almost every day. I quickly lost interest again as life got in the way, though.

However, last autumn something changed. Life was busy and I was desperately searching for something to balance out my stress levels. And yoga was what fixed me. I started every weekday with a 20-30 minute yoga sequence to kick-start the day and prepare my body for my mainly seated day job.

Yoga kept me sane in the most difficult of times

This routine was what helped me most with my mental health in a time when everything felt like suffocating me. It did not only supply me with thirty minutes on my own, but also enabled me to meditate and balance out my mood. I especially loved the “TRUE” 30-Day Yoga challenge videos on days when I felt like everything was crumbling down around me. Because this is what is so beautiful about yoga – it is not only an exercise to power through, it connects body and mind and helped me tap into a sense of self that I had never had before.

Also, it brought a sense of accomplishment and pride to me, as I finally managed to do a headstand and handstand after weeks of practicing. I feel like with yoga you can so easily see progress in your posture, as well as your body. Whenever I’m doing yoga consistently my arms get so much more and I can very quickly see an increase in strength and also mental balance.

What is more, I feel like yoga is not merely an exercise regime for me, but a way to balance myself and meditate. I’m really bad at meditation and tend to fall asleep or completely drift off and start fighting myself in my head. A nice yoga session, however, is the one thing that gives my mind a break while tending to my body.

My current yoga practice

I must admit, I fell off the daily-yoga bandwagon when I quit my job and left Graz for three weeks of vacation this summer. I am slowly getting back into my routine now, however, and want to make morning yoga a habit again.

Also, I have ventured into yoga-classes too. I first went to a public outdoor class and immediately knew I liked it and wanted to do more classes and go more often. So I have signed up for a weekly 60-minute class during the winter semester and want to visit a studio more often. At home, I can only do about 30 minutes until my mind starts to wander, but I do enjoy 60-90 minutes of yoga when in lessons. It is different and I find it really helpful to have someone to show me when I’m doing a position wrong.

If you have never done Yoga, I would recommend starting with a youtube-challenge and then head out and try a beginners class. My favorite teacher Adriene is doing a 14-day plan this September and I have already signed up. I’d love to see some of you do it with me – so here’s the link to sign up too. 

Are you practicing yoga?

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