We’ve all heard that practicing yoga can help you find balance — and we’re not just talking about standing on one foot. Yoga can help you restore your energy levels, find peace, and build overall emotional resilience during this tough, stressful time. And moving through life with more ease and less stress means more energy for the things you love! So we asked Emilie Wong, a yoga and meditation teacher, to share how yoga can help support your mental health.

How to connect your mind and body through movement

Asana, or the physical practice of yoga, loosens up your joints, builds strength, and counteracts the effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, which is even more important now that we are all staying home as much as possible. By practicing yoga regularly, you can mitigate pain or, in some cases, even get rid of it entirely. In part, that’s because yoga boosts endorphins — the brain’s feel-good hormones — which also act as pain killers.

While those are great benefits in and of themselves, yoga is also meant to prepare the body for meditation. Stiff joints or nagging back pain are distracting; loosening up and alleviating pain with regular yoga can help you clear your mind and live in the moment.

A simple breathing exercise you can try right now at home

Stand up tall with both feet planted on the floor. Start to notice how your weight sits in your feet. As you inhale, take your arms up overhead and reach for the sky. On your exhale, fold forward at the hips and allow your head, neck, shoulders, and arms to be weighed down to the ground. Stay in this forward fold for a few comfortable breaths, allowing your spine to lengthen. When you’re ready, press into your feet and roll up to standing as you inhale. Repeat the whole thing two to three times. As you go, gently note how this simple activity of connecting your breath to your movement can melt away stress and reduce stiffness in your spine and neck.

Truly be in the moment with our live yoga and meditation sessions

On The Bright Spot, our yoga instructors are leading live classes you can join for free. We hope to see you soon (virtually!) for some gentle stretching, breathing exercises, and guided meditation that will soothe both your mind and body.