Yoga Therapy for the Mind is designed to help you reduce stress and enhance your wellbeing. It brings together mindfulness meditation, breathing, and yogic movement exercises in a therapeutic way to help you learn simple techniques that harness both your mind and body to bring about emotional ease.
The course is for those of us who would like to weave into daily life a practice that enables us to:
• manage stress, anxiety and/or depression better
• enhance concentration and focus
• expand psychological tolerance of uncomfortable feelings
• improve wellbeing
• develop resilience
You will come away from the course with a deeper understanding of the physiological and psychological dimensions of stress, anxiety and depression, and a toolkit to help you manage your mental wellbeing better in both the short and long term.
Who designed Yoga Therapy for the Mind? The course is taught by Veena Ugargol. She was trained by Heather Mason (www.yogaforthemind.info), who devised this course drawing on her ongoing research interests in yoga, mindfulness, psychotherapy and neuroscience. Mason is currently working with Boston University School of Medicine to develop a programme for medical students to help them relieve the stress of intense course loads and to explore how yoga and mindfulness can promote physiological and neurological change. Mason and Ugargol are also collaborating with researchers from Harvard Medical School and Roehampton University on a study to understand the effects on anxiety and depression of the Yoga Therapy for the Mind 8-week course. The data has now been analysed and the results indicate support for participant feedback that the course can bring about meaningful improvements in mental health, wellbeing, resilience and mindfulness. This research is due to be published in 2013.
This course covers different themes each week, enabling students to become more aware of any unhelpful mental patterns, perceptions and habits, and develop tools to manage them better.
Each 2h15min class broadly follows the same structure. Students are introduced to the week’s theme and guided through an hour of posture practice, 15mins of breath practice, and additional group discussion. Each week builds cumulatively on the learning of previous weeks.
Students are given homework at the end of each class to practice daily along with reading material to support your learning.
In the first two weeks of the course students are taught how to regulate and understand mood through breath and movement. Some breath practices are energising; others are more helpful for quietening the nervous system. Students are guided on the appropriate times to engage in these different practices.
We focus on how to understand and influence emotional health through body awareness and movement.
We conclude the course by building on the strength and resilience that we’ve developed over the previous weeks. This is the point at which we begin to work with the mind, engaging in mindfulness and “loving-kindness” meditation practices that enable students to view and adapt their mental patterns in new and helpful ways.