HEALTHY MINDS – MARCH 28TH, 2019

“Be Accessible.” That’s been our mantra as we slide into the warmer weather. It’s also the focus of an event happening Sunday March the 29th at 1:30pm. Amanda and Michelle are hosting a drop-in pillar workshop. Your practice is always changing, so let them show you how to adapt blocks and other props into your yoga. If you don’t already work with props there’s a whole side of yoga you haven’t explored, so come see what possibilities open up to you.

This week I’m betting at least once you contemplated leaving home without a jacket, right? It’s that sweet time of year when just about everything becomes more accessible. It’s easier to connect with friends, It’s easier to get to the studio, it’s easier to get into class because we aren’t struggling with tucking away so much winter gear. The sun is more becoming more accessible: it spends a few more minutes every day lighting us up. We get into a spring mentality. Instinctively, we connect accessibility with possibility.

And that brings me to the research I read this past week. Three papers on mental health were just released by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. They outline an emerging crisis in mens’ mental health, and they note that despite this spike, men are under-using the resources available to them. They are rejecting both prescription medication and talk-based therapies. In some instances, new solutions are targeting specific demographics, like retirees. ‘Men sheds’ is a movement that began in Australia, and has since sprung a well received chapter in Manitoba. What are ‘men sheds’? Well, they’re pretty much like they sound: a place for retired and senior men to show up and take part in activities with other men. This hopeful, social environment is speeding physical and mental healing and reducing the effects of aging.

Optimism is known to have a positive effect on physical and mental health. According to the American National Library of Medicine, people who are optimistic see positive effects in all aspects of their lives from the way they cope to the way they view people who live in the world with them. Optimistic people are “more easily drawn to trying to resolve a problem while pessimists tend to let the matter drop, thus ending up more exposed to stress.” To sum it up – the more we stress out about something, the more stressed we become. And the more hope we bring to any given problem, the more likely we are to find or even create a solution.

I need to clarify that I’m by no means  suggesting mental health is always within its owner’s ability to control or maintain. Bad health is not simply something one can hope his or her way out of, not by a long shot. But isn’t it kind of affirming to see that a community – like the kind that must spring up in these Men Sheds, for example – can have such a positive effect on one individual’s mental health? I think about that every time I’m lying on the hot room floor on my mat.

So if the winter has been getting you down and it’s just about the worst thing you can think of to leave the comfort of your pillows and blankets on a Sunday afternoon, the good news is you’re definitely not alone. But there’s even better news. You can have an immediate  positive effect on the world just by reconnecting to your optimistic centre. What better gift to give the world on a day when you are full of optimism than to get out into it and spread that feeling?

Guys, this week the 30 Day Challenge begins, Monday April 1st. I know we’re all going to be pushing ourselves, so good vibes everybody! Once again we’re raising money and awareness for the David Suzuki Foundation, an important group that funds scientific organization and one that supports our vision of clean air, clean water, and accessibility for all.

 

Let’s kick some asana!