Mental Health for Youth

Its been a while since my last blog post. Its not been for lack of inspiration more because I’ve been immersed in incredible opportunities of growth and exploration of how yoga and mindfulness play a role in so many paths.

I have been so incredibly lucky these last few months to be able to follow my journey and embark on fun new projects and welcome back familiar routines. I’ve been working with a local Not For Profit as their Youth Mental Health Co-ordinator and being on ground floor in High schools, Jr. High’s and even college talking about Mental Health and positive habits to encourage a healthy mindset. I’ve also been a doula for two incredibly strong and fierce ladies that showed me just how determination and strength of bonds can move mountains. I’ve also been privy to some impressive and inspiring entrepreneurs who have fought tooth and nail to work for themselves, to educate themselves on so much of the backend business stuff the general public doesn’t see, or realize what energy and time that business aspect can take up. This group of women from all sorts of businesses were taking control over their future success and learning how to create and implement systems to succeed, lighten their day to day and be able to ENJOY their lives and businesses.

All of theses projects I’ve been lucky enough to create and be part are all so different in nature, but the essence is very much the same. Its life’s experiment and learning how to better ourselves, in turn enjoying our life. The connection for me is that I get to be a small part of a movement towards strong healthy minds, happy healthy families, and a community of creative, self sustaining and inspiring people. I AM GRATEFUL.

What does this all have to do with Mental Health?

I believe whole heartedly believe that we cannot be alone in all facets of life. Our human nature is to connect, to create bonds, to feel as though were part of a collective, and to BE part of collective. I believe creating opportunities to connect with others and show others we are all there is what keeps our mental health in check.

I sometimes feel alone in my struggles as a mom of three, wife and entrepreneur, and think it would be “easier” and more secure for my family to go back to a conventional job. When I let the light in just a bit I am usually faced with some project, an article, a message from a mom who’s kiddo I am teaching, a yoga class or otherwise that keeps my feet on the ground and the realization that I am so far from alone in this journey. I am reminded how important it is to let our people know that they are important to us. It is our community that keep us feeling connected to ones-self and to one another. I’m reminded of a quote from my YTT “What is, is everywhere. What is not, is no-where”. That sunk in so deep into my bones I often revisit the meaning, sometimes it means something slightly different from the last time I visited, but it seems to always keep my feet connected to the ground.

In one study I have read in the recent past, they recounted how it is not the youth that are the “popular”, not the youth that are the most “bullied” rather the youth that are the “forgotten” population. They somehow get missed. There was all sorts of theories on why, maybe there not given the opportunity for learning skills of resiliency, or navigating the route to a healthy mental toolkit. Maybe there is the assumption because they’re not being bullied they’ll be ok, and so on and so on. If we consider our natural human instinct to connect its so obvious that this “forgotten” population would be the most at risk for struggles with their mental health.

One teacher in the states experimented with this and had the kids in her class to write down 3 classmates they want to sit with next week each Friday. The instructor would keep track of all the names, and the names that didn’t appear at all would be the students she would ensure had ample opportunities to learn resilience and she created opportunities for the “forgotten” students to connect with other students in meaningful ways.

We all have our stories, not one story is the same as any others, but we all have a natural instinct to create our community. Communities look different for different beings, of course; some being full communities, some small, some close some at a distance but still there.

To wrap this all up in true “Yoga with Lori” tone, how does Yoga fit into this idea of finding a community and connection for our mental health? The word ‘yoga’ is derived from two samskrit roots. They are (1) yujir (2) yuj. The Veda used the word ‘yoga’ with the meaning of ‘yoking’, ‘joining’, ‘coming together’ and ‘connection’. So the practice of Yoga can literally be translated to creating connection. I do believe this means more than just finding “yoga buddies” to sit beside in your favourite yoga class. I believe this is because through a practice of yoga we become more self aware, more mindful of our movements, our actions and our thoughts. When we become more aware of all things ourselves, we become more aware of all things universally. Becoming more aware and more mindful of all things includes of other beings.

Practically this open to, or connection to oneself can also mean recognizing if we are feeling a certain way because of “so and so said this, he/she did this” maybe we need to look at “why is that effecting me so much?” “why do I let their opinions, manifest fear, insecurities, self doubt”? When we clear that fear, we are often blessed with a route to our true selves, and self confidence can be a natural side-effect!

Therefore to cultivate self confidence and a healthy mental state in our youth (or ourselves) nurture a feeling of community, a connection to one-another and to the collective. Nurture a practice of mindful living, natural creativeness and respect for body, mind, soul and all beings. Start by a regular yoga practice if all that seems overwhelming and see what happens 🙂

Stay tuned for video’s from Yoga with Lori to help with your at home practice:)