Yoga for Emotional Balance by Bo Forbes is such an incredible book! This is one of the first books I ever read about the intersection of yoga and mental health and informs so much of what I do as a teacher in the studio and when working with private clients. Bo Forbes is PsyD as well as a yoga instructor who has an incredible depth of knowledge on the two subject matters. Even if you don’t have depression or anxiety, this book can be helpful in that she classifies it as either on the one end of “lethargy” and the other end as “energetic.”
“Restorative Yoga helps you develop many of the characteristics of emotional balance, such as the ability to experience emotions without overreacting to them, and the capacity to recover from strong emotions when they occur. It supports the qualities that psychotherapy seeks to instill: greater resourcefulness, enhanced problem-solving skills, and a deeper connection with your innate wisdom. It helps you develop the mindfulness, discernment, and reflection that lead to healthier relationships.”
The book starts off by describing anxiety and depression and what gets in the way of healing, how the healing happens as well as finding meaning, and ends with very specific sequences for depression, anxiety, and balancing. She includes breathwork to use for different purposes as well as very detailed descriptions of the poses and pictures. I like the connection between poses to increase, decrease, or neutralize the energy in the body. This book is very accessible for anyone especially someone new to yoga. Her work is centered around Restorative Yoga which I have found too is the best complement to mental health work.
Read this book if:
You are interested in using yoga to help manage your emotions and the energy in the body
You are a yoga instructor interested in how yoga can be used for emotional balance
Yoga for Depression by Amy Weintraub is written by a yoga instructor and trainer for yoga instructors on how she used yoga and yoga techniques to heal her depression as well as manage her ongoing symptoms. At the end of each chapter, she includes step by step instructors on breathwork, sequences, and meditations. Weintraub explores styles of yoga, principles, breathwork, and mindfulness to name a few. She also frequently recommends finding a yoga teacher to help lead and support. Not only does she address depression, but also trauma and anxiety.
“A body-oriented treatment model speaks the language of these areas of the brain–sensation, perceptual experience and somatic responses. Cognitive restructuring is, of course, important, but the healing process must also include bodily experience.”
As a practitioner and instructor of yoga, I found this book to go a bit deeper into the subject matter than I would have preferred. I think it could be quite overwhelming for a newcomer. I feel it is better suited for someone who has a significant background of yoga and is either interested in using her recommendations to manage the symptoms or the population they work with. This book isn’t as accessible for a newbie. By reading this book, you can tell that all of what she recommends comes from an authentic place.
Read this book if:
You are interested in using yoga as a complement for mood management
You are a yoga instructor who works with this specific population
Stephanie Cunningham of “Changing the Face of Yoga” podcast recently interviewed Katie on how she integrates restorative yoga in her mental health practice to aid in managing symptoms of traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and self-injury. Listen here or download in the podcast app on your iphone(Episode “Trauma”).