Pilates, Yoga and mental health

Its no secret that exercising helps our all round well being, but what about your mental health? As a Pilates convert of 6 years it is the only exercise I have ever stuck at. When I ask myself why (obviously the fact that Gill and Taira’s classes are never the same and they help you individually with your back care issues), something has recently dawned on me and its that….Pilates helps my mental health.






By mental health I mean my personal general happiness and well being. Gill often says “Its your hour” and for a while I thought she just meant to work on physical goals but now I can honestly say that after a class I feel physically supple but also mentally too.




For people struggling with anxiety or mental health issues, its the ‘treatment’ that’s banded around the most by doctors, your auntie who always thinks she knows best, and total strangers on the internet who reckon they know more about your life than you do. And yet…it’s often the first one to be dismissed.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen outraged people on social media posting about how people don’t understand them and they can’t believe their GP had the audacity of suggesting that yoga might help their anxiety, or that going for a swim might make a dent in their depression. And it has me confused. Because why pooh-pooh something that a) you haven’t bothered trying and that b) is proven to work for many people?

There are studies to prove that GP’s are suggesting a treatment that can work for some people. Last year, a year-long study of 13,000 people revealed that 74% of runners say that running has improved their mental health and general well-being. Similarly, a study of 122 adults with moderate depression – who hadn’t responded successfully to antidepressants – were assigned either 10 weeks of hatha yoga or health education classes, twice a week. Researchers found that ‘yoga did indeed have an impact on depression symptoms’. Then there was the study that found that yoga helped people reduce emotional eating.

And lastly, there are your everyday people – like me – who are living, breathing proof that Pilates aids in your general well-being and happiness.

Obviously if you feel you are in need of some mental health support, most definitely seek advice from a health care professional. At Rochdale Pilates & Yoga studio we have a Body & Mind Class Wednesdays at 11am and Monday’s at 8pm which combines positive affirmations, movement and relaxation techniques. I am a convert and urge you to give it a go!


(Michelle is a loyal client and recent addition to the Admin/Social media team at Rochdale Pilates, she helps run the Mama Real classes and is a Primary School Teacher)



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