We are continuing with our mental health theme in hopes of supporting you through these challenging times. If you missed our Episode #70: Yoga for Anxiety, find it here, and our articles and premiums episode on Alternate Nostrils Breathing, you can find the deep dive article here and the practice of alternate nostril breathing or a follow along on our Premium membership on Patreon. Some of you have reached out to say how much it helped them, thank you if you did!
For today’s episode, I sat down with Dr Lauren Tober. Lauren is a Clinical Psychologist and Yoga Teacher with a passion for health, healing, happiness and awakening. She is the founder of Awake Psychology, an online Australia-wide psychology practice, the Centre for Mind Body Wellness in Mullumbimby (Australia), teaches Mental Health Aware Yoga trainings world-wide and runs several highly acclaimed online courses. Lauren believes that happiness is our true nature, and that yoga, gratitude, authenticity, compassion, creativity and community help us to cultivate happiness in our lives on an everyday basis.
Listen to the full episode here:
MY 5 BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE
- Stress is a precursor to mental illness. It underlines a lot of physical and psychological illnesses. Mental illness and mental health challenges are extremely common. In many western countries, 1 in 5 report a diagnosable mental illness in the last 12 months period. Another 1 in 5 people struggles without meeting the diagnosable characters.
- Over half of yoga students report starting yoga for mental health reasons and more than 3/4 report continuing practicing for mental health reasons.
- Creating a safe container in our classes is the first and most important thing we can do as a teacher to support our students, particularly those struggling with mental illness challenges. Be consistent and predictable, give permission to leave and leave the door to unlock, use non-judgmental and inclusive language. Invite instead of insisting, ask to notice instead of telling what their experience should be. Reduce the likelihood of comparison and competition. Look at your own biases and beliefs. Be mindful of touch. Be fully present.
- You don’t need to fix people that are having an emotional response during class. You can be there for them, notice what’s happening, but oftentimes, there’s nothing you actually need to do. We don’t need to rescue them.
- Yoga isn’t therapy but is therapeutic. Coming together in community, moving the body, mindfulness, practice to regulate our emotions, mood, and the nervous system, exercise, are all things that are therapeutic.
QUESTIONS SHE ANSWERED DURING THIS EPISODE
- What in your life particularly brought you to want to focus your work on mental health and mental illness?
- Can you define mental illness?
- As yoga teachers, what should we know about mental illness?
- How can yoga teachers support students that come to yoga for mental health reasons? And how do we stay within our scope of practice while doing so?
- What creates a safe container in class?
- How can we ask permission to touch in a way that makes it easy and comfortable for people to say no?
- How can we be more present for our students?
- What should teachers watch out for to not be triggering, to not add on to trauma, or simply not to be counterproductive to their student’s needs?
- What are some therapeutic skills yoga teachers need to learn?
- Any tips for teachers that might have to deal with a moment of crisis in their class?
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ABOUT OUR GUEST
Dr. Lauren Tober is a Clinical Psychologist, Yoga Teacher, and certified iRest Meditation Teacher with a passion for health, healing, happiness, and awakening. Lauren is the founder of Awake Psychology, an online Australia-wide psychology practice, the Centre for Mind-Body Wellness in Mullumbimby (Australia), and teaches Yoga Teachers around the world about mental health with the Mental Health Aware Yoga training.
She has also created several acclaimed online courses, including Meditation, Pure + Simple, Living Your Heartfelt Desires, and A Daily Dose of Bliss. Her work is soulful without being new-agey. It’s evidence-based, without being clinical. It’s authentic, heartfelt and life-changing.
She has been featured in various publications including Sydney Morning Herald, ABC Radio, Collective Magazine, Australian Yoga Journal, Australian Yoga Life Magazine, Peppermint Magazine and more.Lauren believes that happiness is our true nature and that yoga, gratitude, self-compassion, authenticity, creativity and community help us to cultivate happiness in our lives on an everyday basis.You can read more about Lauren’s qualifications and experience here.
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