Yoga for Mental Health

4 October 2021

Mental Health Matters

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Jon Kabat-Zinn


Welcome to Yogazeit’s October Blog Post – focusing on Mental Health in coordination with the annual celebration of Mental Health Month. Here we’ll look at Mentally Healthy Children, Mentally Healthy Older Adults and Mentally Healthy Teachers!

Each section includes a Toolkit for you, some links, downloads or resources to support Mental Health for growing or older bodies and minds. One breath at a time.


And always remember: Mental Health IS important and supporting your mental health every day, whether it is your morning walk, a gentle yoga routine, time with a loved one, or some doodling or looking out at the ocean or the trees. Why not try and take 10min right now? 10 minutes to support your mental health. 

Here’s how Yoga can help

With its emphasis on breathing practices and mindfulness—both of which help calm and center the mind— it’s no surprise that yoga also brings mental benefits, such as reduced anxiety and depression. What may be more surprising is that it actually makes your brain work better. Here’s more:

Reduces Anger: In one study of adolescents (2012), yoga was shown to increase one’s ability to control anger, compared to a group that participated only in physical education. Practicing yoga has also been shown to decrease verbal aggressionin adults.

Helps combat Anxiety: Numerous studies have found that yoga may decrease anxiety symptoms, including performance anxiety. In one study (2013) with adolescent musicians, yoga decreased anxiety in group and solo performances.

Improves sleep:In one study (2012) of postmenopausal women with a diagnosis of insomnia, yoga reduced insomnia severity compared to a control group. Another study of women with restless leg syndrome showed yoga improved multiple domains of reported sleep quality. We’ve got a whole resource on Sleep, and here’s one more recent research on how yoga supports sleep for children.

Reduces Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms: In one study (2014) focusing on adult women diagnosed with PTSD, yoga significantly reduced PTSD symptoms in women who received a 10-week yoga treatment compared to the control group. At the end of the study, 52 percent of the women who practiced yoga no longer met criteria for PTSD, compared to 21 percent in the control group.

Improves Mood: Studies have shown yoga can help reduce depression, improve affect, and decrease perceived stress. For example, in a study with a prison-based population (2013), a 10-week yoga class increased positive affect and reduced reported psychological stress.



Mentally Healthy Children

This year’s theme of Mental Health Week, an annual event celebrated in October, is “Mental Health starts with our children”.  We absolutely agree! And Yoga is scientifically proven to help children – at school and at play!

Having good mental health is key to the healthy development and wellbeing of every child. Children need good mental health – not only to be able to deal with challenges and adapt to change, but so they can feel good about themselves, build social emotional skills, such as healthy relationships with others and enjoy life.

A child’s mental health can be influenced by many things, school life, social media, the pandemic, family circumstances and life events.

According to Beyond Blue statistics,It’s estimated that around one in seven Australian kids experience mental health issues and about half of all serious mental health issues in adulthood begin before the age of 14,’ (2021).


With this blog post, we’ve included a little “Heart Check In” to help discover emotions in growing bodies and minds. This is part of our relaxation activities we invite children to take part in – whether we’re teaching at school or in the community.

Heart Check In

Click the image to download





Mentally Healthy Older Adults

Getting older, wiser, freer and more able to cope with life’s ups and downs should be something we can look forward to. But it’s true that lots of changes occur as we age and some of those, such as retirement from work, changes in family life, social isolation, illness and bereavement can have significant impacts on our physical and mental health.

Good mental health is a key factor associated with healthy ageing, and this is determined by a combination of psychological, biological and/or social and cultural factors (World Health Organization (WHO) 2013. Mental health and older adults. Factsheet no. 381).
While the prevalence of mental health disorders tends to decrease with age [Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2008.], there are certain sub-groups of the older population that are at higher risk. These groups include people in hospital, supported accommodation, people with dementia, and older carers [Rickwood D 2005. Pathways of recovery: preventing further episodes of mental illness.]. Good access to effective clinical and non-clinical services can help support older people with their mental health.

It is thought that between 10 and 15 per cent of older people experience depression and about 10 per cent experience anxiety.1 Rates of depression among people living in residential aged-care are believed to be much higher, at around 35 per cent.2 Unfortunately, many people over 65 still seem to feel there is a stigma attached to depression and anxiety, viewing them as weaknesses or character flaws rather than a genuine health condition.

Older people are also more hesitant to share their experiences of anxiety and depression with others, often ignoring symptoms over long periods of time and only seeking professional help when things reach a crisis point (Source:

Ways to support your mental health as you age include:

  • Looking after your physical health through good diet and exercise, medical check-ups and medication reviews
  • Getting good sleep
  • Keeping your mind active
  • Keeping connected with friends, family and your community
  • Peer support groups can help with bereavement and depression.
And Yoga can provide support with ALL of the above.
As a social activity to support physical help and empower healthy sleep, an active mind and social connection – an accessible yoga and mindfulness practice can be a wonderful tool.

Taking time for yoga in your later years can bring a palpable joy and vitality to your life. Recent research confirms that the implementation of modified Yoga Programs into aged care facilities enhances resident’s quality of life through improved physical, emotional and intellectual wellbeing. But that’s not all!

Yoga can also be helpful to people with Parkinson’s Disease and Arthritis.

Yogazeit runs a variety of programs to support Healthy Ageing at Aged Care as well as in communities! If your local council, shire or community or Residential Living or Aged Care facility is interested in bringing accessible Mindfulness and Movement to older adults – please reach out! We’re only a phone call away and very passionate about empowering the Seniors in your life too!

Find out more:


Gratitude for Seniors(click to download)



Mentally Healthy Teachers

In one day we not only teach, we manage behaviour, plan lessons, assess learning, counsel students, carry out first aid, reply to a long list of emails, write reports, tidy classrooms, create resources, mark books and create displays – the list is endless.” (Teacher, 2013)

“You can’t pour from an empty cup”

At YOGAZEIT we believe school leaders, teachers and other school professionals need to nurture themselves. Embodied wellbeing practices can provide an amazing opportunity leading to personal transformation, providing the foundation for systemic transformation. Taking time for Yoga, embracing the concept of self-care and personal mindfulness, teachers will not only improve their own wellbeing, but also support their classrooms and the larger community.

From our standpoint, there is no doubt teacher health and resilience should be made a priority in education policy. 

A study from UWA and Telethon Kids Institute reflects that

  • One-third of Australian teachers indicated they intend to leave the profession within the next 3 years (Clarke, 2005)
  • The personal consequences of teacher stress can include absence, burnout, physical and emotional distress, reduced self confidence and self-esteem, damaged personal relationships and suicide
  • Prolonged stress may lead to the emotional exhaustion that characterises burnout (Naghieh et al., 2013)
  • A significant loss of skilled and experienced teachers through those choosing to leave the profession (Howard & Johnson, 2004; Mearns & Cain, 2003)
  • A half to two-thirds of teachers have considered leaving the profession due to stress (Milburn, 2011; Phillips, 2011b; Simos, 2011; “Teacher Stress,” 2012)



  • Poor teacher engagement impacts student engagement levels (Education, 2014)
  • Emotionally exhausted teachers may use reactive and punitive responses that contribute to negative classroom climates and student-teacher relationships (Osher et al 2007; Yoon 2002)
  • Patterns of student misbehaviour and teacher stress can form a cycle that is difficult to interrupt (Yoon 2002)
  • Quality of relationships with peers/teachers and positive versus negative school experiences – student connectedness (Bond et al 2007)
  • Poor school connectedness results in poorer academic and mental health outcomes for students (Bond et al 2007)



Here’s a short 5 min breathing exercise for you. Why not take 5 and support your mental health today?


Remember to book your YOGAZEIT at school to support your colleagues and yourself with Mindfulness and Movement.

One breath at a time. Bookings and inquiries here. 



If you’d like to find out more, or talk to someone, here are some organisations that can help:

  • HealthDirect – Resources and Information
  • Kids Helpline1800 55 1800 (telephone and online counselling for ages 5-25)
  • Lifeline13 11 14
  • Call Parentline in your state or territory for counselling and support for parents and carers
  • eheadspace to chat online
  • SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness and their carers) — call 1800 18 7263
  • com(youth mental health service) — visit the website for info or use the online forum
  • Beyond Blue aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or email.
  • Blue Knot Foundation Helpline is the National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma. It provides support, education and resources for the families and communities of adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse. Call 1300 657 380, Monday – Sunday between 9am – 5pm AEST or via email
  • Butterfly Foundation’s National Helpline is a free, confidential service that provides information, counselling and treatment referral for people with eating disorders, and body image and related issues. Call 1800 33 4673, 8am-midnight AEST / 7 days a week, chat online or email.
  • FriendLine supports anyone who’s feeling lonely, needs to reconnect or just wants a chat. You can call them 7 days a week on 1800 424 287, or chat online with one of their trained volunteers. All conversations with FriendLine are anonymous.
  • MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online counselling service offering support to Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or organise a video chat.
  • MindSpot is a free telephone and online service for people with anxiety, stress, low mood or depression. It provides online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression. MindSpot is not an emergency or instant response service. Call 1800 61 44 34.
  • QLife provides nationwide telephone and web-based services for lesbian peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about a range of issues including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. Call 1800 184 527, 3pm – 12am (midnight) AEST/7 days a week.
  • PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) supports women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood. Call 1300 726 306, 9am – 7:30pm AEST (Mon-Fri).
  • Suicide Call Back Service provides 24/7 support if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Call 1300 659 467.
  • Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides 24/7 free and confidential counselling to anyone who has served at least one day in the ADF, their partners and families. Call 1800 011 046.

You can also ask your family doctor for advice or consult a psychologist if you would like more information or mental health resources for children and young people, older adults or teachers.


Please contact YOGAZEIT today and explore how Mindfulness and Movement can help your mental, physical and social Health and Wellbeing. At School – At Aged Care – Or in the Community:  One breath at a time!



Mindful Movement Activities

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Acknowledgment of Country

We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are working and living on, the Whadjuk Noongar people.

We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life, education and mindfulness of this city and this region supported by the leadership of Noongar elders past, present and emerging.

We extend this acknowledgement and respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.