HOW CAN YOGA ENHANCE MOOD?
WE EXPLORE 5 WAYS, WITH UPLIFTING ONLINE YOGA CLASSES, TO RAISE OUR SPIRITS IN WINTER
I recently saw a sign outside a studio:
“Today’s good mood is sponsored by yoga.”
It made me chuckle… then prompted me to examine what is pre-supposed in the statement.
- “Today’s good mood” seems to suggest that a ‘good’ mood can last all day. I don’t know about you, but my moods are more fleeting than that. Any one day typically features a variety of moods!
- There is an insinuation that ‘good’ moods are superior to… well… ‘bad’ moods, I suppose. But are they always ‘good’ or ‘bad’? And is it even helpful to categorise our moods that way?
- ‘Sponsored by yoga’ implies that yoga plays a part in influencing our mood. This I recognise, at least from personal experience. I can’t claim that doing yoga will always upgrade my mood to a more desirable one for the rest of the day! However, the practices of asana, meditation and breathwork can at least help me tune into my mood of the moment. From that place, I usually have a choice about what happens next. I find that empowering.
So, in this article we explore the concept of yoga for mood, investigate 5 ways to raise our spirits in the winter and gain access to some inspiring classes to help us along the way.
5 WAYS TO COMBAT MOOD SLUMPS
Here are 5 practical means to uplift our mood when we experience a slump:
- Practise gratitude
- Be in nature
- Open your heart
- Be playful
When we are in the doldrums, yoga for mood enhancement can help us address each of these five. The classes that follow will enable us to stay on an even keel, and perhaps even prevent those slumps in the first place.
YOGA FOR MOOD: PRACTISE GRATITUDE
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”Oxford English Dictionary
We may think of gratitude as a feeling, and indeed it is possible to ‘feel’ grateful. However, such feelings do not always arise naturally or easily. It is all too easy to focus on those things with which we are dissatisfied or disgruntled!
We talk about ‘practising’, or ‘cultivating’ gratitude. Being proactive and intentional is a valuable approach to help us create gratitude as more of a default response.
Two classes to cultivate gratitude:
YOGA FOR MOOD: BE IN NATURE
Being outside in a natural setting with plenty of greenery is a universal mood enhancer. Need we say more?
YOGA FOR MOOD: OPEN YOUR HEART
In the Chakra system Anahata, or the heart chakra, serves as the centre for love, compassion, empathy and forgiveness. Taking a heart-centred approach helps to lift our mood.
YOGA FOR MOOD: BREATHE
Most of us do not breathe to our full potential! We may breathe too fast, or even forget to breathe at all when life gets tough. At times of low mood it may be difficult to pay attention. The breath is an easy way in.
YOGA FOR MOOD: BE PLAYFUL
Giving ourselves permission to play can seriously affect our mood!
Or indulge in the unstructured playful collection of classes in this Playful Movement course with David Kam. David is a movement artist, dancer and yoga teacher, and will help you learn to be more creative, brave and truly move out of your comfort zone. Plenty of options to help you tap into your playful self!
TWO FINAL MOOD-BOOSTING SUGGESTIONS
Food is fuel.
What we put in our body influences in our mood. Food is fuel for both mind and body, and the quality of what we eat inevitably affects the way we feel. Check out how food can affect your mood, and perhaps choose one tip to focus on over the coming week.
Yoga for Mood Search Function.
Did you know that you can search for yoga classes based on mood on MFML?
- Click on Classes
- Click on the Emotion drop-down menu
- Choose the class that fits your current mood!
So, we’ve explored in this article five yoga for mood enhancement approaches and shared two bonus tips too. Let’s agree to be curious about our moods. Yoga can help us to learn from them, and also to take steps to upgrade our mood of the moment.
Of all the ideas we’ve looked at, what will be “sponsoring” your mood for today?
Author: Helen Krag. Helen is a health and wellness enthusiast; observer of human behavioural change; yoga teacher trainee; passionate traveller; and lover of the outdoors.