Women living with mental health issues try yoga for the first time

Instructor Ria Tirazona leads residents of the DSWD Sanctuary Center in yoga practice. Photo courtesy of Certified Calm.

Women who have been abandoned and who were living with psychosis and other mental health issues were able to participate in International Day of Yoga activities on June 21.

Health and wellness gear provider Certified Calm partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to conduct a yoga session for residents of the Sanctuary Center in Mandaluyong City.

Instructor Ria Tirazona introduced the residents to yoga, leading them through poses such as the downward-facing dog and the cobra.

Participants said they felt relaxed and relieved after the session, with one of the senior citizens even commenting that her aches had disappeared.

Yoga practitioners about to go into Warrior pose. Photo courtesy of Certified Calm.

“Seeing their faces all relaxed and giddy—during the yoga session, games, and meals—is an incomparable feeling,” Certified Calm said in a press statement.

The event was in line with their advocacy for women empowerment. They also aimed to make yoga accessible to everyone.

For her part, Tirazona was more than happy to share her knowledge.

“Yoga has given me so much, and today I am grateful to have the opportunity to give back. I must admit, though I came to share the practice with women in recovery or living with mental health issues in a local shelter, I think I gained so much more just by being with them,” she said.

Yoga practitioners in Cobra pose. Photo courtesy of Certified Calm.

“The event was extra special and meaningful compared to our other events because we were able to share the practice to a group of women who do not know what yoga is, or better yet, to women who do not have a regular fitness activity. Our hearts were so full afterwards. They were so happy,” Certified Calm added.

According to the United Nations, which proclaimed June 21 International Day of Yoga in 2014, yoga is an “ancient physical, mental, and spiritual practice” from India. It comes from a Sanskrit word which means “to join or to unite,” and symbolizes “the union of body and consciousness.”

For Certified Calm, yoga is a holistic endeavor; about wellness of heart and mind, and not just of body.

Yoga has benefits for body, heart, and mind. Photo courtesy of Certified Calm.

“What sets yoga apart from other athletic practices has always been its emphasis on mental health. Practitioners all over the world have often cited its psychological benefits as a core reason for their continued commitment to the activity,” they said.

Through the partnership with the DSWD, they hoped to take the first step so that that those who felt ostracized from society would be empowered to be the best version of themselves that they could be.