We all face challenges in life. They range from everyday frustrations to truly traumatic and life changing events. We all have ways of coping with these; sometimes effectively and sometimes completely unsuccessfully. For many people, just knowing a potentially tough situation lies in front of them is enough to make them anxious and fearful. While it does not erase all of the obstacles in our path, yoga can help many people feel better prepared to handle difficult and uncomfortable situations.

Yoga Asanas to Improve Our Mental Outlook

Adho mukha vrksasana, full arm balance, is a pose that builds strength and confidence. Kicking up into full arm balance against a wall is a nice way to drum up a little extra courage when you need it. Back bending poses that open the chest tend to be mood boosters. It’s hard to be depressed when you are in upward facing dog or bow pose. These are just a couple of examples. There are entire yoga sequences designed to help with anxiety, depression and other states of mind.

Challenges on the Yoga Mat

In yoga class and on our mats at home, we face challenges all the time. How to keep the mind quiet, how to maintain the form and alignment of a pose and how to find our way into a difficult pose that seems beyond our physical ability are all a regular part of yoga. Through repeated effort and guidance from our teachers, we learn strategies to improve in all of these areas. Many yoga practitioners find that by using the breath to calm and focus the mind, they are better able to maneuver their bodies into difficult positions that they previously believed were impossible to achieve.

From the Yoga Mat to Everyday Life

Working oneself in and out of difficult yoga positions builds feelings of accomplishment and confidence. Can the approach used on your yoga mat work in everyday life? What if you know you will be facing a difficult situation at work or an upcoming event? Think through how you approach your challenges on the yoga mat. At first, twisting yourself into a yoga asana may seem totally different from a challenge at work or in a personal relationship. Upon reflection, you may begin to find similarities, particularly in how the body and mind respond to the perceived challenge.

Though yoga cannot cure all of our problems or remove all the obstacles we face in life, it can help us prepare for them. Many that practice yoga frequently find they become less bothered by everyday frustrations and annoyances. Then, the larger challenges that life throws our way also become easier to manage. By creating inner peace and confidence, even the small improvements yoga provides in this aspect of our lives makes its practice worthwhile.