How to Improve your Mental Health Through Yoga

By Megan Moser

Whether you’re going through a health journey or just generally wanting to better your overall health it is important to recognize that caring for your mental health is just as crucial as tending to your physical health! I think we can all agree that in today’s hectic and demanding world, finding practices that promote mental, emotional, and physical balance is more important than ever. One practice that encompasses all these aspects is you guessed it – yoga. While yoga may seem intimidating to beginners due to its various poses and unfamiliar terminology, it is a form of movement accessible to everyone, offering profound benefits for your mental health. 

Combining physical postures, breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques, yoga offers a holistic approach to mental health. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the numerous benefits of yoga for your mental well-being, explore how anyone can incorporate it into their lives, and provide guidance on finding the right yoga class to kick-start your journey! 

The Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health 

Stress Reduction: Mindful movements, combined with deep breathing techniques, activate the body’s relaxation response. This response reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol while increasing the release of endorphins, our body’s natural feel-good chemicals! By engaging in yoga, you can experience a sense of calm and inner peace, allowing you to better cope with daily stressors. 

Anxiety and Depression Management: Yoga has shown remarkable benefits in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Its emphasis on mindful movement and breath awareness helps promote a state of present-moment focus, diverting attention from anxious and depressive thoughts. As a result, individuals often experience an improvement in overall mood and a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms. A study done by the NIH confirmed through PET scans those who practiced yoga regularly saw an increase in serotonin levels (a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation) and a decrease in activity in the parts of our brain triggered by stress. 

Improved Emotional Regulation: Emotional regulation refers to the ability to understand, manage, and respond to one’s emotions effectively. Through yoga, you can develop self-awareness and introspection, creating a deeper understanding of your emotional landscape. As you cultivate mindfulness and observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment, you gain a greater capacity to regulate your responses to challenging situations. Power Life yoga offers a safe and nurturing space to explore and process emotions, fostering emotional resilience. 

Enhanced Focus and Clarity: The integration of physical movement and breath control in yoga helps improve concentration and sharpen your mental clarity. At Power Life you will hear your teacher talking about staying fully present in those moments on your mat. This focused attention enhances cognitive function and improves your mental clarity, allowing you to be fully engaged and focused on the task at hand. The meditative aspects of yoga also promote a state of heightened awareness, reducing distractions and enhancing your overall mental focus. 

Connection and Social Interaction: Attending Power Life yoga classes not only provides a space for personal growth but also fosters connections and social interaction, which are vital for our mental health! While practicing yoga at home is an option, joining classes can help you stay committed, offering more variety in styles and props, and creating a sense of community. Community is a HUGE part of our yoga practice here at Power Life. We want everyone to feel accepted, seen, empowered, safe, and supported! 

Self-Compassion and Acceptance: In a society that often places unrealistic expectations on appearance and performance, Power Life yoga offers a place for self-compassion and acceptance. Yoga teaches you to embrace your body and practice self-care without judgment or comparison. Through regular practice, you can develop a non-judgmental attitude towards yourself and others, promoting self-acceptance, self-compassion, and a positive body image. We encourage you to honor your own unique abilities, limitations, and journey, cultivating a sense of inner peace and self-love. 

Yoga for Everyone: One of the most remarkable aspects of yoga is its inclusivity and accessibility. Regardless of age, fitness level, or prior experience, anyone can benefit from the transformative effects of yoga on mental health! Yoga offers a wide range of styles and modifications that can be tailored to individual needs and abilities. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced yogi, there is a practice suitable for you here at Power Life!

It is essential to listen to your body, honor your limitations, and progress at your own pace, embracing the transformative power of yoga for your mental health.

Finding the Right Yoga Class 

Here are a few steps to help you find the right class at Power Life: 

  • Identify Your Goals: Determine what you hope to achieve through yoga. Are you seeking stress relief, improved flexibility, or mindfulness training? Understanding your goals will guide you in choosing an appropriate class. 
  • Research Class Descriptions: You can explore the class descriptions here at Power Life to find styles that resonate with you. Each class has its own focus and intensity level. Additionally, you can talk to friends, family, or colleagues who also have experience with yoga. 
  • Start with a free class: If you don’t want to commit to a membership just yet, find a free class to take or take class with a friend who is a regular member! 

Embrace the Journey – Starting Your Yoga Practice: 

Starting a yoga practice as a beginner can be both exciting and intimidating. 

There is no shame in starting slowly. Begin with simple poses and gradually build your practice. It’s essential to listen to your body and progress at a pace that feels comfortable for you. Always be patient and kind to yourself. Remember that yoga is a continuous process of growth. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else, embrace imperfections, and celebrate the small milestones along the way!

Remember, yoga is a practice that extends far beyond physical exercise, offering profound benefits for your mental, emotional, and physical health. Regardless of your familiarity with yoga, it is a practice accessible to everyone, encouraging self-awareness, inner peace, and overall wellness. By attending yoga classes, you not only nurture your personal wellness but also foster connections with others. Check out your nearest Power Life yoga studio to embrace the transformative power of yoga and embark on a journey that nurtures your mental health, allowing you to cultivate balance and well-being in every aspect of your life!

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About Kirk: 

Kirk was working 80-hour weeks and wearing his shoulders as earrings when he found yoga in 2005. Forever the competitive athlete, he loved the physicality of yoga. When the spiritual and philosophical side of yoga were exposed to him, Kirk was hooked. Yoga provided him with what other activities couldn’t -- the ability to foster the benefits of practice both on and off of the mat. Yoga was something that Kirk could bring into all aspects of his life. 

Kirk knows that yoga can be intimidating, so he crafts a class that is playful and inviting, while still being challenging and safe. His creatively planned classes build strength and flexibility in your body and mind while establishing clarity, giving you more confidence to overcome obstacles in your life, and keeping you injury-free. His classes are themed with a message that is relatable and will inspire you to take it with you off your mat. Kirk has been teaching yoga since 2008 and lead his first teacher training in 2012. Where Kirk truly shines is in coaching, developing and bringing out the best in others.  

Kirk enjoys traveling (40+ countries to date!), snowboarding, and cherishes time with his wife and two daughters. 

About Christen: 

Christen Bakken’s yoga journey began in 1998 in a Bikram studio that provided a safe and secure place to practice. She saw the yoga mat as a place to remember her purpose and a place to play. As she continued her studies and began her journey to teaching in 2006, Christen infused yoga classes with devotion and the yoga mat became a place of personal transformation and healing. Her classes are filled with laughter, song, sweat, and usually heart openers. In 2013, Christen began training yoga teachers. This is the place where she finds the most joy - in community with folks looking to grow and be of greater service in their homes, on their mats, and in the world. Over the years, she has led trainings in Denver, the Midwest, Florida, and now abroad. She has trained in continuing education modules, 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour programs. Beyond the mat, Christen is a passionate adventure seeker - she loves to bike, snowboard, and spend time with her husband and pups. She sees each day as a blessing and hopes to remind all who interact with her of this truth.  

Two Light Studio Parking Information

We validate parking for THREE garages in the area!

  • Two Light garage located directly north of the studio. Please bring your ticket inside for validation.

  • Three Light garage at Main and Truman. Garage entrance on Truman. Please bring your ticket inside for a validation sticker.

  • Power & Light garage at 13th and Grand. Please ask for a parking pass at the studio front desk. (Hot tip: the Power & Light garage has a ton of space! But be sure to give yourself a little extra time to walk to the studio.)

If you find that you are running a couple minutes late due to parking, please call the studio to let the instructor know to wait for you before locking the doors.

Blackstone Studio Parking

  • We have partnered with our friends at Greenslate to provide 1 hour and 15 minute validated parking for Power Life students in the lot at 36th and Harney (just south of the Cottonwood Hotel). Read below to learn how to take advantage of this perk:

    • Step 1: Scan the QR code located in the lot.

    • Step 2: Select your destination (i.e. “yoga studio”).

    • Step 3: Ask for the validation code at the Blackstone studio front desk and enter it on your phone.

    • Step 4: You are all set! Have fun at class!

    Please note:

    • The validation provided by Power Life and Greenslate is for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Need to add additional time to your parking space? You can do that conveniently from your phone!

    • This option is valid once per day per license plate.

    • Please do NOT park in the Crescent Moon lot − you will be towed!

East Village Studio Amenities

  • There is a paved lot and gravel lot on the West side of the building.

  • Meters on Court and 4th (by Peace Tree) for $0.25/hour, 9am-9pm Mon. – Sat. 12-hour max*

  • Meters on 4th (to the North) for $1.25/hour. Mon – Sat. 4-hour max.

  • All meters are free on Sundays and major holidays.

*Starting July 8, 4th Street will temporarily become a one-way. Students will only be able to enter our parking lot from the North via Court Ave. and exit it going south. Thank you for understanding!

How to Improve your Mental Health Through Yoga Info