How This Helps
Yoga & Depression
Yoga and depression are related as Yoga can be a powerful way to release and invigorate during depression. Regular pranayama is a great way to gradually open up your lungs. With more oxygen in the lungs you are making the blood circulation system happier and the red blood cells will love it.
See: One Leg King Pigeon Pose in Yoga steps and health benefits
Yoga for Mental Health
Emotional and mental troubles like anxiety and depression are triggered by mental fatigue or underlying tensions over a longer time frame. Consequently, this impacts the energy flow in the body.
Anxiety in a mild form is often bearable and not very distinct. But, when this turns into an AAD or acute anxiety disorder, it leads to apprehension, fear, nervousness and endless worry. It can severely impact your daily routine and open a flood gate of health issues like hypertension, heart ailments and diabetes.
Disturbed sleep and inability to execute routine functions in a smooth manner are early indications of depression and anxiety. Increased pulse rate, heartbeats, perspiration, anger, irritability, palpitation,feeling of dryness in the mouth are among the other symptoms.
First and foremost, yoga is a practice of loving yourself and giving yourself permission to simply be where you are, no matter how dark that place may be. Secondly, yoga recognizes that nothing in this life is constant. You will move through this phase, justas the clouds move steadily through the sky. And as the great Alan Watts said,
“Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place.” As you move through these asanas or poses, perhaps visualize the light within you gently growing. That light is your highest, truest self, and the world needs that light—a light that only you can offer.
Start by connecting to prana, your beautiful life force, through deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling, feeling your belly rise and your lungs expand with each breath. Imagine that you are inviting fresh oxygen and clearing out old air and negative thoughts when you exhale. With every breath, imagine the fresh air cleansing your blood stream.
There are several yoga poses for depression. Although you may be advised to start with a combination of traditional medicine and yoga in the beginning, with a focused and consistent approach to yoga practice,you can potentially overcome dependence on medicines.While most yoga poses help in enhanced blood circulation, ideal blood pressure, increased supply of oxygen and overall well being, the following are specifically helpful in overcoming depression and anxiety.
See: Yoga Poses To Heal Trauma
5 Yoga Poses for Anxiety & Depression
1. Tadasana or Mountain Pose :
Begin with your feet hip distance apart. Bring your arms to your sides, palms facing outward. You may stay here, perhaps visualizing the stability of a mountain who endures all kinds of weather but is rooted in its deep strength.
To invite some dynamism into the pose, slightly bend the knees as you inhale deeply and sweep the arms up to the sky. Exhaling, release the arms in the same arc so that they return to the starting position. Repeat 4 times, or as many times as it feels good for you. This pose is traditionally a standing pose, but you can certainly achieve the posture of strength and stability while seated.
See: Beat Depression with Meditation
2. Heart Opening Wings:
Standing or sitting, inhale and you expand your arms out to the side while gently arching the back and reaching your chin to the sky. Exhale, bringing the arms inward,resting your hands on your heart, bringing your chin to the chest.
Repeat this 4 times, moving at your own pace.
See: Beginning Meditation to Reduce Stress
3. Utkatasana or Chair Pose:
This pose will invigorate and challenge you.Begin in Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, standing tall with feet hip distance apart or together~~whatever feels best for you. Inhale and raise your arms so that your palms are facing each other. Gently roll your shoulders away from your ears.Exhaling, bend the knees, sinking the hips back as if you were going to sit in a chair,bringing your weight into the heels and feeling your gluteus muscles activate. Make sure that your knees are pointing straight ahead and that you don’t sink below the level of your knees.
Hold this position for 36 breaths or as long as you’d like~~you should feel your heart pumping!Releasing, exhale and straighten the legs, pressing down into the feet, stretching the arms up and then bringing them around to rest at your side.
A variation for finishing Utkatasana is to release into a forward fold, exhaling and bringing your arms toward the ground, knees slightly bent.Remember, even if a pose is challenging, it should never cause pain. Listen to your body and move the way that feels good.
4. Cobra Pose Yoga for Depression:
Begin by laying on your mat, belly to the ground. Inhaling, softly place your hands directly under your shoulders. Using your core muscles, lift your chest, rolling your shoulders back. Engage your legs. This asana is entirely supported by your core muscles~~you should actually be able to hover your hands over the mat.
Exhaling, slowly release everything and lay flat, perhaps bringing a cheek to one side of your mat.
For a deeper stretch of the spine, place your hands directly under your shoulders.Inhaling, use your arm strength to lift your belly off the mat, arching the spine and bringing the chin toward the sky if it feels good. Make sure to roll your shoulders down and away from the ears, opening the chest and heart. Arms are strong and are close to the side body. Exhaling, gently release all the way to the ground.
Repeat as many times as it feels good.
See: Benefits of yoga
5. Child’s Pose Yoga for Anxiety and Depression:
Nurture your heart with this position.On your mat, bring your knees to your chest and your head to the ground. You cankeep your knees together, or spread them into a V shape with your big toes touching.Feel free to place your forehead directly on the mat, or your cheek to one side~~whatever feels best.Bring your arms to rest beside you or extend them toward the front of your mat.Breathe and allow yourself to sink deep into this pose of gentle nourishment.Experiment with yoga poses that feel good to you~~everyone is different, and what feels good for one person may not be as wonderful for another.Also consider taking a local yoga class. Being in a community of people practicing together has many benefits.
Whatever you decide, be gentle to yourself and know that you are helping your light emerge.
Most yoga poses help in enhancing metabolic functions resulting in significantly better blood circulation,more oxygen getting into your lungs and from there into the blood. Interestingly, the size of an adult human lung is nearly equal to that of a tennis court though most of us hardly ever use more than one quarter of that size across our life span.