Ways to Take Control Of Your Mental Health Through Movement

DrRSky

A new year signals the chance to ease our way into routines that support healthier and more balanced lives. Dr. Danielle Richardson is helping people do just that through feeling-focused yoga classes and wellness retreats. The Los Angeles based optometrist and founder of Fierce Clarity supports busy women as they envision more holistic lives. She defines Fierce Clarity as a declaration of design. 

DrRSkyMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

Richardson’s own journey into wellness began in 2014 when she found herself overcome by burnout and sickness. “I wasn’t taking care of my body, my priorities were out of whack, and I was completely disconnected from myself. I was under constant stress, barely sleeping, and skipping every meal possible. My body started to fall apart and I began to have severe IBS,” Richardson said. That’s when her doctor recommended that she try yoga to decrease her stress and symptoms. Fast forward to 2015, two days after she finished optometry school she packed her bags and went to Bali, Indonesia on a month-long vacation where she was fully immersed in self-care, from messages to taking yoga classes. A month away revealed the need to heal on a soul level in order to improve her physical health. She dove into healing via yoga, energy therapies, Balinese medicines, massages, radical self-love, and self-care. The trip completely changed the course of her life. She eventually signed up for a yoga teacher training program to help others tap into healing and elevated sense of purpose through movement. 

While everyone may not be able to take a soul-searing trip to Bali for a month, Richardson is employing some of the approaches to self-care that she learned in her own yoga and wellness practice. “People feel like these experiences are sort of unobtainable. And that is sort of the genius of Fierce Clarity bringing that experience that I had, that experience of full healing and self-healing really to other busy stressed-out women like myself,” she said. Now she’s offering virtual feeling-focused yoga classes. She shares some of the approaches she has incorporated in her daily self-care, as well as tips for bringing a yogic practice into your life. 

Don’t Wait Until You Burnout To Take A Break 

DrRBridgeMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“For me, it was a lot of headaches, a lot of digestive problems, a lot of mood issues, irritability, pessimism, and cynicism. I just felt deeply unsatisfied and miserable. I was changing cities, changing as much as I could change about my life, yet I still felt miserable. I think that for me that was kind of a key sign that there was truly a misalignment happening in my life.” 

Get Acquainted With Your Natural Energy Level 

DrRArmsMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“We all have our own natural circadian rhythm and our own natural sort of biological clocks, so some of us wake up with energy in the morning, and others of us build energy throughout the day. If you are a person who has a lot of energy in the morning, maybe your self-care is working out in the morning. Maybe it is getting up early, maybe it is that morning routine that is 90 mins long because you have an additional 2 to 3 hours every morning.

If you are a person whose natural energy level isn’t highest in the morning, maybe that morning routine will not serve you in the same capacity. So I think understanding your natural energy level is important because then you can understand what practices will fit within your natural rhythm to be most supportive of caring for yourself.”

Put Together A Selfcare Toolbox  

DrRSeatMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“You should have a self-care toolbox that you can consult, so you can pull things out based on your energy level for that day. I am an early bird, so I wake up at 6:30 AM everyday and I usually lay in bed until 7:30 AM, but then I work out. If I don’t workout first thing in the morning I’m going to get tired, I’m going to make up a bunch of excuses, but I know that it’s important to workout because it supports my digestive health, It supports my mental health, and it allows me to add structure to my day. I think encouraging people to explore tools that they can put in their self-care care toolbox and understanding that we are not stagnant people so your self-care practices should not be stagnant either is important.”

Introduce Yoga To Your Routine 

DrRLegMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“I recommend everyone start by finding a local studio and do their beginner introductory special. They will always have one. It’s usually between $30- $50 a month and you can take unlimited classes.

Yoga is a living, breathing practice so it lives and breathes differently through each teacher. So you have to explore different teachers to find a style that you resonate with and to find a practice that you resonate with. While it can be intimidating to see handstands and splits all over Instagram there are a lot of teachers who focus on beginner to intermediate students, where the practice is made more accessible. You also have to have the beginner’s mind, every class is not going to be your best yoga class. It’s like letting go of that experience and understanding with anything the more you practice yoga the more comfortable it feels in your body and the easier it becomes.

Many times people can’t feel their bodies, because they are so disassociated, so it kind of feels weird to move in a particular way. Giving yourself a few classes allows you to get back in your body, start feeling things again, open up some of those energy channels, and those energy blockages.”

Identify A Practice That Meets Your Needs 

DrRFloorMyai Anthony (@myyaaii)

“The style of yoga I teach is feeling-focused, so the classes are divided based on feeling, which I think is focused on beginner to intermediate students, so it makes it super easy. The classes are relaxed, which is a relaxing class. Refresh, which is a class you take when you want a fresh burst of energy. Refocus is when you want to focus and want to be challenged. Reconnect is a more soul focused class. Subscribers can pick a class based on their mood. We aren’t stagnant, so we don’t want to do the same thing every day, so having some variety there.”

Photography provided by Myai Anthony. Blog content provided by Priscilla Ward.