Date of Award

Spring 2022

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Yoga Studies

School or College

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Christopher Key Chapple


Recently the magnitude of the mental health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been emerging. Reports of anxiety or depression related to COVID-19 have been on the rise globally. Individuals have been living in a perpetual state of the unknown for over two years. Fear of the virus, sickness of oneself or family/friends and social isolation have taken a toll. According to the WHO, anxiety and depression have gone up 25% in the last year (2022). The effects of a rising mental health crisis will be drastic on top of the deaths and sickness related to COVID-19. While governments have recognized the importance of funding mental health services, the follow through is often lacking or the potential solutions are heavily geared towards pharmaceutical medications. This thesis is two pronged, including a review of the relevant literature with regard to COVID-19, mental health and yoga, as well as the findings of a six-week Eco-Yoga Therapy Program for Mental Health related to COVID-19. case report argues for an integrative solution focused on promoting health and wellness including both yoga therapy and nature or eco therapy. A six week program was designed for those experiencing anxiety or depression related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The thesis reports on the findings of the case series of three post-Covid females of different nationalities living in Spain, Belize and New Zealand, with co-morbidities including high blood pressure (HBP), hypothyroidism and post-partum. The clients successfully completed an integrative program based on yoga and eco-therapy. It involved a series of pranayama (breathing), asana (physical postures), dinacharya (lifestyle choices) and dhyana (meditation) techniques, along with practices tailored to each client based on their specific needs. Clients reported improvements in anxiety levels and stress management due to the practices, in particular the asana (physical postures) and pranayama (breathing practices). They felt an increased ability to calm the mind while being in nature. The approach to wellness focuses on our bodies own innate capacity to heal, as opposed to focusing on medical solutions to the virus and treatment once sickness has already manifested. Again, the emphasis is on strengthening the bodies natural immunity through yoga and nature, which reduces inflammation and stimulates the vagus nerve, both of which have been found to improve mental health and decrease the chances of disease.