How to recover your joy with yoga for depression
Yoga for depression can be an amazing tool for you. Yoga is well-known for being an great resource in fighting depression, among other psychological problems. Although we must advise from the beginning that yoga just itself is not enough to overcome such a complex situation, it’s a great way to boost the recovery process. The best option in these cases is to opt for a multi pronged approach.
Whether you are a practitioner with depression problems or a teacher in need to get more information to help your students, find out more here about yoga for depression.
Yoga for depression: what to know
Depression is diagnosed based on nine symptoms and the patient need to demonstrate at least five of them. These are: depressed mood on most of the days and for most of the day; loss of capacity of feel pleasure; a significant increase or decrease in appetite, weight, or both; sleeping disorders; feeling agitation or intense lethargy; loss of energy or extreme fatigue; a sense of guilt and worthlessness; incapacity of concentration; and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
Stress is one of the big factors doctors associate to depression, and for that, yoga is undoubtedly effective since it is proven the ability of this practice to relieve tension. People with depression tend to have high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which has been scientifically proven that yoga can lower.
In yoga philosophy is also considered that our posture has a strong influence on the mood. Therefore, it is possible to work with students on the posture and simple things like standing still, with the chest open, have a strong effect.
The third big thing about yoga is that it promotes self-study and self-knowledge. A positive attitude of learning and growing from difficult episodes in life, exploring where the feelings come from and learning from it.
It also helps in understanding which areas of someone’s life need a change and to be worked on. Therefore, it’s a great tool to use simultaneously with psychology, for example. Let’s explore a basic sequence of yoga for depression.
What yoga postures can be helpful in dealing with depression?
The approach always needs to be flexible and adapted to each person, in order to get real results. Consequently, if a person is having a depression feeling a huge lethargy it might be needed to add more energizing asanas, while a person that is under stress, anxious and super active, might need calming poses. That being said, there are a set of amazing poses to work on this matter.
A yoga sequence for depression
A supported Supta Svastikasana, using a bolster to open the heart and create space in the body. Doing it with support will allow the yogin to find a quiet space within. Followed by supported backbend, with a bolster, on the floor.
The next asana is the downward-facing dog, with the forehead supported, starting with Bidalasana, the child pose, and moving from there to Adho Mukha Svanasana. These two poses are excellent for improving a feeling of grounding and stabilize emotions.
Moving to stand and balance positions, the sequence continues with Ardha Chandrasana, which is particularly helpful for a tense, constricted mind because of the way it brings the focus on the periphery of the body, and there’s an effect of freedom and liberation from that.
Prasarita Padottanasana in its simple version and using blocks for the hands if necessary, followed by Sirsasana, the headstand. It’s important to acknowledge the importance of inversions. From a yogic perspective, inversions are very helpful for cultivating emotional stability. The regular practice of inversions allows the person to face and overcome fears, to build confidence and trust, and has drastic effects, calming and quieting the mind.
The sequence follows with open heart asanas, the backbend postures. Ustrasana and Viparita Dandasana (supported version or another backbend) promote joy by lifting and expanding the chest and opening the heart.
Going back to the inversions, and almost at the end of the practice, a supported Viparita Karani improves a state of calm and is amazingly comfortable for the body.
Finish with Savasana, the relaxation pose, for at least five minutes, this is a must always, but even more when we are doing yoga for depression.
Depression is a serious disease, that must be embraced like that, with responsibility and love. It’s most of all a sign that something is not aligned with our values and true feelings, and most of the times is a yell from the body and mind for the person to stop and to look inside. And what can be better than adding a yoga routine to life?
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