Yoga – fitness fad or coping mechanism?

Yoga – just another fitness fad or a much needed escape in today’s busy society? Robyn Blackmore, a Bath based yoga instructor shares her views on the exercise and how it fits in with mental health as a coping mechanism.

Relaxing, calming and mindful. These are the words that one may think of when it comes to yoga, the wellness trend that has been increasing exponentially in popularity over the last few years.

There are studios in every town, traveling practitioners and an endless number of self-teaching mobile apps available. In fact, according to an article on thegoodbody.com, between 2012 and 2016 the number of Americans doing yoga increased by 50%.

But is this just another one of those fitness fads? Or are the ever-increasing stresses in our lives creating a need for us to escape more? Could our anxiety and busy lifestyles be screaming out for that hour or two a week of zen-like mental release and mindfulness?

Yoga teacher Robyn Blackmore, a certified yoga instructor based in Bath, Somerset, sheds some light on the topic.

“I definitely feel that yoga is a trend at the moment. It has become fashionable to be part of a yoga class, but I also feel that it has to do with the increase in awareness of our mental health and need to relax. Yes, it’s becoming mainstream but for a reason”.

“I feel that yoga is becoming an accepted form of self-healing and relaxation. Along with the physical benefits of the exercise, people are waking up to the importance of mindfulness and mental health”.

According to an article on artofliving.org, mindfulness is the awareness of what is happening right now. And Robyn tries to focus on this in her classes by encouraging her yogi’s to really tune into their bodies; the physical sensations of the stretches, their breathing and their minds. This aids in switching off to daily worries and our ever-growing to-do lists’.

“I don’t think that our lives have necessarily become more stressful, but I do think that the type of stress we deal with is different”, Blackmore explains when asked about mental health in today’s society.

“Our work-life balance has become blurred and we often take our work home with us. The tools technology has given us to maximise work efficiency, as great as they are, have resulted in more juggling at the workplace instead of focusing on one task at a time. We are always switched on”.

I am sure that a lot of us can agree with this statement. It certainly puts things into perspective and makes one wonder if our constantly busy schedules are doing us good, or doing us harm.

Enjoying one of Robyn’s park yoga classes.

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