Is yoga an amazing all-around workout process?
A resounding yes!
But the benefits of yoga do not stop just here.
Does yoga really help alleviate the symptoms of depression?
And the best part, you don’t really have to be the Yoda of yoga to reap these mental health benefits. Hence, yoga is the best practice for amateurs, professionals, and everyone in between. Here is how yoga for depression really works and how you can benefit from it.
How Does Yoga For Depression Actually Work?
Yoga is a physical activity involving different body poses, breathing methods, and meditation techniques. Yoga has truckful of physical as well as psychological benefits. Experts have highly recommended yoga for depression to people suffering from its symptoms.
Research conducted by Boston University found that yoga might help alleviate the symptoms of depression right from the first session. Yoga combined with breathing exercises was found to improve symptoms of major depressive disorders among the research participants. The study also found improved sleep quality, energy levels, and overall positivity.
Over time significant other researchers have talked about the cumulative health benefits of meditation and yoga for depression. It:
- reduces the impact of stress and makes you calm,
- helps with anxiety and depression,
- offers great peace to your mental well-being with its soothing techniques,
- increases energy, and
- sharpens concentration power.
Yoga can affect mood by elevating levels of a brain chemical called Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid(GABA), which is associated with a better mood and reduced anxiety levels. Yoga also makes the body flexible and strong. It can provide you with great relaxation and mental calmness.
As per research by the International Journal of Yoga, yoga improves your Heart Rate Variability (HRV), or changes the duration between your heartbeats, by boosting the time-out responses over the stress reaction in the body. An increased HRV also means that your body is better at self-monitoring or adapting to a particular stress level.
Best Yoga Poses for Depression
Now that we have established the advantages of yoga for depression, let’s get down to the process of achieving these benefits. We have prepared a list of the top yoga poses for depression to get you started. If you are new or relatively inexperienced, do not worry, these yoga poses are easy to try for everyone.
1. Child’s Pose Aka Balasana
The child’s pose is one of the finest yoga poses for depression. It is known to bestow stability and calmness. It is deeply relaxing for the back, calms down the nervous system, and reduces stress and anxiety. Balasana is also found to be effective in aiding digestion and alleviating hip pain.
2. Plow Pose Aka Halasana
Plow Pose enhances your body posture by reducing your back strain. When the back is stretched, it creates a soothing and relaxing effect on your mind, thus reducing stress and anxiety issues. Plow pose helps stimulate the thyroid gland, thus helping to improve your mood and energy levels. By doing this yoga pose, the brain receives fresh oxygenated blood, which can help you control stress, depression, and insomnia.
3. Bridge Pose Aka Sethu Bandhasana
Bridge pose not only helps you in managing your anxiety levels and depression but also helps you to stay healthy. Bridge pose calms the brain, reducing anxiety and depression. It even helps open the lungs and lowers thyroid problems, the leading cause of mood swings and depression. It is believed that it helps increase a person’s focus and clarity.
4. Downward Facing Dog Aka Ado Mukha Svanasana
This is one of the most active poses in yoga and is known for blood circulation throughout the body. This pose energizes and rejuvenates the body and boosts your mind giving a stable mental headspace.
It provides an excellent stretch to the neck and cervical spine, along with releasing any stored stress within them. This helps in decreasing your anxiety and calming your inner being.
5. Corpse Pose Aka Savasana
The corpse pose is easy and a favorite for many. When you get into savasana, you get a chance to relax and recoup. The corpse pose helps to rejuvenate and refresh you from inside. It enables a deep and meditative rest and releases stress, a significant cause of depression.
6. Standing Forward Fold Pose or Uttanasana
Uttanansana is one of the best yoga poses for depression and anxiety. It calms the tension in your neck, back, and shoulders. Not only this, it helps improve the functioning of the nervous system. Uttanansana also boosts blood circulation along with, providing a calming feeling and alleviating anxiety.
7. Alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana
Some people consider this as a prep pose for their yoga practice. Regardless, it is a great pose to bring oxygen and focus to your brain. You can practice this pose separately to calm yourself down during anxious times. The positive impact of alternate nostril breathing has been proven by research. A study by the International Journal of Yoga found that men who performed the yoga pose regularly for 30 minutes every day had a lesser stress level than those who didn’t after three months.
Why is yoga (mostly) good for us?
The practice of yoga has existed for a long time now. However, the form has recently become mainstream and has definitely been the talk of the town for all the good reasons.
However, it is important to keep in mind that yoga comes with risks accompanied. You could hurt yourself if you try to push really hard. So do not try to flex your skills like Simon Biles in the very first session. Just try to listen to your body’s limits, and you will be fine. However, you could always find a trainer to help you begin practicing.
Not just that, yoga practice might also cause a string of overwhelming emotions. Some people feel an intense bout of emotion during their yoga practice, which is totally normal.
Though this can leave you feeling vulnerable, just know that it is going to be absolutely okay.
Yoga helps you train your body as well as your mind. And even though people use the term ‘try yoga’ as vague advice for people with mental health issues, it really does have some scientific merit. Trust us and science on the advantages of yoga for depression.
Now that you have read about the advantages of yoga for depression, we hope you will be striking a pose or two soon. We have some suggestions to help you create a perfect ambiance for your yoga practice. To know more about enhancing your yoga practice with aromatherapy, click here.
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