The ancient Eastern practice of yoga is a spiritual experience of the mind, body, and soul. But how exactly does yoga help balance your mental wellbeing?

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and currently, there are over 300,000 people practicing yoga in the UK, so now more than ever is the time to give it a go.

Some people go into yoga hoping for the physical health benefits, and some peace and quiet for an hour after a busy day at work, but what they don’t realise is that they can be helping their mental wellbeing as well.

Something that can take its toll on your mental wellbeing is stress. Whether that be from work or your personal life letting this pressure build up is not good for your mental wellbeing.

A popular breathing technique in yoga, called Pranayama, focusses on being able to control your breathing and it has been said increases the positive energy levels in the body and removes toxins.

Through trying yoga and Pranayama I realised that it really did have a positive effect on my mental wellbeing.

Going to my yoga classes I would enter them feeling tense and stressed however, once they had begun I would feel myself slowly start to unwind. The things that I had looked at so negatively during the day started to drift away and when I left the class I would feel refreshed and energised, despite being so tired before going.

I found going to yoga and assessing my day in a state of meditation gave me the strength to deal with my everyday challenges and changed my outlook on situations eventually not just when I was at my yoga class but in my daily life.

There are many different types of yoga that focus on different aspects of your mind, body and soul. Finding the one that works for you may take time but will be worth it.

Credit: Meg Callahan

Hatha Yoga is one of the most commonly used methods with it being a combination of yoga postures and breathing to bring peace to both the mind and body getting you ready for meditation.

This style is usually gentle and slow. If you’re new to yoga and want to try it out perhaps give this sort of class a go as it will ease you into it a bit until you become more comfortable it.

Vinyasa Yoga is a similar type of yoga however, where Hatha yoga focusses on you maintaining poses for a prolonged period of time, Vinyasa is a quicker paced class in which you rapidly flow from one posture to another.

There are plenty of places to try out yoga in Cardiff. If you’re feeling stressed or just generally run down, give yoga a go.

Stretchy Suzies in Cathays hosts a selection of yoga events and workshops for you to try out. You can sign up for a monthly membership or it is possible to pay as you go and see if yoga is the one for you.

Practicing mindfulness with yoga can help free the mind from your daily struggles and problem and leaves you refreshed and with a more positive outlook on your day to day life.

Not sure if you should give it a go? Try out our quick quiz to find out how mindful you already are.

Words by Lydia Caunce

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