Can Yoga help ease Depression?

Yoga can help people suffering with Depression

Yoga asana, pranayama and mindfulness meditation can help people with depression. Studies show that ‘yoga’ can be better to other forms of routines because of its generic effect on mood upliftment and wellbeing.


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.

Depressed mood is not always a psychiatric disorder. It may also be a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions, or a side effect of some drugs or medical treatments.

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.


Identification of Depression
  • Losing interests in activities, work, friends, family and things he used to enjoy at some time.
  • Feeling of tiredness, hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Change of appetite and sleeping patterns.
  • Feeling of irritation, short-temperedness.
  • Possessing negativity and pessimism.
  • Feeling exhausted.


What can cause Depression?
  • Stressful life experiences.
  • Chronic disease and other health problems.
  • Unemployment or other job problems.
  • Childhood abuse or trauma.
  • Financial problem.
  • Lack of support from family and friends.
  • Sense of loneliness.
  • Drug abuse and alcoholism.
  • Family history of depression.


Types of Depression
  1. Major Depression: Symptoms of major depression range from moderate to severe. It lasts for only 5-6 months. Though it is a recurring disorder, but some people get only one episode in their life.
  2. Dysthymia Depression: The symptoms of Dysthymia (Mild) depression are not too strong as that of major depression. They can last for even two- three years. One remains in the state of low mood and difficult to live an open life.
  3. Bipolar ‘manic’ Disorder: In Bipolar Disorder type of depression one attains a cyclic mood with an impulsive behavior, short attention span and insomnia. It can last for days, weeks or several weeks.
  4. Seasonal Depression: Seasonal depression is also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affecting people due to change of seasons/weather. They become sad, tense and stressed with no interest in friends and family.

There are different types of Depression in men, women, young and older people in accordance to which the different treatment is to be recommended.


How yoga can help?

Yoga is an effective and natural treatment for Depression. Yoga asana, pranayama and mediation can help reduce cellular stress and aid in alleviation depression.

1. Yoga plays an active role in healing, it reduces mental disturbances through breath work.

2. It facilitates self acceptance and helps us to be more grounded and quieter.

3. Yoga calms nervous system, helps to overcome internal chaos and deep rooted fear.

4. It many physiological responses like lowering heart rate and respiratory rate.

5. Eliminates all emotional blocks that prevent us from leading a healthy and balanced life.

6. Yoga rebalances hormonal state of the body.

7. It relaxes body and ease the mind.

8. It improves cognitive functions – An indicator of Neuroplasticity.

9. Yoga has a significant effect of brain neurotransmitter-gamma -aminobutyric acid, indicating its usefulness in treating Depression.


Sequence of Yoga asana one can practice

1. Backbending Yoga Asana: it 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: Important recipe for 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. Urdhva Hasta Asana in tadasana (Mountain pose with arms overhead). Good warmup posture. Helps lift your spirit.
  2. Adho Mukha Vriksh Asana (Handstand). Should not be done by persons with weak bones, hypertension, overweight. Always perform in supervision. Not suitable for beginners.
  3. 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.
  4. Viparita Danda Asana (Chair Backbend). Has properties of both back bends and inversion.
  5. 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.
  6. Setubandha Sarvang Asana (Supported Bridge over bolster). It increases energy. Try to maintain it for 5-10 minutes.

In addition to above mentioned Yoga Asanas one can also benefit from various relaxation Asanas like

  • Shavasana
  • Matsyakridasana
  • Advasana
  • Jyestikasana
  • Makarasana


Mindfulness Meditation helps relieve tension in body and alleviate Depression

Mindfulness Meditation deactivates the depression centre of the brain: Most of the depressed people have hyperactive amygdala; the region known as the anxiety and fear center of the brain. Meditation by deactivating amygdala optimizes the brain for restoring happiness. For more…


Pranayama and Breathing exercises can help manage Depression

All pranayama and breathing techniques helps to remove pranic blocks and improve circulation of prana in body. It includes… Anuloma Viloma (people with depression should avoid holding breath), Bhramari pranayama, Bhastrika pranayama, Kapalabhati, Ujjayi pranayama without Kumbhak For more…


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.

Yoga Science believes the daily practice of Yoga asana, pranayama and meditation can be a great opportunity to watch the play of the mind; how the mind reacts and responds to the stimuli.

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.


Handling Depression needs the help of a qualified professional. For more details on personalized alternate therapies and how Yoga, pranayama and Mindfulness Meditation help overcome depression, please contact your wellness expert.


Internal Links

[1] Depression; a global physical and mental killer
[2] A few signs and symptoms of Depression
[3] Causes of Depression: Genetic, illnesses, emotional causes…
[4] Science behind Depression: Biology behind a Darker Mind
[5] Managing Depression without Medication; few self-help tips

Aashish Nanda

I am not a Spiritual Guru. I am not a Healer. I am not a Coach. I am not a Transformer. After trying to define myself, with various labels, I realized that I am simply a Muser... I just pen down what appeals to me. Please consult a professional guide, in case you need any advice.

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