As the country heads towards a Level 5 lockdown on Wednesday, it’s such an exaggeration to say that most of us are currently facing additional stress and anxieties that we don’t know how to deal with. By now, we all know about the mental health benefits of exercise, meditation, and yoga for our bodies – even a daily yoga routine of 15 minutes before bed can have a big positive impact on your body. our mental and physical health.
Yoga and deep breathing are scientifically proven to reduce stress, release muscle tension, increase flexibility and blood circulation, improve balance and fitness, while slowing your heart rate and blood pressure. If that’s not enough to convince you, it can also help your sleep cycle.
Sleep deprivation is an epidemic these days and can have a very profound effect on your mood, weight and mental well-being. It’s no surprise that we are all more anxious, stressed and overwhelmed than ever at the moment, so practicing and building a good self-care routine has never been more important.
Someone we don’t have to convince is Wellness and Meditation Instructor Michael Ryan, who is thankfully available to tell us how yoga and meditation can be our best friends during this lockdown.
Ryan was introduced to yoga because he was born with hip dysplasia and has struggled with pain throughout his life. He told RSVP Live:
“I actually took up yoga because I was born with my hips displaced and during my childhood I had severe pain. It wasn’t until I discovered yoga that I realized that much of the pain I was feeling could be used as a tool to awaken different parts of myself. So if I hadn’t had this pain, I wouldn’t have taken this route, and it has been the most rewarding trip of my life.
Ryan says it’s so important to have a good personal care routine during the winter months:
“With practices like yoga and meditation, many of them are orchestrated towards the idea of cleaning up the system so that we can come back to a more neutral space and be comfortable with our perspective on the world.
“In the darker months, we can be a bit stuck emotionally and psychologically, and we can also get sluggish by not moving around as much in the winter, so having a yoga practice really supports the idea of cleaning up the system and us. help with the more difficult times like waking up on dark and dreary days.
“We have such an epidemic of mental disorders, stress and anxiety in this country that we are not told about, so talking about mental health and paying attention to this aspect of life is essential. Our world is now. so crazy and hectic at the moment so it’s important to take care of ourselves.
“It’s almost taboo to open up about mental health issues, maybe less now because you have people talking about depression and depression and it’s just a matter of paying attention.
“When your body needs attention it gets sore and tells you – your brain does too. We have to prioritize it. Sometimes it can be seen as a luxury to do something good for ourselves. , but it’s a necessity. If something gives up in your body, you can’t move until you’ve tackled it, and we seem to have a ‘Go for it, you’re awesome’ mentality, but we need a change of state of mind for mental and emotional well-being is not good for anyone unless we have taken care of ourselves.
“It’s important to have friends that you can connect with and say, ‘You know what, I’m struggling,’ and just being able to embrace our vulnerability and how difficult things are right now.
“When we move into anxiety and know we are overwhelmed, whether it’s yoga or not, it’s about taking time for yourself and allowing yourself to stop. we may be so obsessed with ‘Getting to Friday,’ so much that we miss the travel experience.
“We are pulled in different directions in life and yoga is about putting all of these pieces together and grounding us. And you can start that anytime in your life!
“If you put a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water, it’s going to taste really salty. But if you add a teaspoon of sugar to a sea of water, you’re not going to taste it. What I’m saying is when we are sad or struggling with something, we are the cup of water, and our perspective gets smaller and smaller. When we have a practice like yoga or meditation, or whatever it is for you, it has a way of opening yourself up to making it easier for you to deal with tough times, so it’s about knowing times are tough now, but accepting them for what they are. as part of the experience and not to be overwhelmed by it.
“It’s like we’re a three-wheeled car, and these practices are almost a way to drop the last wheel and say ‘Okay, I got this now.'”
Michael says that when it comes to dealing with difficult situations in life, it’s important to maintain a broader level of perspective and tell yourself that it’s going to come and go, something that we absolutely all owe. remember right now.
He says many of us don’t focus on our mental health until something happens in life that requires us to:
“Winter is an invitation to rest more, it’s a time when we can slow down a bit. Developing and focusing on rest or how we could rest better is a very important part in self-care. Many of us don’t pay attention to self-care unless something happens that requires it. But we should look at it before we get to this point. meditation and breathing work will help a lot.
“Sometimes we can get our eight hours of sleep and we still don’t wake up feeling rested because it all depends on the quality of the rest, we don’t think about it but it’s actually a skill! we go to bed, we calm our body and slow down, and then we notice what is going on in our head, so it is important to train the mind to fall into a deeper state.
“It’s about making small changes, like turning off your phone at least an hour before bed, trying not to bring the phone to the bedroom, reading a book, and working on breathing or meditation.”
If it’s good enough for the president, it’s good enough for us! After all, isn’t Michael D. the coolest guy ever ?!