Yoga and its ties to mental health is a burgeoning area of discussion in the mental health field. The way I see it, yoga and psychology are like two roads that eventually converge into one: they both lead toward healthier, more joyful lives, but they originate from different places. My name is Julie Caramanico. I am a certified yoga instructor for adults and children with a master’s degree in Health Psychology. I teach trauma-informed yoga to adults (vinyasa style) and teach kids yoga for children with special needs. For the purposes of this blog, I will be conducting an interview with Jessica Pavelka, a psychotherapist and yoga teacher. We discussed how she uses yoga in therapy, and she offered her wisdom on utilizing yogic tools for two of the most common mental health concerns: depression and anxiety.
I’ve always known that I was different. Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, as an immigrant African woman, I have struggled with major depression all of my life. It’s a topic in my community, as in other communities of color, which is often swept under the rug. My depression was caused by numerous issues. After struggling with this issue since my early years, I decided that sharing my experience with depression is a way of empowering other women and girls to do the same, while removing the stigma surrounding depression and other mental health disorders in diverse racial and ethnic communities.
“I do not need treatment; I can figure this out on my own. I am a mental health professional. I am probably smarter than the therapists there anyway.”