Social Work Programs

September 16, 2012

Yoga And Meditation For Mental Health Issues

I’ve been reading an excellent book that discusses and illustrates meditation techniques and poses that can be helpful for mental health problems as diagnosed by the DSM IV-TR. These include protocols for OCD, Major Depressive Disorders, PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorders. David Shannahoff-Khalsa is the author of Sacred Therapies: The Kundalini Yoga Meditation Handbook for Mental Health and incorporates his studies with Yogi Bhajan, spiritual relationship with Guru Ram Das and research and clinical trials with OCD patients and other studies. His credentials are impressive and include many years as a researcher at the Salk Institute, presentations at the American Psychiatric Association Conferences regularly and his work as Director of The Research Group for Mind-Body Dynamics at the BioCircuits Institute, University of California, San Diego (UCSD). I am glad that this work is available now as a reference and practical guide for psychotherapy clients, psychotherapists and the general public. There are also meditations in relation to dealing with grief, chronic fatigue syndrome and addictions.


As both a licensed social worker and certified kundalini yoga instructor, I have admin found that the sets I’ve used with clients have been very useful when practiced regularly for helping someone elevate out of negative moods and help with issues such as insomnia and racing thoughts. David Shannahoff-Khalsa’s careful research and documentation should help these techniques become more accepted by professionals in the field.

By the way, if you are a social worker, nurse, psychologist or mental health professional looking for 3 CEU credits, I have an online, home study course that shows ways to apply meditation, breathing and simple yoga poses for stress, anxiety and depression available here . You don’t have to be a therapist to take it. Also, if you are in Florida, you can take the February 15th, 2014 workshop for 3 CEU credits at Boca Raton Community Center and you can read more here .In the past, the workshops I’ve given on Yoga and Meditation for Anxiety and Depression at the Florida NASW Conference.

The clinical studies with OCD and PTSD patients are very eye opening. It does take determination to do the practices, but any transformation takes effort.

One important observations I’ve seen over the years, is that practice is important to see the results. It does take work to overcome negative states of mind and often someone is in an environment that is very challenging. Also, as a psychotherapist, I’ve noticed that sometimes things will shift for a person when changes are made in unhealthy interpersonal relationships. For some situations, such as drug addictions, this may mean no longer associating with those who aren’t ready to change their habits. In other situations, it may mean having some honest conversations about the psychodynamics in the interactions and working hard to overcome the past history.

I have been recommending this book to my colleagues and clients and hope to do more workshops on implementing yoga and meditation for mental health improvement in 2013. Over the years I’ve known a few people who have stopped drinking by regular practices of kundalini yoga and meditation sets and it is excellent for tuning up the nervous system and glands. One of my clients who is 8 has been able to overcome some of his anxiety and concentration issues by practice.

David Shannahoff-Khalsa’s research and work also covers ADHD and personality disorders. I have seen so many clients on multiple medications that complain of exhaustion and side effects. Even to be able to reduce the dosage amounts for those that still require medications could be a terrific help for daily functioning.

You can stop by and pick up a free 10 page pdf that goes into case studies, using yoga, meditation and breathing techniques for mood control by clicking here . Regular practice is very helpful to create a pause before emotional reactions and help the mind to keep perspective. For anyone looking for a small booklet that has breathing, meditation and stretching for using tips from psychology and yoga, my booklet How to Stay Balanced During Stressful Situations is just $3.00 and has been used in mental health agencies, schools, youth centers, assisted living facilites and other settings.

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