Yoga is life. If you want to healthy in your life, then practice yoga every day in your routine. About 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health disorder. Couple this with recent research suggesting that 300 million people practice yoga worldwide, and it is realistic to undertake that somebody in your yoga class has knowledgeable, is experiencing or will experience a chapter of poor mental health. Given our current circumstances, this probability is significantly higher, as mental health charities have described an increase in cases of anxiety, OCD and depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yoga Teacher Training in India

Yet for all this, yoga teachers are not therapists, nor would they be dealt with the accountability of counselling their students. Mental health is a gentle stuff that involves a unique kindliness and education, knowledge not obtained in a groundwork teacher training.
What yoga teachers can do is take steps to ensure their students feel safe and supported in class. Below are some suggestions on how to do so.

“How are you, really?”

Ask your students how they are. It is a simple question, and yet one that is charged with meaning. These four words create an opportunity for your student to open up, to put into words thoughts or feelings that may have felt unspeakable. Conflicting to what you may imagine, you do not need to provide life-changing advice, the mere act of taking an interest and hearing to your students is enough to show your support.

While studying Yoga in India, we often ask students to check in with themselves or pay attention to our thoughts and feelings. For some, this self-examination can stimulate an expressive response. While guiding a class through the physical practice, it is important we are sensitive to the emotional reactions. Checking in with your students at the end of a class allows them the space to verbalize their experience, and in doing so, perhaps identify something that needs exploring/greater attention.

Pay Attention

Unlike the plain cast signaling a broken arm, mental health conditions are not so obviously visible. Since of this, it is all the harder to approach/address. In presence of props, a shoulder sling or dressing, it is all the more significant to pick up on subtle signs: missing a regular yoga class, entering the class late, seeming distracted or leaving a class immediately.

It is well recognized that physical activity is good for mental health, as is possession up a regular monotonous. Of course, you cannot force your students to attend weekly yoga classes, however helpful it may be to their wellbeing. However, you can make doing so more reachable. Monthly packages encourage a sense of responsibility and commitment to screening up each week, even if that is so not to lose out financially!

Create a Yoga Community

In lockdown we have a heightened consciousness for the importance of joining, but community and social support has always been crucial/fundamental to our sense of wellbeing. As yoga teachers we have the chance to connect like-minded individuals, whether that be through weekly “challenges” to build group spirit/solidarity, or separate means of communication through Facebook or WhatsApp groups. Being part of a group can combat feelings of isolation that so often arise in those struggling with their mental health. While we are not able to physically attend classes, virtual groups serve to foster this element of belonging and community.

Direct Them to Resources

As mentioned above, yoga teachers are not counsellors. It is a division that is often blurry by those employed in the industry, their vocation choice motivated by a craving to help others. Yet, while it may be attractive to share particular involvements and guidance, such advice can be misunderstood or even destructive by those in a defenseless position.

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It is, consequently, more practical and helpful to guide your schoolchildren toward professional support. We are here now to help all yogis to explore their yoga skills to next level. A special COVID 19 discounts for 200hr Yoga Teacher Training in India, available now. Book before 31st December 2020 to get this offer.