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5 Reasons Why YOGA FOR MENTAL HEALTH Isn't Just Another Yoga Video Series

By Marissa Tolero

SUN MAR 01, 2020

I know. There are a gazillion yoga videos out there these days. If you asked me even just one year ago if I thought I’d be adding another yoga video series to the mix, I would’ve looked at you like this:

You may have observed (like I did) the rise in yoga videos on the internet in the last several years. I thought this was the coolest thing:

Making yoga accessible and approachable to the entire world?!

AMAZING.

For those who don't want to deal with, pay for, or have access to a private yoga instructor or group class, what an incredible alternative. In fact, I still use these resources when I don't feel like going to class or guiding myself through an at-home practice.

More recently, some of these videos stood out and really caught my attention. I started seeing episodes about "yoga for anxiety" and "yoga for depression" and other mental health experiences. While these were catching my eye, I was also becoming more enmeshed in the yoga and wellness "worlds" and heard talk like this with more frequency. This isn’t surprising since scholars have been studying the benefits of yoga on mental health for the last few decades and so yoga and wellness media were catching on.

Photo by Rawpixel
Photo by Rawpixel

I felt like these videos were reading my mind. I first had the idea of combining the likes of yoga and therapy back in my graduate counseling internship in 2014 and had already observed the clear benefits of having a regular yoga and therapy practice in my personal mental health. So to read these academic studies, watch these “yoga for anxiety” videos, and hear these conversations more and more, I thought:

"The world is validating the experience I have of yoga being a great tool for mental health!"

It seemed as if the information and resources out there were PLENTY enough for people to get what they needed out of yoga and mental health. Except..

See, one of the beautiful things of having the opportunity to pursue my business full-time is that I began to have time and space for creativity. I started offering yoga+therapy sessions a few months ago, which is what my initial idea was in 2014, but it seemed like there could be a way for me to bring this personal and professional knowledge and experience to the whole world:

VIDEOS?

I denied it for a long time. I had thoughts like:

“My ideas aren’t good enough for anyone to want to watch videos I would make.”
“I wouldn’t be adding anything new or different to what’s already out there.”
“Even if I DID go through with it, I could never compete with other videos.”

But I couldn’t help it, the ideas and images just started coming. I would be reading at home or sitting on the train and start to conjure up ideas and then I’d frantically write them down.

Photo by smolaw11
Photo by smolaw11

As these ideas grew and flourished, I realized what was missing from what was available so far. And I understood I had a burning passion to share just how powerful yoga can be for mental health especially when using hard skills and therapeutic techniques I learned over the years.

So, despite the anxiety and fear of them not being “good enough” or “adding anything,” I did it. I reminded myself: It doesn’t have to be a competition and I am allowed to have a seat at the yoga video table.

Now, here they are and here’s 5 reasons why Yoga for Mental Health isn’t just another yoga video series:

1. They’re SPECIFIC

Each one of my episodes focuses on a very specific mental health experience. For example, instead of taking on a big topic like anxiety in one episode, I use my professional training and knowledge to break anxiety down and explore a nuanced aspect of it (Yoga for Racing Thoughts). Another example is instead of doing a whole episode on depression, I use a specially designed practice to look at negative-self talk, which is a large component of feeling depressed (Yoga for Negative Self-Talk).

2. They use yoga as more than just a PHYSICAL & PHYSIOLOGICAL practice

Yes, yoga is a mind, body, and spirit exercise so it is never just physical. However, many of the yoga for mental health videos currently available use practices that mostly emphasize relieving the physical and physiological sensations of anxiety, depression, etc., such as focusing on slowing the breath in order to calm the nervous system. This is extremely important! But Yoga For Mental Health goes a step further and truly exercises the mind as an equally engaged part of the practice.

3. They are led by a LICENSED THERAPIST

The knowledge and guidance I bring to each episode in regards to that specific mental health experience is a direct result of the years of study, training, and hands-on experience I have in the mental health field. Feel free to check out my Training & Experience to learn more!

4. They use ANIMATION and VOICEOVER

Initially, I considered doing what most other yoga videos do, which is talk while I do the practice and also while doing the therapeutic activity. However, when I thought logistically about doing and showing different writing activities live on the video and so on, I thought it might get a little tricky. So, I decided that for all the activities I incorporate, I would use animation to depict them. That way it could be very clear (and fun!) about the way I explain and show the activities. I thought this would be especially helpful for those visual learners out there (*raises hand*). I also decided that doing voiceover would be more appropriate because when watching me go through the yoga practice, I am truly doing it with you.

5. They give you HARD SKILLS using THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITIES

I can’t reiterate this enough: these videos are not just a yoga practice. I incorporate activities that I use regularly as a therapist into the yoga practice. You will gain actual hard skills to address that particular mental health experience by the end of each episode.

These videos are the direct product of my passion to unite the power of yoga and mental health.

They are also ridiculously affordable at 0.99 US$ per episode.

Check back on the first of each month when I upload a new one. For now, enjoy the three that are currently available!

~

Watch YOGA FOR MENTAL HEALTH

Namaste and Love,

Marissa

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