Yoga Tune Up® Blog


Yoga Tune Up® And Mental Wellness

By: | Friday, April 8th, 2011 | Comments 21

Ken was diagnosed with bipolar disorder eight years ago. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by shifts in mood from periods of extremely high energy levels to strong depressive episodes. Additionally, Ken suffered from anxiety disorder.  Anxiety symptoms included the constant presence of worry and mental disquiet. Acceptance of these conditions was one of the greatest tests of Ken’s life.

Yoga Tune Up® helped Ken manage his bipolar disorder and bring balance to his life.

Ken’s days had been fraught with difficulty. At one point he took it upon himself to skip his medications, completely against the treatment plan of his psychiatrist. The result was that Ken suffered from a devastating psychotic break. Weight gain turned out to be a major side effect of his disorder: at one point he weighed 313 pounds.

Ken’s wise summary of this period: “denial happens!”

One year ago, Ken decided to try yoga. Ken is wholly drawn to the Yoga Tune Up® body, mind, and breath therapeutic and consciousness raising self care practices. Through the experience of deep relaxation and conscious sedation that I introduce in class, Ken created mental positive intentions, known as sankalpas, to inform and guide himself to healthy mental states and self acceptance.

With the support of his psychiatrist, Ken has learned to manage his bipolar disorder, and he is clear that he must continue the bipolar medication regimen to stay stable. At the same time using the self-care tool of yogic complete breath in everyday life, he manages his anxiety disorder. Ken has actually stopped a potentially devastating public anxiety attack!

Last month, Ken shared the wonderful news that his psychiatrist has given him permission to completely cease his anxiety medication.  All of us face stress from everyday living. As Ken has demonstrated, these challenges can be managed with tools such as the audio CD Breathe In Bliss Out.

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About This Author

Bonnie is extremely proud to be a licensed Yoga Tune Up® teacher, and joyfully shares the work of Yoga Tune Up®. She also holds her 200 hour RYT certification from Tias LIttles’ Prajna Yoga, and successfully completed Relax and Renew® training with Judith Lasater and Roger Cole in 2005. Her 30 years of teaching adults is infused with her own love of lifelong learning, and she will always be a student of yoga, meditation, and life. For more about me or to view my Yoga Tune Up® class schedule go here.

21 Responses to “Yoga Tune Up® And Mental Wellness”

  1. Rob says:

    Awesome to hear another story of positive impact, and not even on physical health! Its great to know YTU can help soothe the bodymind from body perspectives.

  2. Kimberly Lou says:

    Way to go Ken! Breathing is such an important part of my day. Sometimes meditation can be too much to handle so I’ll go for meditation walks to calm my nerves when I am feeling stressed.

  3. Bianca Albrecht says:

    Great story & always inspiring how the benefits of the Yoga practice could change our wellbeing. I’m glad to help myself and other people to deal with difficult situations as a Yoga teacher.

  4. Diane Walters says:

    So happy for Ken! I also suffered with anxiety and I understand how frightening it can be. I firmly believe that yoga can offer significant help to anxiety sufferers. Yoga and proper breathing have allowed me to control my anxiety and I have not had a panic attack in 15 years. Whenever I meet someone who is suffering from anxiety, I suggest they take up yoga and I also give them a quick lesson on controlling bodily sensations using the breath.

  5. Anna-Marie Lawrence says:

    I think too often people forget the mind and body connection and illness, and although I realize that mental illness is real disease just as much as diabetes and heart disease. I agree yoga can be an amazing tool that can help you get in touch with those blind spots. Whether it be calming a hypoglycemic episode or getting in touch with the overwhelming thoughts playing in your head. I really commend Ken for taking the initiative in helping himself.

  6. Having patience and pairing practices is what it’s about. It is heart warming to see how many students are gaining insight into themselves through acceptance and enlightened practice.

  7. Eve S says:

    At my first teacher training during a module called Special Needs what we came to realize is that ALL students have special needs. Reading Ken’s story I am reminded that not all of these needs are readily seen with the eye. Self_care is such an important facet of practice not only for students but for teachers.

  8. Luisa says:

    A wonderfully heart warming story. Inspirational as well. I also appreciate the use of a sankalpa. If we repeat a positive affirmation enough, it becomes ingrained in our soul and manifests itself into wonderful things. Love, love, love hearing stories about people overcoming their obstacles because someone else in their life cared enough! Thank you for sharing.

  9. cindy says:

    i love this…i have close people in my life that rely on medication and I would love for them to seek out alternate ways to help cope with anxiety, depression, etc… i love hearing how Yoga (Yoga Tune Up) can help change lives.

  10. Peggy says:

    What an inspirational article and to see the result of the power of having a sankalpa. Kudos!

  11. melanie sloane says:

    Wow, Ken is so lucky to have you as a teacher! I love the idea that deep relaxation, conscious sedation,yogic complete breath, and sankalpas were tools that helped Ken with his therapy to eventually cease his anxiety medication!

  12. caroline B says:

    I am attending Jill Millers Yoga Tune Up workshop and everyday i walk away with something different i.e. feeling, thoughts. I have a stepdaughter with lots of demons she has put in front of herself and wish she could be on this journey with me. We must all be soooooo!!!!!! thankful when we stumble sometimes upon such positive influences and embrace all.

  13. Bonnie says:

    Kenya, That’s wonderful!

  14. Kenya B says:

    I find that yoga is a great addition to my routine and it has helped me to be more patient as well as I tend to not get as angry like I used to. Just doing breath work has increased my awareness of what triggers me and how to calm that down. I have brought this work to some of the highschool students that I work with and they have found it to be very relaxing.

  15. Bonnie says:

    oaw, Ken is well aware that he MUST continue his bipolar medication regimen (please see second to last paragraph of the blog). However, he is managing his anxiety through the yoga practices linked to on this site, and as of now has no need for the anxiety medication.

  16. oaw says:

    Just to clarify– has he completely ceased all medication (meaning whatever medication is used to treat his bipolar disorder) or specifically the anxiety medication– which still is a HUGE, IMPRESSIVE, VERY VERY VERY NOTEWORTHY accomplishment!!! Thank you for sharing this important story & thank you for clarifying. :)

  17. Bonnie says:

    Thank you all for your supportive and kind words. It truly is a deep privilege to share these wonderful YTU and life lessons with Ken, and all of my students.

  18. Christine says:

    He is one lucky man to have you in his life. Thank you for sharing this and emphasizing for me, as another YTU teacher, just how powerful this work is.

  19. Jill Miller says:

    My heart will sleep peacefully tonight after reading Ken’s story. You are a marvelous and compassionate teacher Bonnie. I am so glad he found his way to you. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Victoria says:

    It’s so amazing that yoga has many benefits. Depression and anxiety run in my family, additionally I have a cousin that suffers from bipolar disorder. I know that yoga helps her to stay in her good place along with meds and regular therapist sessions. Although I haven’t seen medical journal studies, I know from my regular practice just what yoga can do to calm the mind and reset the clock.

  21. Jesse says:

    I am so interested in the effects of yoga on mental health. More specifically on anxiety and depression. Both run in my family and my husband’s family. I will have to check out the Breath in Bliss Out CD! Thank you for the inspiring story,

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Jill Miller, Creator of Yoga Tune Up®

After studying yoga, movement, and the human body for over twenty years, I created Yoga Tune Up® as a simple way to restore my body and mind, keeping me balanced and free of pain. Using a specific and unique set of poses, movements and self massage tools, you too can LIVE BETTER IN YOUR BODY WITH YOGA TUNE UP®.

 

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