Pull yourself together….

You must be mad….

Pull yourself together…

Others have it worse…

You don’t know how lucky you are…

Perhaps you’ve heard one or all of the above before and you really wish that you could ‘just snap out of it’ but for someone who hasn’t been through mental illness, it’s so tricky trying to explain what it’s about.

Tomorrow sees the start of Mental Health Awareness week and although society has made some progress it has also taken a turn for the worse in other ways.  Even up to today I heard on the radio about how students are committing suicide more than ever due to the pressure that they are facing.

Online bullying is increasing and as much as I love Facebook, I sure am glad that it wasn’t around when I was in school.  School was tough as it was.

So why am I writing about this on a yoga blog?  I find that when I’m going through times of stress it’s a reminder for me to get back to my mat as soon as I possibly can. It’s time to breathe and flow through asanas that help to heal my body.

I love sharing these asanas with others and as a yoga teacher sometimes I see the effects that anxiety has on a students body.  Yoga is one of the ways that people can find some relief from anxiety and depression. Not just by practicing yoga but also through attending classes and becoming part of a community where you can get to know other people.


One of the things I love most about teaching is when I see a full class of people from different backgrounds with one aim in mind to practice yoga and to learn more from the practice.  By coming to class they are able to get in touch with how their body works, heal their body and hopefully meet others with common interests.

If you have been too shy to try out a yoga class, ask around or even post in the comments below.

If you have been feeling too depressed to move then one step at a time and one asana at a time.  It all comes back to the breath.

Returning to that peaceful place


Among the many reasons that people come to yoga is to find some sort of relief from the pain caused by anxiety and depression.  If you’ve ever been unfortunate to experience either of these, it’s very scary. To those who have experienced neither I would describe it as a feeling of dread that grips you and you don’t know why. You might wake up in the early hours or not be able to go to sleep because your mind is racing with thoughts of things that can go wrong.

I like to think of yoga as a moving meditation; I’m as human as the next person and sometimes I’m lazy about going to my mat, in fact, I would not describe myself as one of those dedicated “Yoga Every Damn Day!” folk. However, when I do carve out time to place myself on my mat, it’s a reminder to breathe and to stay present in what I’m doing. It’s a humbling practice and I love how I learn so much regardless of whether I’m practicing on my own, in a class with others or teaching.  I believe that how one practices yoga can tell us so much about who we are. Can we surrender to the practice and stay in the present, maintaining a longer breath than usual?

The twists and turns in yoga represent squeezing out toxins in our body both physically from over-indulgence and mentally from the thoughts that go whirring through our minds.  Lord of the fishes is an Asana where the student crosses their legs with the knee of one leg pointing high to face the ceiling and twisting from the waist with a cross to the arm and the elbow resting against the outside of the knee can help to twist deeply.

1803 Lord of the Fishes

The pace of yoga also slows back down when looking to ease anxiety or depression.  In modern times students can access a wide range of styles from the original Hatha yoga to the fast- paced Power yoga.  Personally speaking, although I’m trained to teach Vinyasa flow where positions flow from one pose to another and I can teach power yoga, I’m conscious of those who have injuries and challenges who may require a slower practice even if they don’t quite know it.

So, to end with a reminder to check in and set your intention before you make your way to class.  Perhaps have a few teachers who you practice with according to how you’re feeling and what you want to gain from your practice.



Leanne de Araujo teaches at a range of locations including:



Old Ruts Rugby Club, Poplar Road, Merton, SW –at 8:45-9:45am

Nuffield Cheam, Peaches Close, off Sandy Lane, Cheam, Sutton SM2 7BJ – Saturdays at 4-5pm



Fitness4less, Gander Green Ln, Sutton SM1 2EH – 10:15-11:15am

Nuffield Leatherhead, The Crescent, Leatherhead KT22 8DY – Covering on 7 and 29 April from 5:00 -6:15pm https://www.nuffieldhealth.com/gyms/leatherhead



Synergy 81, Unit 81 Barwell Business Park, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 2NY Covering on 16 April 2018 http://www.synergy81.co.uk/

The Riverside Centre, 113 Culvers Avenue, Carshalton, SM5 2FJ – Mondays at 7:45pm



Fitness4less – 8:30-9:30pm

Busylizzy (Sutton branch) at The Riverside Centre, (Address above) – Mummy and Baby yoga 10:15-11:00am and Baby yoga 11:10-11:45am  Please see https://busylizzy.co.uk/bee-my-guest/ To book