Yoga helps people with depression. Studies show that yoga therapies like asana, pranayama and mindfulness meditation can be better than other forms of routines because of their generic effect on mood upliftment, depression alleviation and general wellbeing.
According to the recent study Yoga for anxiety and depression published in the Harvard Mental Health Letter yoga therapy can help…
1. Improve overall energy
2. Reduces the impact of stress
3. Helps with anxiety and depression
Yoga science believes the daily practice of yoga can be a great opportunity to watch the play of the mind; the way it reacts and responds to stimuli.
For obvious reasons, I have just kept this article basic and indicative. Please read this article… Depression is a global physical and mental killer to know more.
Identification of Depression
More often than not, depression is considered as a sign of personal weakness and not an actual health condition. Depression, therefore, remains undiagnosed most of the times. Some of the basic markers for depression…
1. Feeling exhausted.
2. Possessing negativity and pessimism.
3. Feeling of irritation, short-temperedness.
4. Change of appetite and sleeping patterns.
5. Feeling of tiredness, hopelessness and helplessness.
6. Losing interests in activities, work, friends, family and things we used to enjoy at some time.
What can cause depression?
Depression affects everyone, one point or the other, during their lifetime. Depression may be caused by one factor alone or a combination of factors including biological, psychological and environmental.
1. Financial problem.
2. Sense of loneliness.
3. Stressful life experiences.
4. Childhood abuse or trauma.
5. Drug abuse and alcoholism.
6. Family history of depression.
7. Unemployment or other job problems.
8. Lack of support from family and friends.
9. Chronic disease and other health problems.
Yoga care for depression…
Yoga is a natural treatment for depression. Yogic practices like asana, pranayama and mediation can help reduce cellular stress and aid in alleviation depression.
1. Yoga relaxes body and ease the mind.
2. It rebalances hormonal state of the body.
3. It improves cognitive functions – An indicator of Neuroplasticity.
4. It facilitates self acceptance and helps us to be more grounded and quieter.
5. It many physiological responses like lowering heart rate and respiratory rate.
6. It calms nervous system, helps to overcome internal chaos and deep rooted fear.
7. It plays an active role in healing, it reduces mental disturbances through breath work.
8. Yoga care can help eliminates all emotional blocks that prevent us from leading a healthy and balanced life.
9. Yoga has a significant effect of brain neurotransmitter-gamma-aminobutyric acid, indicating its usefulness in treating depression.
Sequence of yoga asana for depression
Yogic practices can become the process of observing how the physical body is connected to the mental plain and the mental plain to the emotional state.
1. Backbending Yoga Asana: Backward bend asana expands the thorax and helps to imbibe confidence and grace. It improves posture, ease breathing and reduces stress by releasing tension in thoracic region.
2. Inversion Asana: Inversion asana have mood lifting and empowering effects.
3. Relaxation Posture: Relaxation postures are used to calm the the mind down and for overall emotional wellness. Use of props and supports have added benefit for people with depression.
To relax your body and uplift your senses you can practice the following yoga asana…
1. Viparita Danda Asana (Chair Backbend). Has properties of both back bends and inversion.
2. Urdhva Hasta Asana in tadasana (Mountain pose with arms overhead). Good warmup posture. Helps lift your spirit.
3. Setubandha Sarvang Asana (Supported Bridge over bolster). It increases energy. Try to maintain it for 5-10 minutes.
4. Adho Mukha Vriksh Asana (Handstand). Should not be done by persons with weak bones, hypertension, overweight. Always perform in supervision. Not suitable for beginners.
5. Adhomukhashvan Asana (Downward facing dog). Beginners who cannot perform handstand can benefit from inversion property of downward dog posture. Try to hold this posture for 1 minute.
6. Sarvang Asana variation (Shoulderstand with Chair). A chair for shoulderstand helps the practitioner to hold the pose for longer time. The asana also helps in opening the thorax more than the simple shoulder stand.
In addition to above mentioned Yoga Asanas one can also benefit from various relaxation Asanas like
Mindfulness meditation for depression
Depression takes a toll on both the mind and the body. A person suffering from depression becomes host to a number of health disorders, such as fatigue, change of appetite, weight issues, sleep disorder or self-destructive behaviour. Depression is attributed to the disruption in the smooth functioning of the neurotransmitters in our brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry signals from one part of the brain to the next.
Our reactions and responses to situations depend on the way these neurotransmitters communicate. In normal situations, they jump from one nerve cell to the next in transmitting the signal. But when a person is going through depression, the neurotransmitters don’t function normally and the signal is either deleted or disrupted before passing on to the next nerve cell.
Meditation is an extremely powerful tool to avert depression. Scientific research has proved that meditation helps in reducing anxiety and depression. According to a 2013 survey by the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, there was about 10-20% improvement in symptoms of depression among the people who practised 30 minutes of mindfulness meditation every day.
Meditation produces changes in the brain waves and helps to block the negative information out of the sensory network of the body and concentrate on the positive inputs. Since only constructive information flows to the brain, the mind doesn’t get depressed.
Meditation, when done regularly and appropriately, builds positivity and strength thereby leading a depressed person on the road to wellness.
Pranayama and breathing exercises for depression
All pranayama and breathing techniques helps to remove pranic blocks and improve circulation of prana in body. The techniques include… anuloma viloma (people with depression should avoid holding breath), bhramari pranayama, bhastrika pranayama, kapalabhati, ujjayi pranayama but without kumbhaka (pause between the breaths). For more… Breathing exercises for depression .
Researchers over the years have realized that the practice of yoga can be an effective alternate way of improving the cognitive processes and finding homeostasis thereby helping tackle these health issues.
Writers Note: Depression is fast becoming one of the most pressing problems worldwide. Thankfully, alternate wellness therapies like yoga and mindfulness are fast becoming the accepted practices.
I see a few yoga studios conducting sessions and workshops on yoga for depression, yoga for depression and anxiety, yoga therapy for depression and I have attended a few of them. They work, they help… in the moment. Please make sure you are continuing with the regular treatment along with these therapies and practices, as long as it is recommended.
Please take the help of a certified yoga professional to know more about yoga therapies for depression. Also attend related yoga classes, lectures, workshops, courses or go to wellness retreats, wherever possible. All the Best!