Lou Affetto is a yoga instructor. It’s a role he treasures.
“I’ve actually had many students that struggle with body image issues in particular That have come and thanked me because of the way I talk about embracing yourself in my classes,” he says.
Many of Lou’s students don’t know how deeply personal this connection between yoga and mental healing is for him, “People see me when I teach yoga as person that`s cool, calm, collected, confident. And to announce that you were once so broken is awful.”
Lou suffered for years from crippling OCD and depression. The shame and guilt were unbearable during his youth,”When you have these mental health issues, you blame yourself. And like I didn’t think that there was any cure, but I knew it was my fault. The more I was isolated by the OCD, the more I hated myself and the more I hated myself, the more that these symptoms, these problems, kept coming, and it was just this vicious cycle and I knew it would always progress.”
He used yoga along with other healthy habits to foster his long journey of healing. These days, he says he’s a different person, “It`s not even really much of a part of me anymore. It might’ve shaped who I am to some degree to have that much of a struggle, but I`m a very passionate person. No matter what I do, I do it fully.”
And he isn’t the only one who found mental healing in the art of yoga. The Awakening Center offers a class meant to do just that: combining talk therapy with yoga. Yoga Therapist Meghann Richko offered us a few mental health moves.
For Anxiety: Child’s Pose
Meghann says: “Take your knees about as wide as your mat. Bring your big toes together to touch, take a seat on your heels walk your arms out in front of you. Your forehead, your head is slightly below your heart, which allows for bloodflow and circulation to flow towards your head to your brain.”
For Depression: Shoulder Bridge
Meghann says: “For depression, we`re looking to move everything back, so that a deeper inhale can be taken. Walk your heels in towards your glutes. Point your toes forward; bring your arms to your side. Press into your feet. Lift your hips and your spine into the ground.”