Mental Health Awareness Week: Yoga for Kindness

yoga-for-kindness-mental-health-awareness-week

This week is Mental Health Awareness week (18th May – 24th May 2020). Each year there is a different theme and this year the theme is kindness, where we are encouraged to give to others and spread kindness. Why? Because, one thing that we’ve seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times. So inspired by this, this week’s class is 30 minute beginners yoga for kindness. 

Most of us will actively look after our physical health, but neglect to look after our mental health. We tend to forget that just like physical health, we all have mental health. And at some point in our life we will go through periods of troublesome mental health – just like we can get a cold or the flu, we might experience periods of depression or anxiety.

Sadly there is still much stigma surrounding mental health. We might talk about having a personal trainer, but often we don’t talk about speaking to a physiotherapist. Mental Health Awareness week is about ending this stigma.

Why Kindness?

Because it’s good for our health and wellbeing. And because #kindnessmatters

Kindness helps others feel good. It makes us feel good. It can create a sense of belong and reduce feelings of isolation. And kindness spreads – one act of kindness often leads to more acts of kindness.

What can I do?

Random acts of kindness towards another – it can be someone you know or someone you don’t know. It can be as big or as small as you like. The idea is to give to another, with no expectations to receive anything in return. The act of giving and kindness is contagious – so the more random acts of kindness we do, the more we spread kindness.

The Mental Health Foundation have listed other ways in which you can get involved, which I definitely recommend checking out.

If you would like to find out more about mental health and wellbeing, I was invited for an interview for the Knowle West Podcast earlier this month. I, along with Dan (from the Bristol Council) and Lewis (Knowle West Media Centre) discussed Mental Health and COVID-19, and some of the things we can do to help look after out mental health. Feel free to check it out – link is above.

Yoga for Kindness

The theme for today’s yoga class is kindness. We will start by setting an intention for the class, which will be to be kind to ourselves and to be kind to others. Setting an intention is a great way to bring focus to a set purpose or aim that you would like to achieve. Doing this means we are more likely to achieve our aim, both on and off the mat.

We’ll then move into the physical practice, which will include a lot of heart opener poses, which will open and stretch the chest and strengthen the upper back. This is great for anyone that spends a lot of time sitting down, particularly if you work at a desk or do a lot of driving. And if you’re into chakras – this will also open the heart chakra, which is thought to be associated with emotions such as compassion and kindness.

We will then end the practice with a short kindness meditation.

Props:

I’ve put together a short video on the different yoga props and household items you can use in their place. If you’re new to yoga, I’ve also put together this Beginners Guide to Yoga.

For this class you’ll need:

Yoga for Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Day 2020

If you enjoyed this class please like the video and subscribe to the channel. I post a new free class each Wednesday, so this will ensure you keep updated.

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